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How journaling can help get through hard times

Everyone goes through blissful times, and everyone goes through hard times too. Whether hardship comes from economic struggles, a damaged relationship, the loss of a loved one, or worry about global or local issues, it's important to deal with it in a positive, constructive manner. Currently, the world is facing uncertainty in many seemingly new ways, and it has been a very difficult period for many people all around.

Journaling is an excellent way to have an honest, open conversation with ourselves, and opens the door to improvement and empowerment. Let's take a look at how journaling can help get through hard times.

Introspection and understanding

We always want to come out of difficulty as fast as possible, and stop suffering quickly. But trying to get out of a rainy day without first understanding the rain, is like trying to fix a cracked dam with a band-aid.

In reality, one of the best things one can do, is to first try to understand what the problem really is. What is it truly that worries or saddens us? Let's start by writing down what is causing negativity.

It may be a complex situation that doesn't seem to have a solution, so let's try to narrow it down to something manageable.

The current global situation regarding the pandemic is scary to me. I fear what may happen if I get infected, or if one of my loved ones does.

Or, in the other hand, if the issue is very specific, try to expand it and understand it, looking at if from a wider point of view.

A family member is unfair and mean to me. Why would they do that? Maybe they are also going through a hard time, and don't know how to deal with their situation.

It might be hard to write about it. But it's ok — take time to listen to yourself and understand what is troubling you. Only then are we able to start overcoming.

Gratitude

No matter how difficult times may be, there is always something we can be grateful for. It may sound cliché to always be looking for the positive, especially when the world feels like it's crashing down on us. But give it a chance.

Write down one thing you are grateful for. If you have more, that's fantastic! Write down everything you can think of that you are grateful for.

I'm grateful for being alive, and having enough food to feed myself and my family. I'm also grateful to have internet, so I can stay entertained and connect with people.

Remember, nobody has to read your journal — it's a private space in which you can truly be yourself. That's why privacy is one of our top priorities for Diarly.

So feel free and write down everything you are grateful for. That comfortable pair of socks. The little ray of sunshine that filtered through the window. A video you enjoyed watching. Anything, no matter how small or big it is, no matter if you think people may laugh or judge. Being grateful is about yourself, not about others.

Learning and growth

It is as old as sayings are, and it's as true today as it was on the day it was first said: Every crisis brings with it an even greater opportunity. Try to find something positive that can come out of the situation you're facing. Write, meditate, and write more, until you find something to learn from it.

It may seem like nothing positive could ever come out of a situation. But there is always at least one good thing: the opportunity to learn from hardship.

Think of what you have learned since the beginning of your journey. The hardest lessons to learn are often some of the most important lessons there are. And if it's a particularly painful lesson, take it as a chance to grow.

The global pandemic has affected everyone I know. But I have learned to value my family and friends, and to value the simple things in life, like cooking a meal from simple ingredients, or moving my body to my favorite music.

Remember when you were a child and hurt yourself trying to reach new grounds — learning to walk, learning to ride a bicycle, or learning not to play with sharp things. It probably hurt then, but today, you are a better, stronger person thanks to it.

This, too, shall pass

Ultimately, remember that everything you are going through right now is just a fragment of your life, a tiny snapshot of history. One day — it may take days, it may take weeks — you will find yourself in freedom from what haunts you today.

Let's try one last journaling exercise: Come up with an idea for the future. Plan to do something once the hard times have passed. Describe your wish in as great detail as possible. Then, start planning for that: What do you have to do to make your plan happen? Think about something you can do right now that will bring you closer, even just a tiny bit, to that goal. You might even have to change yourself for it to come true — perhaps get in shape, learn something new, or start a new routine.

I'd love to travel to a new country next year. But first, I think I'll have to learn a new language. To get closer to my goals, I'll start studying that language for 5 minutes every day!

Whatever it is you want to do, as great or small as you want it to be, start planning for it, even if it sounds impossible for now. Whether your plan does come true or not, just getting your mind out of current, negative thoughts, and finding in it the inspiration to improve, will always have a positive impact on your present state.

It's not easy to get out of a hard moment — if it was easy, it wouldn't be a hard moment after all. But through journaling, it's possible to get through hard times with a more positive and constructive process.

Going through a bad time, be it a rainy day or a long winter, will always make the sunshine even more enjoyable. So take this as a chance to spend time with yourself and truly listen to what you have to say.

Cécile Lebleu
Author

Cécile Lebleu

Cécile Lebleu is the lead UI designer and web developer at Diarly. She likes to build interactive layouts and websites, brand identities, and design systems. She also likes to make great food. When she's not busy building something, Cécile likes to read and write about personal improvement.

Visit Cécile Lebleu's website