Journal writing can be a powerful tool to help process and heal from traumatic experiences. In this blog post, I will show you how to start journaling about trauma and provide you will journaling prompts to help you start the healing process whenever you experience trauma.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is a psychological and emotional response to a distressing or disturbing event or traumatic experience. Trauma may be caused by a singular incident or by numerous events that accumulate over time, and its effects can appear in diverse forms.
Trauma can arise from various experiences in life itself, including but not limited to physical or sexual assault, a severe accident, the sudden death of a loved one, natural disasters, or combat. It can also result from ongoing experiences such as abuse or neglect.
The symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of certain situations, increased anxiety or fear, and a sense of detachment or emotional numbness.
It can cause behavioral alterations, such as outbursts of anger, aggressive tendencies, or substance misuse.
It’s important to note that trauma affects everyone differently, and what happened that may be traumatic for one person may not be for another.
Trauma can also be treated with therapy, and journaling can be a helpful tool in processing and working through traumatic experiences.
How do you journal about trauma?
Here is how to journal about your traumatic experience;
Choose the right journal.
Choose a journal that you can easily take with you wherever you go. Consider if it needs to be password protected, if writing in pen is more calming for you than using a computer, or if you would prefer an online platform like Otto’s Journal.
Choose a Safe Space
Creating a safe space to write freely without fear of judgment or interruption is essential. This might mean finding a quiet corner of your childhood home, lighting a candle, or playing calming music. When creating your journaling space, prioritize whatever makes you feel comfortable and secure.
Pick the Right Time
For some, journaling first thing in the morning can be a helpful way to start the day. For others, Expressive writing or spending time before bed can provide a sense of closure and help with sleep. Experiment with different times of day to see what works best for you.
Use a Trigger Warning
Before diving into your trauma, giving yourself a trigger warning can be helpful. This means acknowledging that what you’re about to write might be difficult or triggering. By doing this, you’re giving yourself permission to take breaks or step away if necessary.
Start with Small Steps
Expressive Writing about trauma can be overwhelming, so start with small steps. Write about a specific memory or feeling, or focus on a particular emotion. The goal is not to write a perfect essay but to progress in processing your trauma.
Find a Supportive Community
Finding a community of people who have experienced trauma can be good for your mental health. It can help you to know exactly what to write about your painful experiences.
What are journal prompts for getting over trauma?
Here are 20 journal prompts to help you get over your trauma;
- What are my trauma triggers?
- What are the thoughts, feelings, or that come up when I think of my trauma?
- What do need to feel safe and secure?
- How does my trauma affect my day-to-day life?
- What strengths do I have that help me cope with my trauma?
- What kind of support do I need to heal from my trauma?
- What brings back negative feelings about my past trauma?
- How best can I deal with my negative emotions?
- Who can talk to about my traumatic event?
- How best can I speed up my trauma healing?
- What can I do to foster post-traumatic growth?
- What activities help me to feel grounded during stressful times?
- How do I create healthy boundaries with people in my life?
- What false beliefs about myself are linked to my trauma?
- How can I use positive self-talk to counteract the negative effects of my trauma?
- What habits or behaviors do I need to give up to heal from my trauma?
- What would be the best way to tell someone about my traumatic experience?
- What are some of the most helpful coping strategies to use when triggered by a trauma memory?
- What do I need most right now to start healing from my trauma?
- How can journaling help me process and heal from my trauma?
Can journaling help heal trauma?
Yes, journaling can be a powerful way to process and heal from trauma. Expressive writing about your traumatic experiences can help you to gain perspective and clarity, facilitate healing, and even provide an emotional release. Writing is also a great form of self-care that can help you manage stress and anxiety.
Journaling to can help reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, such as intrusive and unwanted thoughts, nightmares, negative beliefs about yourself or the world, and hyperarousal. It’s also a good way to keep track of your progress as you work towards healing from your trauma.
Writing can provide an outlet for trauma processing allowing you to express yourself without fear.
This healing benefits your physical health by relieving body tension caused by painful memories of experiencing trauma.
How to maintain trauma journaling habit.
- Begin journaling your trauma by setting aside a specific time and place to write.
- Pick a regular day and two or three different times of day to write so you can create a journaling habit.
- Don’t focus too much on the traumatic event but instead focus on the healing process.
- Join a community of people to discuss your experiences.
- Set reminders for yourself on your phone or calendar.
- Reward yourself after each journaling session as a way to reinforce the habit.
- Focus on the long-term benefits of journaling as a way to stay motivated.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t make progress every day.
- Remember that it takes time to process and heal from trauma, so practice patience and self-compassion.
Journaling can be a powerful tool in processing your feelings and healing from trauma. By creating a safe space, practicing mindfulness, and using different techniques, you can begin to make progress in your healing journey.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong method of journaling about trauma – just communicate your thoughts and feelings in a manner that is sincere to you.
If you are encountering the aftermath of a trauma response, comprehend that you are not solitary in this recovery journey.
Many resources and communities are available to support you on your healing journey. Take care of yourself, be kind, and know that healing from trauma is possible.