Does it seem like your emotions are just running wild lately? Is it a constant roller coaster of highs and lows? Have you considered using your journal to get control of the situation?
Control is a word with a lot of baggage, because no one likes a controlling person, no one wants to be “under control” of anything. But emotions are so like the weather, like clouds, coming and going. You’re dancing on tippy toes with delight one moment and frozen in sadness the next. Emotions can seem so convincing, but the truth is, they pass.
You have to come up with a way to widen your perspective, to view things from higher up. Journaling is really good at that.
Emotions are real, important, and meaningful. There’s no denying that. Yet they are most powerful in context with the rest of your life. It’s easy to get confused if you focus too hard on individual emotions. Journal writing helps provide a composite view.
The following journaling sequence may be helpful:
- Keep a log of your emotions for some specific length of days. This is quite challenging, because your outlook can change moment to moment. Obviously, don’t obsess. Note your emotional state every hour or every few hours or whatever. Even a once-daily log can be helpful.
- Explore single emotions in depth. You feel excited and energetic; or conversely, you’re sluggish and depressed. Describe the physical and mental sensations. What does this feeling want you to do?
- Make a sketch of each emotion, or find its color or shape or other visual representation. Collect the different images for different emotions and make a collage.
- After a while, make a list of your dominant emotions over the course of several days or weeks. What do you notice? Are there any patterns or trends?
- Remind yourself Why. Describe again why you do what you do; what keeps you going; the reason you have for making an effort in life. Journal about the relationship between your emotions and that reason.
Do you really want to police your emotions, reducing them down to powerlessness? Of course not, and that would be impossible anyhow.
Still, there’s no need to settle for one extreme or the other. We may not wish to curb our emotions, but we may also wish to, well, reign them in a bit for our own good. Feelings can be so powerful! We benefit from developing a proper perspective on them. Write?