The Practice of Journaling: Writing to Myself

A woman writes in a cafe.I enjoy writing to myself. Sound strange? I initially chose not to share this information with anyone else because I thought people would be confused by this statement. However, writing to myself is helpful to work, relationships, and self-evolvement. I hope this technique is beneficial to you as well.

Writing to myself is like having a conversation with my true self. Intimately revealing and increasing present moment awareness, it is just as helpful as meditation, visualization, or yoga in relieving stress. Writing to oneself can also help one work through depression or deepening intimacy with a partner.

So, how can you learn to write to yourself?

All you need is fifteen minutes a day, a pen, pencil, or a crayon (whichever works best for you), and an intention to be honest, true, and nonjudgmental to the writing that emerges from within. This method of journal therapy is most beneficial when you are feeling overwhelmed and/or when you are making an important decision. Begin by gathering a pen and paper to have on hand; try opening a window to let in fresh air; make sure you feel calm and ready as you start this activity.

Evaluate your goals, which may include:

  • Managing stress.
  • Reducing symptoms of depression.
  • Losing weight
  • Starting a new business.

The first step in this activity is to realize that although you may hear several different voices in your head (the critic, the people-pleaser, etc.), another voice exists that you can call your true self, your guardian angel, or your higher self. This inner voice knows peace and joy and guides you in making choices that feel right for you, without fear.

The second step is to write a question on a piece of paper. Try to find a question that concerns you deeply and affects your current mental health:

  • Should I stay in this relationship?
  • What do I really want from this job?
  • What is my life’s purpose?
  • What is bothering me?
  • How can I forgive myself?

Once you have determined your question, sit in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Notice the thoughts ebb and flow in your mind. Continue to focus on your breath for five minutes. As you calm, notice how your thoughts slow down.

Then write as if you’re having a conversation with your true self. A conversation might ensue as follows.

Q: What is bothering me?
A: I don’t know. What do you think is bothering you?
Q: I don’t know; that’s why I am asking you.
A: Well, sit still for a moment.
Q: How is that going to help?
A: Well, try it and see what happens.
Q: I am not here to sit still. Solve my problem.
A: Sitting still is the answer.
Q: How long do I have to sit still?
A: A couple minutes.
Q: Okay. I’m still. Now what?
A: Well, how do you feel?
Q: Not as bothered as before.
A: Great. Do you have another question?

The first time you attempt this activity you may not hear your inner voice, but don’t give up. Keep writing. It takes time and patience to hear your true self speak to you. The more you intend on finding that voice, the more easily you will hear it. With practice, you will learn to speak from your true self, and all the other voices (the whiny child, the people-pleaser etc) will take a back seat.

Good luck!

© 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.

  • Leave a Comment
  • clive Y.

    March 17th, 2010 at 2:51 AM

    This sounds like something that will let us peek into our inner selves deep and give us unbiased answers and answers that are not influenced by any other thoughts or anything…it lets us concentrate solely on that subject and gain an answer which we think is right deep within ourself.

  • themuse

    March 17th, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    I’ve not tried writing to myself though I do share my thoughts on paper, which I guess is similar. A great benefit of that is it clarifies your thinking when you have to put it down. I’ll try this! Thanks, Zareen.

  • chase

    March 17th, 2010 at 4:47 AM

    Love to journal, this is my version of writing to myself.
    This is how I get all of my thoughts and feelings out, things that I may not feel safe saying out loud but I know that it is ok to write about them.I took on this habit pretty early in life, while others were writing in their diaries I wanted mine to be more serious. Therefore I developed into a more serious kind of kid.
    I have continued this as an adult and like those who exercise on a daily basis this is my chance to “exorcise” if you will.
    Without my journaling even about the small stuff every day I feel just a little lost.
    This helps me get to know myself a little better and figure out things that are really going on when I am stumped.
    Nothing like it.

  • Jacquie

    March 17th, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    I’d feel a little silly talking to myself like that. How do you get past that in order to benefit from this?

  • Iris

    March 18th, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Jacquie I think that the best thing to do in that case is to let go of the feelings of silliness and know that this is a step toward getting to know yourself and your feelings a little better. And what better person to work all of that out with than you! :-)

  • Cassie V.

    March 20th, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Wise words, Iris! Sitting still can be very healing too even just by itself. What’s hard is getting your mind quiet enough to be able to converse with yourself in that manner. Any tips on how to stop your mind racing in high gear Aqsa please?

  • Shona

    March 23rd, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    I think I would go crazy if I couldn’t journal. It’s so good to get feelings out and off your chest. I know it helps me cope with my life and also to see when I’m in the wrong. Writing it down is very helpful and when I do, it calms me.

  • Zareen

    March 24th, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Thank you for all the lovely comments.
    @ Clive, Yes, you are absolutely right. This process will help you discover your innermost desires.
    @ the muse, You are very welcome, please do let me know how this activity works out for you.
    @Jacquie. Well, write down all the thoughts about feeling silly first and you will notice as you continue that your true self will intervene eventually. Just continue to write slowly. Iris, I agree.
    @Cassie V. Cassie, if you sit in silence long enough, your thoughts will slow down. However, if they don’t, start to write your racing thoughts down. Writing helps you gain control of your thoughts. And if that doesn’t work go back to focusing on your breath.
    @ Shona, Writing can help you deal with any situation, good or bad, as long as you are patient and willing with your mind.

  • michelle

    May 1st, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    That was a good article.. I like the step-by-step!

  • nirodha

    April 9th, 2013 at 6:55 PM


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