Journal Therapy: Adding Colors and Imagery

Journaling is a wonderful way to explore, embrace, and accept your inner world. Colors and pictures can further enhance your understanding of the deep, mysterious internal world.

Many of us use black ink when we are writing in a journal. But colors matter. They reveal so much more about the nonverbal part of us. Whether you chose to write your words with a thick red marker or a light blue pencil, it will highlight the message you are receiving from your soul and vice versa.

Keep markers, coloring pencils, crayons, or paint and several blank sheets of paper by you as you start journaling. Using a large sheet of paper (11” x 17”) is helpful, as it reminds you that your feelings have space to breathe, and the paper acts as a mirror for your soul.

  • To start the activity, write down your current thoughts. Let’s say you discover that your mind keeps repeating a phrase. For example; “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.”
  • To delve deeper and resolve this repetitive thought, write out the thought in its entirety. If the thought is repeated in your mind twenty times, write it out twenty times. The more space you use, the better. The feeling often hurts so much because we create resistance, inside ourselves, toward the feeling.
  • Once you have written your thoughts, sit quietly with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Continue breathing deeply as you sit in silence. Silence is essential for the natural unfolding of this therapeutic process.
  • Now, open your eyes and look at the set of crayons (my personal favorite-because they bring out your inner child), markers and/or pencils. Notice the colors that attract your attention. Pick up the color that appeals to you and rewrite the thought in that color.
  • Make some inner observations, noticing how you feel, as you write. The color you use, and the energy with which you, write will help you identify the emotion. Identifying the feeling is important because “I hate this” continues to hold power over you. It is the emotion that holds this power. As soon as you detach the emotion from the thought, the thought loses its power and dissolves.

Emotions can sometimes be associated with a color. For example, blue may mean sadness or peace, green envy, yellow happiness, and red anger or rage. But what matters most is what the color means to you. For instance, if you have experienced loss in your life and you remember wearing a green sweater when you were going through that difficult time, then you may associate that color with loss.

In short, the most important part of this activity is being true to yourself and your intuition.

Now that you know the emotion, it’s easier to graduate to imagery. Imagery grounds you and clarifies any hidden meanings or associations with the feelings. So, let’ say that while you are working on this activity, an image pops up in your head. Don’t delay or second-guess. Just draw what feels natural to you. You don’t have to be an artist, your focus is not on the art. The focus is the writing. The art is there to complement your writing.

Do not allow your mind to interpret the picture. Observe the paper and, if you allow your mind to be still, the meaning will become clear to you.

I pray that this technique enhances your journaling experience.

© Copyright 2010 by Aqsa Zareen Farooqui. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • kim d

    April 15th, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    Never thought of my journal as a place to express my feelings through color too, only words. But seeing as how color can do so much to not only speak volumes about your mood but also enhance it, this makes perfect sense. The next time I sit down to write I will definitely surround myself with utensils of every color and see where the mood of journaling with color takes me!

  • nadia

    April 15th, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    although I did know that colors do play a part in identifying one’s personality, I didn’t know that they reveal so much of an individual and that it was so simple to actually test yourself and arrive at a conclusion…thanks a lot!

  • Billy

    April 15th, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Colors play such an important role in our lives…there are colors all around and colors have been used to express our mood, our happiness, our excitement, or sadness and everything else…why, companies even make use to specific colors to entice customers…its said that seeing the color red makes a person hungry and that is exactly the reason why many restaurants incorporate that color in their logo or in their advertising campaigns!

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