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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Danae

Effective Journaling with Primary Emotions

We need to consistently acknowledge emotions, even the uncomfortable ones, to maintain our mental and emotional wellness. The big idea on my mind this week is to use primary emotions as prompts when journaling. This has helped me to process emotions that I wouldn't naturally notice for a longer period of time.

When I accidentally ignore basic emotions instead of processing them I end up feeling inexplicably low. Of course, it's not really inexplicable, but it can seem that way sometimes!

With the busyness of caring for my baby girl, managing our home, and running a business, it's easy to avoid some emotions so I can focus on the tasks at hand. This eventually has me wondering how I ended up feeling so low when nothing is obviously going wrong in my personal life.

In an effort to intentionally craft the life I want to live, I've been following these steps and journaling more effectively:

  1. Acknowledge emotions. I simply write down the name of a primary emotion and then jot down any thoughts that align with it. Example: Anger - I feel angry that so many politicians fight for power instead of fighting for the wellbeing of their constituents.

  2. Respond. For some of the emotions, like fear, I write encouraging truth as a response. Example: I fear that someone won't like me if I make this statement publicly but I know who I am and I'm speaking what I believe. My integrity matters more to me than having everyone approve of me.

  3. Accept and Take action. Sometimes there isn't anything I can do immediately to make these emotions go away which is what I want to do! But I'm learning to accept the emotions as useful information rather than thinking of them as burdens that I want to escape. And sometimes emotions are the very things that make me take action to improve lives and the world. So they're not all bad!

I've been using these five emotions as journaling prompts: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy, Sadness. In case you're looking for a deeper understanding of your own emotions, this article from Verywell Mind offers a helpful overview of basic emotions including how to identify them by facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.

After every time I journal with this method I feel significantly better than when I started, even though I haven't resolved everything. I hope it can be a helpful process for you too whether you write it down or speak it aloud by yourself or to a friend.

I'd love to hear from you, what helps you process big emotions?


Join me this month for a series of my core coaching workshops on Monday nights at 7:30 PM CDT. Participate in the live event or watch the recorded version following each workshop.

March 15 | Time Management

March 22 | Crafting Rhythms & Routines

March 29 | Finding Your Motivation Style

NOTE: Recordings will be available for seven days after each workshop in case you cannot attend the live session.

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