How to make an emotion journal, step by step and with examples

Every day and every hour, we feel emotions. Some positive, some negative, some intense, some milder and their duration also varies.

There is no doubt that people feel emotions, but do we know how to identify them? Are we aware that we are feeling them? Emotion logs can help us be more aware of the feelings we feel throughout the day, as well as recognize the situations that triggered them and also allow us to think about what to do.

Then let’s see some steps to learn how to write an emotion journalIn addition to commenting on some of the benefits of these records and their usefulness in developing our emotional intelligence and artistic skills.

    How to make a journal of emotions and benefit from it?

    We can define as an emotional diary any type of recording we make in what we put as we feel each day or, also, noting only the days when an emotion, positive or negative, has taken on great importance for be very intense. These types of journals are widely used in psychotherapy to enable the patient to gain better management of his feelings.In other words, develop more emotional intelligence, although this is recommended for everyone.

    People don’t feel the same all day. Our mood changes over the hours and days, with various factors influencing our emotions. The people we relate to, the situations we have to face and our way of being make us express all kinds of emotions, all adaptive as long as they are in what is healthy and do not involve a level. of alteration too high for our daily life.

    however, experiencing emotions is not the same as knowing how to detect and manage them. It is very difficult to “analyze” an emotion in the moment you are living, but it is possible to do it more objectively once you have calmed down and seen it with perspective. as large as possible, that is the main objective. . By being calm, we can reflect on how we felt, in what situation the emotion arose, what response we gave to the problematic situation, and what we can do in the future to prevent it from being too much. intense or harmful.

    Tips for making an emotional journal

    An emotional journal can be done by simply writing down the emotions as we feel them on any piece of paper. Just take a notebook and, schematically, start dealing with our own emotions by pointing to them. We can continue to show what we feel every day or just do it in those where the emotions have been very intense. The ideal is to report each day, putting both positive emotions, such as happiness, joy or euphoria, and negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, anxiety or anger.

    The way we report our emotions is pretty free and is beneficial as long as it allows us to find a recurring emotional pattern and what emotions are causing us specific situations, encourage the development of emotional intelligence. Maybe there are people who liked to point out what they felt in a very free way, although it must be said that the disorder can be a bit chaotic and more than helping us deal with our emotions and us. bring well-being. What it can do is make us feel frustrated and exhausted.

    To get the most out of our Emotion Journal, it is advisable to follow the points below.

    1. Use a laptop

    To make a journal of emotions, it is better to use a paper notebook before using the notebook of the mobile or using a word processor on our PC. One of the reasons a notepad is better than any other size is that it’s easy to carry around and write on it whenever we feel inspired.

    In addition, this journal is not only for writing, because several times to represent and clearly explain how we think we need to make drawings, diagrams, diagrams or even collages. A physical notebook is a very format that allows us to interact with complete artistic freedom, which is directly linked to emotions.

    2. Choose a fixed time to write

    As we have discussed, there are those who prefer to emphasize how they felt each day, while others prefer to do it alone on days when intense emotion has flooded them, both for the better and for the better. worst. While signing up for this journal is something we can do at any time of the day, it is advisable to set a fixed time each day to sign up or at least verify it.

    A good idea is to write (or draw) in this journal at night, right at the end of the day, but not necessarily before bed.. This is when our moods are least likely to change, as not much else will happen to us in the short time that remains. In addition, it is at night that we are usually quieter, the night being the most suitable time to reflect on how we have felt throughout the day.

    3. Use a grid

    While we can use any artistic resource to express and describe our emotions, it is advisable that in this freedom one uses a minimum of order and it is to use a grid a good means of realizing-. This grid made up of rows and columns can help us get a very precise overview of the emotional events that we have experienced throughout the day.

    We can put several categories in each column: situation, thought, emotion, response and suggestions or alternatives to our response, in addition to questions.

    3.1. situation

    In a “situation” we can what happened to us during the day that aroused in us a concrete emotion. We need to be as specific as possible, spelling out all kinds of details and the people involved in the situation. It can also be a future situation which, even though it has not happened to us, still arouses our emotions, both positive and negative. Some examples might be:

    “Tomorrow I have an exam in which I play at 60% of the mark for a subject that I find very difficult to understand.”

    “Today my partner Caterina told me that I am totally useless for doing group work.”

    “I am going to Tenerife this summer.”

    3.2. thoughts

    In the “thoughts” column we will put in our mind the ideas that came to us (or that happen to us) related to this situation. These reflections, when anticipating a situation that has not yet occurred, can be exaggerated, both catastrophic and overly optimistic. It is by writing anything in the journal that one can detect whether or not they are realistic and proportionate to the situation:

    “I am going to fail the exam because I barely understand the subject and although I have studied a lot and attended all the classes, I still do not understand anything.”

