It’s been a fight keeping up with all the twists and turns in my life over the past year. From navigating being laid off from my job to helping my husband with his business, it has been a wild ride.
Unfortunately, doing more than I’m capable of has left me feeling bruised all over. When you stretch yourself too thin, not only does your body ache, but there is also this ache on the inside that keeps repeating that things need to change. Holding on to the way things used to be (or “should” be) is not working.
As an intuitive introvert, I often get caught up in looking ahead or behind. But it’s moments like this that force me to look at where I am right now.
Being an avid reader, I’ve come across quite a few non-fiction books where the writer describes how they used to work at an unforgiving pace, but after years of stress, they have a major physical and emotional breakdown that causes them to rethink everything.
This probably happens to everyone at some point, but as a sensitive person, this seems to happen to me more often. Like at least every two to three years. It’s as if my body is more prepared to stop me when things are getting out of hand, unlike those who keep chugging along until they end up in the hospital or experience a massive identity crisis.
Yet all the times I’ve experienced crashes like these, my body is saying, “Hey, you! Time to rethink your life! Again!”
With every breakdown, writing is what I use to get back on my feet, along with resting as much as I can.
Writing is an activity that utilizes every part of my personality type. It gives me a chance to express my feelings in a tangible form and then work with them using my more practical side and imagination.
When it comes to writing for healing, I gravitate towards two methods of journaling.
Method 1: Emotional Dumping
Brain dumping is a well-known process for letting all the tasks and ideas floating around in your mind out onto paper.
However, when facing a breakdown, emotional dumping is my writing tool of choice. When things are crazy, it’s difficult to sort out my thoughts and how I feel.
So instead of worrying about doing a more structured journal entry, I free-write whatever comes to mind.
This is much like the popular Morning Pages method by Julia Cameron.
But I often don’t have time in the morning to hand-write three pages front and back. Sometimes, I need to pour my emotions out on paper at different times of the day. I also hit the problem of needing to offload emotionally when I have no paper in the vicinity.
Also, daily morning pages can be out of reach for those who work physically demanding jobs that offer little control over one’s schedule ( I’m thinking about retail, food service, etc…) It usually takes me over an hour to free-write front and back three sheets of paper.
So to add some flexibility, here are the guidelines I follow when doing emotional dumping:
- I can write at any time, anywhere, using anything.
- When writing, I write whatever comes to mind at the moment. Don’t think. My hands are not allowed to stop moving.
- Erasing and backspacing are not allowed. Pen is great. No scribbling out what I wrote.
- I try to write one and a half sheets at least and three sheets at the most.
- When I’m done, I don’t read what I wrote. This is for releasing whatever is going on in the moment, not evaluation. I usually let a week or more go by before reading my entries.
I do this as much as I need to, but I limit myself to three sheets of paper each day I do it (or the digital equivalent of that).
After a few days of emotional dumping, I tend to naturally transition over to my second method.
Method 2: Making Sense of the Day
Usually, when people think of journaling, these are the types of entries they think about.
However, instead of simply recording what I did for the day, I write about life events that are having an emotional impact on me at the moment.
Sometimes I write about good things, the moments in my life that I want to celebrate and feel all aglow about. I also write about what music, movies, and books I’m enjoying.
I also write about problems I’m facing. While I do express myself fully about what’s bothering me, I always try to put my problems into a meaningful context instead of wallowing in negativity.
After letting all my feelings out, I try to write about the possible lessons I’m learning from what I’m facing. I write about what coping strategies work and don’t work. I also write about my hopes and dreams for the future.
Journaling this way helps me feel uplifted, even when I’m struggling to make sense of things. It also gives me the sensation of feeling understood because I have more insight into my personal needs.
So as a short guide to journaling to make sense of the day:
- Write about current life events that are having an emotional impact on you.
- Express how you honestly feel about the current problems you are facing.
- Write about lessons learned and possible solutions.
- Don’t forget to celebrate the good things.
- Write about your hopes and dreams for the future.
So this is how I used writing for healing as an INFP. Have any thoughts about this post? Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter or Email!