Journaling to Increase Self-Understanding

Do you feel like your emotions are complicated and confusing? If you struggle to understand why you feel or react the ways you do, you might benefit from using a journal. Journaling can help you appropriately identify and express your feelings to increase self-understanding.
Once you learn to identify and deal with your feelings in acceptable ways, you have truly mastered self-understanding. By simply jotting down what’s going on with you and how you feel about it, you can get a handle on your emotions.


Writing your feelings in a journal helps increase self-understanding in four ways:
1. Journaling compels you to think about and process a particular situation or occurrence. When you write about an event, you automatically process the event through words and description. Recording the situation in writing can lead you to notice details you hadn’t noticed when the event took place, thus increasing your insight about the situation.

* While journaling, put aside other thoughts and just focus on the situation.

2. Journaling allows you time to identify feelings about the situation. Chances are you may not have time to analyze every event as it occurs throughout the day. However, if you pledge to journal, you know that you’ll later take the opportunity to reflect on important occurrences and consider how you felt about them.
* Labeling your feelings leads to a better understanding of how you respond in certain situations.
* Use “feeling” words when describing your emotions about a situation or event. Examples of feeling words are, “pumped,” “annoyed,” “ecstatic,” and “angry.”
* A helpful sentence structure to use in your journal is, “I felt __________ when ________ happened.”

3. Journaling helps you see why you felt the way you did. Journaling provides an opportunity to fully explore your emotions about an event or situation and come to a conclusion about your feelings. Writing about your feelings can even assist you in changing negative feelings in the future, once you figure out why you felt the way you did.
* Knowing why you responded in a certain manner increases self-understanding and also allows opportunities for change.
* When completing a journal entry, consider all the reasons why you may have felt or responded in the way you did.
*  Theorize and decide which theory best fits to explain your feelings and behavior.

4. Re-reading your journal sheds light on your progress. When you process situations through journal writing and read about them later, you’ll likely see patterns of emotions and responses that recur in similar situations.
* You might want to learn to more openly express your emotions upon identifying these patterns. Or maybe you want to work to change your pattern of responding.
* Re-reading your journal might reveal unhealthy reactions to certain situations. In this case, these reviews of your entries could help you make a commitment toward more positive and helpful reactions.
*  Take notice of your progress over time in responding to situations in positive ways.
* Regardless of whether you choose to accept your feelings or make a change, you still increase your self-understanding through reviewing your journal.

You might feel confused at times and be at a loss to explain why you responded in a certain way. However, you can improve insight by reflecting further about these situations and the feelings you experienced, especially if you see patterns of similar reactions.
Sometimes your feelings are deep-rooted and go back to an incident that happened many years ago, so similar situations now trigger similar feelings. Writing and reflecting on your journal entries may help you remember the previous incidents so you can understand your feelings and decide if they benefit you now or if you wish to pursue more positive outcomes in the future.

Try journaling today to explore how you feel and respond to life events. When you do, you’ll increase self-understanding and live a healthier, fulfilling life.

 

6 Ways to Handle a Short Fuse

Life’s stressors and issues can surely trigger development of impatience and intolerance in anyone. Have you found that you’re becoming more impatient with those around you? Would you consider yourself as someone with a short fuse? Do you get upset over the slightest of things?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it’s time to work on identifying techniques to tackle your disposition to impatience. There’s definitely nothing good that can come out of giving off that negative energy!

Here’s Your Starting Point

Using these tips can give you a jump-start in effectively dealing with your short fuse:

1.      Identify the source. One of the crucial elements in developing a plan to tackle impatience and intolerance is to identify just what gets you in that state. Once you’ve been able to pinpoint that, answer the following questions:

  • Why does it make you impatient or why are you intolerant in such an instance?
  • Is there an alternate response you could give as opposed to impatience or intolerance?
  • Could the outcome be more positive if you avoid that source altogether?

2.      Be conscious of your responses and reactions. This is perhaps one of the most important steps to correcting how you deal with issues that cause you to lose patience. The more often you stop and acknowledge your flare up, the sooner you’ll be able to grab hold of it before things get out of hand.

3.      Count to ten. As simple as this seems, it’s definitely very effective. Counting to ten gives you the opportunity to rethink your response. What you’ll find is that giving yourself a chance to “cool down” before responding will result in a more favorable outcome for you and any other party involved.

4.      Recognize the impact on you. A firm bit of advice would be to stop and consider how your actions and reactions are affecting you. Impatience and intolerance often lead to issues with health, such as high blood pressure. Becoming conscious of what you could be doing to your body will help you fight the urge to respond negatively.

5.      Recognize the impact on others. Apart from creating a stressful scenario for others that could possibly lead to health complications, have you ever thought about the emotional effects? Impatience and intolerance can lead you to make degrading, humiliating statements that could severely traumatize others.

  • Spend some time contemplating the possible effects your actions have on others.
  • Ask those around you how they feel when you display impatience and intolerance.

6.      Meditate. Meditation can lead to a newfound calmness that could impact how you respond to the actions of others or challenges that typically cause you to lose patience. Introducing meditation to your daily routine will surely have positive effects.

  • Listen to daily inspirational audio recordings that you can meditate on during the course of each day.
  • Engage in deep meditation once a week while at home.
  • Introduce soothing melodies and songs to your work and home environment that can change the mood in the air and subsequently impact you in a positive way.

Instinctively, you’ll want to display the negative responses you’re accustomed to displaying because it’s much easier than trying to contain them. It’s certainly an easier road to walk on, however, it is certainly not the most positive or beneficial road!

Reach deep within and find the urge and sincere desire to change how you respond to things that normally irritate you. Focus on these tips and allow yourself to learn more positive approaches one day at a time. You’ll be glad you did!