An overexposure to information from life-sized moving advertisements on billboards down to the shrinking screen of your smartphone can significantly dull the brain’s response. It then leads to what is often called ‘brain fog.’ When experiencing similar emotional and mental symptoms of overwhelm, practicing mindfulness through expressive therapy can be helpful.
So what does it mean to practice mindfulness through expressive therapy? Mindfulness literally means to be consciously aware and grounded in the present moment by directing one’s focus away from obsessive worries about the past or future and towards the body’s response to its immediate surroundings. Putting this mindset into practice is where expressive therapy or journal therapy comes in. Many individuals have grown up writing ‘dear diary’ entries but from the behavioral therapy lens, keeping a journal is all about consciously choosing to understand behavioral patterns and responses to conduct one’s actions healthily.
One way difficult thoughts and emotions can be addressed through journaling is by considering it an expressive zone where no judgments are allowed, including self-critique. Your thoughts do not need to be presentable or adhere to any principle of political correctness when you are writing them down in a journal. But what is worth considering is that fixating on events that bring discomfort can also be harmful if the thoughts are not redirected towards a more positive stance. For this purpose, journal prompts can be utilized for a more guided thought process. Gratitude journaling prompts can also help decrease the discomfort of traumatic events by enabling the individual to find comfort in the continued presence of little sources of ease. In this way, journal therapy becomes a prerequisite for when you need additional assistance to be with yourself. It becomes an inanimate ear that hears the release of all the bottled thoughts and helps you structure them better.