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Will Journaling Help Me Overcome Trauma as an Alumnus?

There are many ways to process or attempt to overcome trauma. Understanding how traumas have affected you may be one of the best things that you can do for your overall well-being. Just as everyone is unique, so are the traumas you may have experienced.

Journaling is an effective way to process triggers and behaviors associated with trauma. This article will discuss how journaling can help you navigate the thoughts and feelings associated with trauma. Additionally, you will find suggestions for making your journaling experience enjoyable and learn how The Guest House uses journaling as part of trauma-specific therapy.

What Does Trauma Look Like in Life?

Trauma looks different from person to person. Depending on what your life circumstances are, trauma can present itself in uncommon ways. The definition of trauma is when someone experiences a distressing event that leads to negative symptoms in their life. According to a publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), initial reactions to trauma can include but are not limited to:

  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Numbness
  • Blunted affect

When these feelings and other symptoms last for more than a month, you may meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, you can find freedom from these symptoms.

Using Written Words to Overcome Trauma

The effects of trauma can be stored throughout your body. According to SAMHSA’s website, a traumatic event can have a lasting impact on mental and physical health. This can be especially true for traumas that occur during childhood. Substance abuse, mental health conditions, and risky behaviors have also been linked to trauma.

Finding ways to work through trauma will allow you to live your best life. Journaling your thoughts and emotions can start the journey of healing. A journal is a private space where you can be alone with your thoughts and feelings. Often, journaling becomes a place to say the things that are unsayable to others.

Using words to overcome trauma can allow pent-up emotions to flow. A journal can become a dump truck where you can unload all the garbage you have been storing throughout your body. You can start to place it onto a piece of paper and release what you’ve been holding.

The Benefits of Journaling to Overcome Trauma

Some ways that writing to overcome trauma can benefit you include:

  • Allowing you to voice your inner feelings instead of suppressing your thoughts and emotions
  • Providing a safe and judgment-free zone
  • Decreasing your feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Providing a sense of empowerment and a way to overcome difficult experiences

There are several types of journaling. Just as you are a one-of-a-kind person, your journal and how you use it will be unique. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Journaling can be the next best thing to seeing a therapist and can even be a stellar relapse-prevention skill.

Four Tips for Journaling to Overcome Trauma

As we’ve been discussing, it’s beneficial to have a journal during your journey to overcoming trauma. A journal can become a sacred space where you can share your most private thoughts. However, some do’s and don’ts about journaling can be helpful as you get started. Below are four pointers to help you journal to overcome trauma.

#1. Create a Special Place

Your writing area should be a place where you feel safe and peaceful. It is important to create this sacred space to allow your thoughts and feelings to flow. For example, you may feel comfortable on the porch where you can witness the sound of birds or see flowers in the distance. Your special place only needs to be special to you, not to anyone else.

# 2. Do Not Criticize or Blame Yourself

Remember, the practice of journaling should give your past traumas a voice. The point isn’t to blame or criticize. The words you write should be self-soothing and create a sense of freedom and peace. At times you may need to vent your feelings of blame toward others or yourself, and it’s okay to express those temporary feelings. Afterward, it’s good to use your journal to question your thinking processes that lead to blame, self-blame, and shame.

# 3. Reflect to Overcome Trauma

Some days, you may want to write until you get a cramp in your hand. On other days, you may struggle to get started. Learning how to overcome trauma through journaling will look different on different days. For example, on some days you may feel that you’ve suppressed your emotions. On those days, you may want to draw pictures in your journal. You may want to use magazine clippings, quotes, drawings, or anything that you can think of to express your feelings.

Each month, give yourself time to reflect on all your progress by looking back at each of your journaling pages. This process will give you a boost of empowerment and help you to see your progress.

# 4. Create Time for Gratitude

Another helpful practice for overcoming trauma is a gratitude journal. Sometimes it is easy to reflect on all of the things that have gone wrong. However, it can be hard to identify the good things. Gratitude helps to center your brain in the present and focus on the positive things in your life. According to NIH News in Health, taking time to identify what you’re grateful for leads to a greater sense of emotional well-being.

Overcoming Trauma at The Guest House

In addition to journaling, many other therapeutic methods can help you work through trauma. At The Guest House, we offer diverse creative approaches to overcoming trauma. We know that it is difficult for most people to unpack deep-rooted pain. To combat this, our therapeutic approaches are tailored to your comfort. We will meet you where you are at in your trauma-recovery journey.

It can be hard to identify how trauma has impacted your life. To help with this, perhaps you can give journaling a try. Journaling is an important step in your healing process of overcoming trauma. It is easy to get caught up in suppressing your emotions. Journaling unlocks all the heartache and pain that you have trapped in your body. At The Guest House, we understand how the body can be affected by trauma. We will meet you right where you are at and provide unconditional positive regard as you heal. If you or someone you know has unresolved trauma, give us a call at (855) 483-7800. We’re happy to answer any questions.