If you take the time to make journal entries on a regular schedule, follow the thoughts presented here, and put a plan into action, you will most definitely experience improved mental and physical health.
This is not advice on how to journal. If you need help on journaling techniques, see the last section of this article.
I expect that you agree we experience many emotions during the course of one day.
Each emotion has the power to heal or to destroy. Let’s examine a few of these emotions that we feel or experience on a regular basis.
If I were to list ten emotions, I would include shame, disappointment, love, joy, anger, sorrow, pride, pity, jealousy, and fear.
What would your list of ten look like?
Here’s a journal topic to get you started thinking about and personalizing this information about “healing the emotions.”
- Make a list of ten emotions.
- From this list choose four emotions that you have experienced in the past year.
- Circle two emotions that you might decide to write about in the future.
Keep these handy for future reference.
Misconception: Labeling emotions as “good” or “bad”
Frequently, people make a mistake of labeling emotions.
We are going to consider a few basic emotions. You will decide whether putting them in a good-bad category helps or hinders your understanding of emotions.
Before we begin, how would you define the word emotion?
Here’s one from the dictionary: “a STRONG feeling (such as fear, wonder, love, sorrow, shame) often accompanied by a physical reaction (e.g., blushing or trembling)”
Notice the adjective used to describe “feeling.”
Would you have used STRONG?
I think that using the word “feeling” without the qualifier STRONG suggests that any degree of response would fit the word emotion.
Feelings are not simply feelings–they have a wide range associated with them, starting with “mild” and ending with “out of control.”
We know through experience that a few tears do not indicate an emotional response to a situation. [We might simply have a speck of dust in our eye.]
Did you consider that before the feeling comes, you experience anxiety such as, sweaty palms and increased heart rate; during and after the feeling come trembling, unstable body movements, rush of adrenalin, even tears and screams.
1. Think of a time when you experienced fear.
Perhaps, you had a fear of heights, fear of public speaking, fear of spiders, or fear of abandonment. Tell about the situation that caused the emotion, and describe your feelings during this time.
Can you label this fear “good” or “bad?” Explain.
2. How do you know when you are experiencing wonder (or sorrow or shame)?
Has this ever been a “strong” feeling in you? Explain.
3. Think of an experience that caused this feeling in you.
Where were you? Who were you with? What did you do or say? Can you label this wonder “good” or “bad?” Explain.
NOTE: I think we should not be so quick to label our emotions “good,” or “bad.” What do you think?
Now that you have taken time to examine your history of specific emotions, let’s consider the emotion of fear.
One way we define fear is “the instinctive emotion aroused by impending or seeming danger, pain, or evil.”
Oftentimes, experiences support this definition.
For instance, a car drives up to a railroad crossing a few seconds before the train whistle blows. The hearts of the passengers seem to either skip beats or end up in their throats.
Likewise, innocent people at a party discover that the host or hostess has brought in some illegal alcohol or drugs. The guests panic when they hear a police siren in the distance. They run for the nearest exit, using bodily force to move others out of the way.
These situations have the potential for dangerous or negative consequences.
The emotions, however, create natural surges of energy to help people escape impending danger.
Another way we define fear uses the words “awe” and “reverence.” This meaning sounds more like wonder than fear.
David the psalmist says that “fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
He writes about revering God, to place Him in a state of reverence and awe. If we do, we are starting on the road to maturity.
I believe emotions come from God and serve a variety of purposes. They cause reactions and responses that can become positive or negative.
Again, the labels of “good” and “bad” seem inadequate for this emotion.
You have read this discussion about emotions, specifically overcoming fear. Now, you are in a position to write further about these thoughts in your journal.
Do you agree or disagree with the above paragraphs about the different meanings of fear? Choose a position and defend it.
Experiencing fear itself can bring healthy results like saving us from a train wreck or spending the night in jail.
It can also reside in our minds and create unhealthy effects. Fear can hold us in its grip and cause panic and sickness.
In other journal entries, get personal and write about the positive and/or negative effects of fear in your life.
After writing about these experiences, reread them and decide the benefits of having written about the emotions of fear and wonder.
I have more thoughts about healing the emotions.
This entry brought up some aspects of the emotion fear that you might not have considered. In another article, I will continue this discussion making some connections between our emotions and our personalities.
Remember “Power journaling means to write with new understanding that will bring ultimate healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”