8 Ways Journals Are a Sensitive Introvert’s Best Friend
Your journal will never question your need for quiet — it accepts you just as you are: as a highly sensitive introvert.
My journal is my friend, confidant, mentor, therapist, artistic palette, memory, scrapbook, and spiritual advisor. I started journaling when I was 19 and, 50 years later, I am still a journaling
Being a highly sensitive introvert who is also a psychotherapist, you might expect me to be a little obsessed with the whole journaling mystique. And you would be right! I am obsessed. Let me tell you why.
8 Ways Journals Are a Sensitive Introvert’s Best Friend
1. Your journal “listens” to you without judgment.
It can be hard to find a friend or family member who is as unconditionally accepting of you as your journal. And there are days when you just need to be heard. You just need to vent — you don’t want advice or suggestions or quizzical looks. You don’t want to explain all of the gory details to your friend who is drowning in their own angst. You want to be petty and gossipy and to complain without having to feel guilty — because, in this moment, you may not be feeling particularly grateful for all your good fortune.
In essence, your journal lets you be you without having to worry about choosing the correct words, smiling, or hurting someone else’s feelings. Since writing comes easier for introverts than speaking, getting everything down on paper allows us to process our feelings more than an impromptu conversation would. Which brings me to my next point…
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2. It can enable you to release and process your emotions.
Both introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) have emotions that are intense, and inner worlds that are dynamic and complex. Imaginations are often quite active, with daydreaming at an all-time high.
When you write in your journal, you can figure out what you feel without the pressure of another person’s expectations or fear of their overwhelm. Sometimes, all you need is to write about your sadness, rage, or loneliness, and the act of writing shifts the intensity or allows you to see what is underneath the emotion. This is also why introverts should journal their way through difficult times.
In this way, you can work with the memory, calm the trigger, or uncover the deeper reason for your distress. It can be complicated, of course, because you are complex — but it is also a safer place to feel. And that feeling of safety will help make you happy.
3. You have an instant friend when you’re feeling lonely.
There are those long nights when you wish you could text a friend or get a hug… but it’s 2 a.m. Maybe you can’t sleep or you’re tired of scrolling through Instagram. Plus, there are only so many episodes of The Crown that you can binge-watch and the first season of Shrinking is over.
You’re lonely. So what do you do? Pick up your trusty journal. It’s dependable. Reliable. Full of promise and possibility.
You can make lists of tasks you need to do. You can play with watercolors or collage. You can doodle or start a Zen tangle, a form of art. You can start writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about. You can list the titles of the books you want to read or adapt the recipes you plan to cook. You can analyze your dreams. You can spill all your secrets. And the list goes on…
As a highly sensitive introvert, this journal friend will never question your need for quiet or your longing for deep connection with humans on your particularly one-at-a-time terms. It accepts you — just as you are.
4. It is a place to hold your endless memories.
I tend to forget just about everything… unless I write it down. So my journals have become sacred containers for my important memories. (I even have journals documenting past relationships that went awry.)
Sure, it might be painful to review those events, but it is also important to have a record of those times, both good and bad. Somehow, it is useful to know that my journal holds the stories of my life, even the ones I might want to forget.
You can also use your journal as a scrapbook and paste in photos and memorabilia from important events. Some journals and sketchbooks use watercolor paper, so you can even paint in them. Perhaps your journal will become the beginnings of your memoir. You never know.
5. You can manage your creative ideas and potential career paths.
You can create a whole separate journal just for this. Barbara Sher suggests this in her book, Refuse to Choose!, which is great for people with multipotentiality or rainforest minds. Multipotentiality is defined as an interest in many topics, an intense curiosity, and the capacity to learn quickly when interested in a particular field or activity. Often, people with multipotentiality change jobs every few years or have trouble choosing a major if they are in college. Introverts who are creative and deep thinkers often have multipotentiality.
Someone with a rainforest mind has these traits, too, along with sensitivity, empathy, a particular sense of social responsibility, high standards, and expectations. A journal that holds all of those creative ideas and possibilities is needed so you don’t lose any of them, even if you don’t have the time to actually do them all.
Is the chaos of life overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?
Sensitive people have certain brain differences that make them more susceptible to stress and anxiety. Thankfully, there is a way to train your brain so you can navigate the challenges of sensitivity, access your gifts, and thrive in life. Psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland will show you how in her popular online course, HSP Brain Training. As an Introvert, Dear reader, you can take 50% off the registration fee using the code INTROVERTDEAR. Click here to learn more.
6. If you can’t find a good therapist, your journal is a reasonable alternative.
You might say a journal is therapy-adjacent. Granted, if you have lived with trauma in your family of origin, you’ll likely need to find a mental health counselor. However, I know it might be hard to find a good match or to find someone you can afford. So, in the meantime, let your journal be your sacred place to grieve, process, and find your strength and self-love.
The process, called Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, and the book No Bad Parts by Dr. Richard Schwartz, can be explored in your journal. The book Soul Collage, by Seena Frost, is another therapeutic tool that uses creativity, images, and journal-writing for self-awareness and processing.
And, of course, if and when you do find a good therapist, sharing your journal entries with them can be important. But even if you don’t share them, your journal will make a good copilot alongside therapy.
7. It can help you get organized.
There are all types of journaling methods out there, from gratitude journaling to bullet journaling. While I don’t do the latter myself, it’s gotten increasingly popular and is all about lists, dates, memos, notes, and general life organization. It can help increase productivity and improve mindfulness.
The Bullet Journal Method is said to support “an intentional life, one that’s both productive and meaningful.” You can collect quotes, information, ideas, and questions. You can set goals and use the structure to stay focused. It is kind of like a very detailed day planner.
But, whatever method you choose to do, do what works best for you.
8. You can have “conversations” with your mentors and your spiritual support network.
What if you could have Toni Morrison or Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as mentors? Well, you can… in your journal.
As an introvert or and/or sensitive person, you may yearn for a guide or teacher who takes the time to truly understand you in all of your complexity. Ideally, this is a living person you can access who meets with you regularly for stimulating conversation.
But if that person is not in your life at this time, no problem. You can use your journal as your meeting place and decide who might be your ideal colleagues — and then dream up your “conversations.”
Both highly sensitive people and introverts have vivid imaginations, as well as the capacity to use intuition and a spiritual nature to connect with the metaphysical. Your journal will welcome this wisdom and your ability to play, imagine, and find your mentors. But don’t take my word for it — try it yourself and see.
If you are ready to start a new journaling journey, but want some guidance on how to begin, check out my latest book, Saving Your Rainforest Mind: A Guided Journal for the Curious, Creative, Smart, & Sensitive. end logo
You might like:
- How Introverts Can Use Journaling as a Coping Mechanism
- Why Introverts Should Journal Their Way Through Difficult Times
- 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need in Life to Be Happy
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