    “I think this comment made it to me because I don’t like it, because my part of the job is well done and the teacher gave us a good mark as well.”

    “Every day we will go to the beach in Tenerife, I will meet new people, I will turn dark and it will be an unforgettable vacation.”

    3.3. emotions

    In the “emotions” part, we put what we feel. It might seem like the easiest part, but oddly enough, it’s the hardest part. It is easy to know how to identify our thoughts, but not so much our emotions. Specifying and labeling what we feel, explaining it in the best way in words is a real feat, and we have to do some considerable soul-searching and recognize emotions that we don’t mean we feel:

    “I’m very nervous. I’m climbing the walls. I can’t concentrate because the thought that I’m going to suspend goes through my head all the time and overwhelms me. even more.”

    “Even though I know this girl is wrong, it made me feel really bad. I feel like I’m worth absolutely nothing, that I can’t have good friends, and that the few people I identify with aren’t able to appreciate me that much. how I am “.

    “I’m going to have a great time. I’m going to be happier than ever. Nothing’s going wrong.”

    3.4. physical sensations

    We can put a category for physical sensations although, also, they can be described in the column of emotions after them.. We will have to specify if the sensations change or are permanent, if they prevent us from doing normal tasks or giving us pleasure. Some of these sensations can be as follows, all of them can be caused by both positive and negative emotions: tachycardia, sweating, rapid breathing, numbness, tremors …

    3.5. Reply

    We can analyze the behavior or the response we gave to the situation, also see if it is appropriate or not for the type of context and emotion we experienced:

    “I am so overwhelmed that I cannot study, which is wrong because only as a student will I have a minimal chance of succeeding.”

    “I told her she was totally useless for a lot of other things, like being able to read a paragraph aloud in class without getting in the way.”

    “I started making plans to make sure everything was going well for the trip. I found out if I should get the vaccine and if I couldn’t bring it depending on the island’s food or vegetables.

    3.6. Suggestions

    To finish, we can put what this emotion suggests to us or what alternative we can do to the answer we have already given.

    “I should have calmed myself down. I may not pass the exam, but the best I can do is calm down now and try to see if the content penetrates me. It is not worth being nervous about the exam because in this case I am sure I will be less aware of the questions and I will also not be able to remember what I have studied. “

    “The best thing I can do about her comments is to ignore her. I’m sure she has a problem or is close because something has happened to her. Since I did my part well. , I have no rational reason to do it. ”It’s true that I would like to please everyone, but it just can’t be done and sometimes there are people who bother others just for the sake of it. pleasure.”

    “I’m always excited because I’m going to travel to Tenerife, I should calm down a bit and be foresight. It’s not to get into the worst situations, but it’s to be a little realistic. Maybe if I do. so am I. happy and confident about the “The island ends up robbing me when I see that I don’t watch my stuff or look at how expensive restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are. I have to have fun, but for a good reason. “

    Benefits of writing an emotional journal

    There are many benefits to writing an emotion journal. When it comes to expressing what we have felt during the day, this type of journal allows us being aware of these emotions, what situations triggered them, how we behaved, how we anticipated they would get better or worse, and also allows us to reflect and find ways to better deal with those feelings. In other words, it helps us develop our emotional intelligence and therefore bring us greater well-being.

    For example, this type of newspaper it is perfect for people who have a lot of obsessive thoughts, thoughts that can be very limiting when doing work or studying. By means of the journal of emotions and by noting the days or times and contexts in which they occur, we can see what are the triggers that cause us to have these kinds of thoughts and thus slow them down by avoiding them or them. getting rid of them directly. them.

    Emotions turned into art

    Emotion notebooks are not only a good tool to bring us emotional well-being in our lives, but they are also a real exercise in self-knowledge and in the development of our artistic skills. As we mentioned, there are those who prefer to explain their emotions through the written text, but that does not mean that we write in a dry and cold way what we feel. We can use metaphors, comparisons, say that emotions have colors and tones, or describe them by saying that they conjure up a certain melody or song.

    However, if we are more of a visual person, the Emotion Journal can go a long way towards practicing many painting skills. We can paint, draw, make diagrams, represent with abstract figures what we feel … The journal of emotions it can be a real work of art, a work of art made with our own lives, experiences, emotions, thoughts and feelings. It’s turning our emotions into art.

    Bibliographical references:

    • López I. and Arango T. (2002). Emotional intelligence. Learning and growing together: Bogota (Colombia). Edicions Gamma SA
    • Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. Why it’s more important than IQ: Barcelona (Spain). Ediciones B, SA
    • Leahy, RL (2003) “Emotional Processing Techniques”, Chapter 8 of Cognitive Therapy Techniques. A Doctor’s Guide, New York, The Guilford Press.

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