HSP Toolbox: Daily Journaling

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Source: Morguefile

Highly sensitive people tend to be empathic by nature, but focusing on the wants and needs of others can sometimes result in self-neglect. Unexpressed thoughts or feelings can lead to stress, anxiety, and poor health. However, expressing yourself does not mean you have to confide in another person. The simple act of writing on paper gives you an outlet for your inner life and protects you from reactions or criticisms that a person might have. Journaling might seem like a daunting task, but if you keep your expectations low, you can create a safe place for honesty.

Daily Journaling

You do not have to be a great writer or have nice penmanship to benefit from this activity. You just need to be honest with and compassionate toward yourself.

  1. Necessary tools: a notebook and a pen. I encourage you to write, not to type. You could do this activity with a word processor on your computer, but the act of writing by hand discourages self-criticism and impulsive editing.
  2. Write two pages in long hand, front and back. The ominous tick of a timer can interrupt the flow of your thoughts onto the page. By setting a goal to write until you’ve filled up two pages, you’re free to take as much or as little time as you need.
  3. Do not censor or editYour inner critic will want to scratch out a poorly worded sentence. Your mind is not subject to readership.
  4. Be honest. Your inner empath will refrain from saying what you really feel (i.e. “My neighbor is so rude for blasting the music at 2 AM.”). No one will see these pages but you. You can’t afford to lie to yourself.
  5. Keep writing. Even if you have nothing to write about, then write: “I have nothing to write about.” Keep the physical act of writing going no matter how pointless it seems.
  6. Do it daily. Committing to daily journaling is for your wellbeing. You do it daily because you deserve to be honest with yourself daily. You deserve to say exactly what’s on your heart and mind. You deserve to put yourself first for two pages a day.
  7. Be mindful. Over time, you will notice subtle changes in your self-awareness and mood. Take note of the themes in your writing and how your issues resolve through pen and paper.

You can combine this activity with the Breathing Meditation to create a healthy ritual to start or end your day.

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Comments

  1. says

    Natasha, this is an excellent summary. So many people ask me questions about the benefits of journal-writing, and this article summarizes so much in such a clear and persuasive manner. I hope you will listen to my podcast “JournalTalk” www [dot] Write4Life [dot] us/JournalTalk to hear some of the interviews I have with people about journaling. Perhaps you’d like to be a guest someday?

    • Natasha Akery says

      Nathan,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I will be sure to check out your podcast and get in touch with you if I feel I have something valuable to contribute!

  2. Toni says

    I just began journaling. It is quite different but provides relief to me. I am tapping more into my HSP self, writing about my experiences and trying to understand it all. I work in the health care industry and it is difficult for me to filter other peoples energy. I am learning techniques that been quite helpful. Does anyone else find it challenging from day to day?

    • Maria says

      Hi Toni,

      Thanks for stopping by. Having worked in the health care industry also, I agree – it is hard to filter out other people’s energy. There are so many people and so much to deal with. Journaling is a great way to take what you take in from others and put it outside of you so you can get perspective and release it. I like meditation also. If you can take a few minutes at different times during the day to do some deep breathing that may help also. Bringing in more energy into the body helps to keep your oxygen levels up. They can be reduced by excessive stress which makes it harder to cope.

      All the best,
      Maria

      • Toni says

        Thank you Maria for your response.

        I will try meditation. I have been reading articles on meditation techniques and it sounds helpful. I have also been experiencing things I can not explain. I sense energy around me when I’m alone, (it’s as if the energy touches me)I see shadow figures, and my intuition, at times it feels as though it’s working overtime often. Is this part of being sensitive? I’m researching the best I can to learn what I am or what’s going on with me. At times I feel I may be going crazy.

        Appreciate your advice,
        Toni

        • Natasha Akery says

          Hi Toni,

          Your experiences sound like they can be overwhelming at times. If you feel like they are interfering with your ability to manage daily tasks, I would recommend seeing a healthcare professional. Also, I do find that being a highly sensitive person makes me more prone to picking up on subtle energies. Maybe when this happens, you could take a moment to reflect on the experience and see if perhaps you are “carrying” energy from a previous interaction (i.e. a discussion with someone, interacting with someone at work who’s having a bad day). Because we are inherently empathic, sometimes we’re carrying burdens for other people. You could meditate or reflect on giving those “shadows” and intuitive feelings to a higher power to take care of on your behalf.

          Good luck!

  3. says

    Daily journalling has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s true! It has so many benefits. Just splurging stuff, uncensored into my computer – I use the DayOne app on my computer – allows me to filter, make sense, and simplify my life. It helps you to identify the things that are weighing you down without you realising, and to prioritise and let go of certain things as a result. Your point number 4 has always been the hardest for me. But breaking through that makes a world of difference to my wellbeing.

    • Natasha Akery says

      I’m so glad that daily journaling has been such a benefit to you! It has been for me as well. Point 4 is very difficult for me because I’m almost ashamed that I have any negative thoughts at all, but we must be honest with ourselves if for no other reason than to just get it all out. Thanks for reading!

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