Updates On Journaling – Beware of Traps – Do It Right

In my search for best self-care practices, I’ve recently learned some things about journaling that gave me pause.

Some of my journaling practices may have been harming.  Eurich explains in her book about self-awareness that journaling has some traps that can suck insight out of experiences.

Her research showed that it can increase self-reflection, but not insight.

The Right & Wrong Ways to Journal 

One researcher who has studied journaling for decades found …

  • journaling for learning and growing yields the best results.
  • journaling used as an outlet to discharge emotions or for ruminating on the negative creates a trap.

When experiencing a challenge, journaling can be a good exercise to explore one’s deepest thoughts and feelings while mining for new directions. Best practices were

  •  20-30 minute intervals
  • every few days (not daily)

This kind of expressive writing was found to improve:


  • memory
  • grade point averages
  • absenteeism
  • re-employment
  • tennis games
  • immune systems



Those who benefit most tend to start with an incoherent , disorganized perceptions of a problem and finish with a coherent, meaningful narrative. 



Gratitude Journaling 

“Gratitude is the third eye of seeing”  – a statement I recently heard that has stuck.

Gratitude journaling is a practice that I recently read about used with new grads for experiential learning, personal growth and professional development.

We know that Oprah has been professing the benefits of Gratitude Journaling for years.

” … what we focus on expands, the more we celebrate gratitude, the more blessings come into our lives.”

Gratitude journaling steers us away from wallowing in self-pity.  Maya Angelou once told Oprah, “Stop crying right now and say thank you.  You know that God always puts a rainbow in every cloud.”


Here’s to finding your rainbows in journaling.



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