As an introvert, it can be difficult to open up to others — which is why journaling is the perfect coping mechanism.
It is widely perceived that introverts are reserved or “too quiet.” While, yes, we’re not known to be as overtly communicative like extroverts, that doesn’t mean we don’t have something to say (when we do speak).
For instance, I find it difficult to express myself to others — perhaps I do not know them well enough, the subject matter is too heavy, or I don’t want to burden them with my problems. But I’ve found that keeping all my thoughts to myself is not healthy either. And that’s when I discovered journaling.
I know it is not the same as confiding in a best friend or bouncing ideas off someone. But journaling is a way to get through difficult times — and can help us keep track of the happy ones, too. Here are some key ways you can use journaling as a coping mechanism like I have.
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5 Ways Introverts Can Use Journaling as a Coping Mechanism
1. You’re free to write what you please — no one will judge or ridicule what you say.
Let’s face it: The world around us can be a very judgmental place. As such, it can be difficult to open up to others, especially as an introvert. And if there’s something pressing we really need to talk about — but no one who “gets” us is around — it can be even harder.
So, to voice our emotions and struggles, without the fear of being judged or ridiculed, turn to journaling. That blank page never even raises a skeptical eyebrow at me. Instead, it gives me all the space, security, and comfort I need to release what’s on my mind. There’s no such thing as being too shy when it comes to journaling!
Plus, as opposed to in-real-life conversations, I don’t have to assess my words or think twice before I put them out there. (Can you imagine?) And introverts often prefer writing to speaking, too. Since we’re so good at focusing and deep work, it comes naturally to us.
Needless to say, it is refreshing having an outlet where I can put it all out there without any fear.
2. You can track your emotional growth from month-to-month.
As I mentioned earlier, journaling is also a great way for us to get out our emotions — the good, the bad, the confusing, and so on. And, as the weeks and months go on, you can reread old entries and chart your emotional growth.
For example, maybe March was a very difficult month for you — you lost your job, your partner broke up with you, and you had to move to a new apartment, too. With so much change going on, you thought you would reach your tipping point…
So you wrote it all down, from the frustrating parts to the great parts. And when things got better in April and May, you could go back and reread how much you’d grown in the interim: You found a new job (one you enjoy even more), you started to date again, and you love your new apartment.
And when you reread how bleak March had been, you cannot believe all that you overcame. So your journal acts as a very tangible way to mark your growth and progress. It’s almost like going to therapy (but easier, since no talking is involved!).
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3. You can “talk to” a friend of yours through the written page(s).
There have been times I was so depressed, I couldn’t bottle up the pain I was drowning in — and not having even one person to talk to inflated the pain to a whole new level.
Yet journaling gave me the freedom to choose not only what to talk about, but who to reach out to also. I can choose to write about someone or something — or write “to” someone. Anyone.
Even though I’m keeping the message and not sending it out to the person, once I get it on paper, the weight of the issue no longer drags me down. I have made peace with a lot of people through this method. And even though they may not know about the pain and discomfort their actions once caused me, I feel as if my writing about it irons things out between us. It is liberating. Try it. You’ll see.
4. You don’t have to worry about what you “said” — you can always cross it out.
Like I said earlier, journaling grants me the freedom and space to ramble about an issue — over and over again. (And for us overthinking introverts, this is easy to do!) Sometimes, I’ll keep writing until I find a “solution” for the problem I’m dealing with. Other times, I’ll revisit it another day.
Plus, with journaling, I don’t have to worry about thoughts like: Why did I say that?! (In person, this happens all too often!) Through writing things down, though, I can always come back and fix them, and without having to think about what others think, which is so nice.
5. Your journal is never “too busy” for you — it’s there whenever you need it.
Don’t get me wrong — I really enjoy being alone. Like most introverts, we value, and need, our alone time.
However, there are times I honestly need to connect with other people — those in my inner circle — yet they’re “too busy.” But guess who’s not? My journal. It’s always there for me.
So now, instead of waiting for someone to return my call or text, I just start to write… (And, like I mentioned above, I can even write to them in my journal, letting them know how disappointed I am that they’re not around when I need them. This, too, is very healing and cathartic.)
By the way: I know it can never replace human contact or a deep face-to-face conversation with a friend, but my journal has helped me in more ways than I can even say. It’s been there for me through thick and thin, and is still there for me — unconditionally.
And I hope you find the same satisfaction with yours.