Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Keep Calm and Journal On

Last week when I spoke with Michelle, my virtual assistant extraordinaire, she mentioned we hadn’t published anything for four years. Four years! Yikes! Where have I been? What have I been doing? Well, let’s see. For more than two and one-half years of that period, I was finishing my dissertation. For the next 18 months, I was dealing with Post Dissertation Stress Order. Yes, this is a real thing (which I will cover in another post).

But in this new age of Coronavirus, I began to ask myself what I could do as a mental health professional. Of course, I could expand working with clients virtually. Also, since journaling and the healing power of writing have been the core of my work for decades, I could certainly offer journaling suggestions for this challenging time.

While we know that journaling cannot prevent Coronavirus, or any other illness, for that matter, there are numerous ways journaling can help reduce related stress. For instance:

  • Free Form Writing – Close your eyes and sit quietly for a few moments. Begin by setting a timer for 10 minutes. Start writing whatever comes to mind. What you write does not need to make sense or be logical. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or syntax. Just dump out whatever comes to mind. It is definitely okay to write longer than 10 minutes.

  • QuickLists – As fast as you can, start writing a list of all the things that are annoying, scary, or making you angry. Just get it all down.

  • Dialogue – While you may not be able to connect with friends or family as easily as usual, you can create a dialogue anytime you wish. Start a conversation with someone you want to talk to. Imagine the response and write that down. Continue in this way as long as you like. Your dialogue will look something like a screen play.
Please take good care!

Susan Borkin, PhD is a psychotherapist, author, and speaker. A journal writing pioneer, she has specialized in the therapeutic use of writing since 1978.

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