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Why do people avoid journaling?

December 16, 2022 8 min read

Why do people avoid journaling?

Even if writing isn't your thing or the pressure of keeping a journal on a regular basis is stressful for you, there are still plenty of things you can do to self-reflect, process your thoughts and feelings, or get what's in your brain out into the world so you can examine it from a different perspective. One of these things is keeping a gratitude journal.

What Other Activities Can I Participate In If I Don't Feel Like Writing in a Journal?

Journaling may be a very helpful activity to engage in when our thoughts become overpowering or when we realize that we are dwelling on the past. When we crack open a new notebook and fill its blank pages with our thoughts and feelings, it can help us digest what has happened to us, clear our brains, and review our memories, behaviors, or habits from a new perspective without the feeling that we are being judged by anyone else.

However, keeping a journal isn't for everyone. Some people have the experience that it is neither peaceful nor gratifying, and they find that the pressure of trying to find the "right" words to put on paper can be overpowering.

What should you not write in a journal?

When I was a kid, I would become extremely ecstatic whenever I got a new journal or notebook. On the other hand, I would get anxious if I went a few days without writing in it. I would pre-date each page of my journal in an effort to ensure that I would continue to write in it on a daily basis, and then I would beat myself up even more if I failed to do so. I also work as a writer!

Even if writing isn't your thing or the pressure of keeping a journal on a regular basis is stressful for you, there are still plenty of things you can do to self-reflect, process your thoughts and feelings, or get what's in your brain out into the world so you can examine it from a different perspective. One of these things is keeping a gratitude journal.

Male hands writing a gratitude list in a hardback journal with an ink pen

If you just don't enjoy writing that much, here are several alternatives to journaling that you might try.

To begin, why do people journal in the first place?

Writing in a diary can be an effective means of processing one's thoughts, feelings, worries, and memories for some people. If you are working with a therapist or a coach, they may recommend that you keep a journal in order to improve your level of self-awareness regarding the factors that contribute to your stress or have an effect on your mental health and happiness, as well as the factors that provide support, encourage you, or lead to personal development. Writing in a diary allows you to engage in self-reflection and begin seeing patterns in your behavior that you may like to alter or improve.

It has been discovered that writing about painful, stressful, or emotionally charged experiences might lead to improvements in one's physical as well as psychological health. When compared with participants who wrote on non-emotional subjects, individuals who engaged in expressive writing for fifteen to twenty minutes, three to five times per week, experienced much more positive physical and psychological results.

Woman left hand writing journal on small notebook in outdoor area at cafe

You might be considering keeping a journal as a means of recording memories, unloading your ideas, or simply engaging in creative expression, even if you are not about to start on a path involving therapy or coaching.

However, not everyone should keep a journal.

So, what other options do you have available to you?

You may give a new definition to the term "journaling."
When we think of journaling, we may image ourselves spending hours laboriously filling in a sea of blank notebook pages until our hands become cramped. On the other hand, this is not always the case!

For you, journaling can be writing down a bullet-pointed summary of what happened each week, filling out a post-it note with something you want to let go of (and then tossing away the post-it note), or jotting down something you're grateful for at the end of each day before you go to sleep.

You can consider writing poetry, maintaining a dream journal, or using a calendar to record your moods and behaviors. Writing is an important discipline in and of itself, regardless of the form it takes.

Close up on student hand writing in a journal

However, if the idea of expressing yourself through writing, in any form, does not appeal to you at all, there are alternative choices available to you that will allow you to investigate your emotions and build knowledge of yourself.

Instead of writing your thoughts down in a journal, try saying them out loud.
When we articulate our thoughts out loud, we engage the language processing regions of our brains, which causes us to change the speed at which we process these thoughts.

You may take a walk outside or around your house while talking out loud to yourself, use an audio note on your phone or computer, or utilize both. You can also use journaling prompts even if you are not writing in your journal. This is because you are still journaling.

The following are some topics that could be brought up in conversation:

Something (or someone) that is very essential to you to a very great extent
What are three things in your life for which you are thankful right now, and why?
What words of wisdom would you provide to your younger self?
A current issue that you're having trouble with and some potential solutions to it
Something you would like to let go of Ten things you would like people to know about you
One thing that you accomplished in the past year that you are very pleased with Ten things that you would say yes to and ten things that you would say no to
Keep in mind the importance of practicing positive (or even neutral) self-talk. For instance, rather than saying something like, "I'm stupid, I'm underqualified, I should never have applied for that job last month, of course I wouldn't get it," you could try saying something like, "Maybe an internal candidate ended up getting promoted, let me go back to my resume and see if I can make any updates." This would be a better response than saying something like, "I'm stupid, I'm underqualified, I should never have applied for that job last month, of course Or, "It's possible that I had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of this situation." Alternatively, "I can put this energy to good use by searching for my next dream job."

woman or a writer sitting in a journal or writing
Alternately, if you don't feel comfortable keeping a typical notebook, try your hand at something more creative.
It makes no difference if you don't think of yourself as an artistic person. You still have the ability to come up with something original! Engaging in creative pursuits can help you switch between using the left and right sides of your brain, providing a brief reprieve for the hemisphere of your brain that is likely being overworked.

You might want to consider the following options:

Color, draw, paint, or doodle
Create a photo album or take pictures to add to it (you can even do this digitally by saving memories or highlights in a social app or in a favorites folder on your phone)
Try your hand at a crossword or a word search.
Create a collage with photographs torn from magazines.
Memorabilia should be gathered and organized in a scrapbook.
Bear in mind that you are engaging in these pursuits for your own benefit, as this is the most crucial thing to keep in mind. You are not required to present them to anyone, provide an explanation for them to anyone, publish them on social media, or even keep them! Simply put, they are a medium through which you can exercise your creative side, observe the results of your efforts, and engage a different area of your brain.

Instead of keeping a journal, you should try meditating.

Despite the fact that these two practices may appear to be diametrically opposed to one another—for example, you may keep a journal in order to become more aware of your thoughts, whereas meditation may be more focused on letting go of one's thoughts—it is extremely beneficial to take time out of your day to simply sit, reduce the amount of external sensory overload, and notice both your thoughts and your body.

Take note of any specific physiological sensations or recurrent thinking processes that emerge. Take note of the temperature of the room you are in as well as any sounds or odors that may be in the vicinity. The more acute awareness that you cultivate via meditation can assist you in developing the ability to focus your attention in other contexts.

For instance, if I notice that my neck is tense during a body scan meditation and then later, when I'm working on the computer, I notice that my neck is tense again, I might pause and realize that I need to take a break or that the person I'm emailing with stresses me out or that I let myself get too close to a deadline again and I might benefit from beginning my work a bit earlier so that I don't get so tense. Alternatively, I might

If you find that you are becoming distracted when meditating, simply bring your attention back to the here and now by recognizing that your ideas are racing through your head. Try out this guided meditation with therapist Ric Mathews and MyWellbeing if you feel as though you might use some assistance getting started.

When it comes to developing your sense of self-awareness, you should do whatever works best for you, regardless of whether or not it involves keeping a journal.
It should be emphasized once more that what is most important is the actual act of practicing. Keeping a journal does not need spending a significant amount of time crouched over a notepad and focusing on producing flawless pages. It does not have to be anything other than a way for you to express your thoughts, give yourself time to engage in self-reflection, and draw any benefits you require from the practice.



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