Journaling and writing down intrusive thoughts can help you better understand them and their trigger, and take control. By learning what triggers you, when the triggers occur, what causes them, and how you react to them, you can learn how to take control and, with time, overcome OCD.
Journaling is a great tool for figuring these things out. Journaling slows down your mind and allows you to really inspect each thought you are going through and writing down. This allows you to understand them at a much deeper level. This deep level of learning can help you expose triggers, and can show you a clearer way of how to deal with these triggers.
- Don't judge yourself, your journal is for you, not for others.
- Don't try to make it perfect, allow yourself to make mistakes in spelling and grammar.
- Don't copy other people's writing styles. Write in your own way, however it comes out.
- Don't force yourself to write, not every day and not a certain amount of words/pages.
- Don't let journaling take over your life or become an obsession.
- Find a spot you feel comfortable in, and that you won't be interrupted.
- Use a pen and notebook that you enjoy using.
- Don't just write down things that happened, reflect on them, analyze them, try to understand them.
- Make journaling a habit by doing it at a scheduled day and time, but don't be too strict.
- Journal with an open mind, allow your thoughts to flow, and explore even the silliest ideas.
Many therapists recommend to their patients to start journaling, or to continue journaling if it was a practice they had in the past. This is, of course, if the therapist and the patient feel it would benefit the patient and their therapy.
Journaling may not be for everyone, but during therapy, a therapist can understand if journaling is worth trying, and if so, they can also give guidelines and items to focus on while journaling.
Journaling is a great practice to supplement therapy, but it is not a substitution to therapy. Many therapists suggest to their patients to start journaling if it is something that they believe they will benefit from. They also provide guidelines and further help with the practice, and even go over the notes during their next therapy session.
Journaling can be a powerful tool, and it can really help make a big difference, but it cannot be emphasized enough that journaling is not a substitute for therapy, but it can be an excellent supplement to it. If you are in therapy, consult with your therapist. Ask them what they think about it, and they will most likely be able to give you instructions or things to focus on while journaling.
The first step is to find a journal that you will enjoy writing in. This can either be with an actual physical journal, or on a device if that is what you prefer, though, I recommend an actual journal of some kind. This is very important, as if you do not like what you are writing in, it is very likely that you will not enjoy writing in it either, and you probably won't.
The next step is to find some time to be alone, and a place you can be alone and uninterrupted in. Since journaling is a very personal practice, one where you are getting out what ever is on your mind and what ever you are feeling, it is recommended to find a very private place where people will not bother you.
Now, it's time to actually write. You can start writing, literally, what ever you want. I like to ask myself why I am even journaling, and to write that answer down. That question usually leads me to further questions. Find what works for you, ask different questions to help get your thoughts going, or, if you are having a bad day, write about that. Try to explore the things you are writing down, what they mean to you, your reaction to them, and anything else that you feel and that is in your mind.
It is important to understand that journaling should not be forced. You may find that sometimes, you will sit down to journal, but won't actually have anything to write down. What many people do in this situation is to force themselves to come up with thoughts to write down. This is not an efficient way to approach journaling, as you can get very tired of this practice very quickly.
You do not have to journal every day, and you do not have to write a whole page each time. Even the habit of sitting down and taking out your journal can help get you in a better mood. If all you have to write is "I had a good day", then that is all you need to write.