Dump Journal

When you hear the word journaling, do you cringe? Do you find it awkward to write out your thoughts and innermost feelings on paper? You are not alone. Journaling is a tool we recommend at Peace Restored. And regularly, I see that same look on someone’s face that says, “I don’t like to journal” OR “I have tried that before” OR “That doesn’t work for me.” The list goes on for all the reasons why NOT to try journaling. So before you stop reading, I challenge you to continue and try this new perspective on journaling. You may find this approach refreshingly different and, hopefully, a helpful tool to add to your arsenal to combat anxiety and worry.
Before we get to the how of Dump Journaling, allow me to expand on the why. When anxiety is high, our brains can be on overload. Our thoughts are racing, and we have no idea what to do next. Mix into racing thoughts, the struggle of anxiety, trauma, grief, or abuse; you now have a strong combination. Your mind may be frozen or flooded with thoughts. At times your brain may be so overwhelmed you cannot move or make a decision. At other times you may be so overwhelmed that you feel frozen. Fear takes over, and you begin to spiral downward until you can “snap” out of it for a while; until the next cycle starts all over again. These thoughts are so pervasive they keep you up at night, sometimes leaving you fatigued and exhausted.
Fear, worry, anxiety are life-controlling issues. We are reminded in Scripture to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are to be the controller of our thoughts. Not the other way around. Our thoughts should be submissive to us. Not dictators to our lives. As we work to shift our thoughts, we must also learn how to shift our fear and anxiety. When we work to make this shift, we can then begin to do the more challenging work necessary to step forward in your healing journey.
Learning how to dump journal is one of the simplest tools you can practice. It may seem too simple as a matter of fact. But with practice, it will allow you space to calm your thoughts. All you need is a quiet space (or at least as quiet as you can find), a piece of paper, and a writing utensil. That is all. You do not need a fancy book or a set of colorful pens. Just the basics. This is not meant to a pretty journal. It is just a tool. Not a magic tool. Just a simple tool to help your brain relax.
Here are the steps:
  1. Find a quiet place
  2. Set a timer for 20 minutes
  3. Begin to write every thought you are having.
  4. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar
  5. Just write until the timer ends.
When your 20 minutes are complete, stop writing. The purpose of this is to allow your brain space to relax and “dump” out all of your thoughts. The good, the bad and the ugly thoughts. When finished, you can choose to keep your page or destroy it. If something came up when you were journaling that surprised you, or you need a space to work it out, make sure to tell your counselor about it. But that is it. Nothing fancy, just writing out all of your thoughts. And I mean ALL of them on paper. Just write your thoughts, even if your mind jumps from one to another. Try out Dump Journaling and let us know how it works for you.
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