Diaries and journals have become a very useful tool for self management and their value in therapeutic environments is gaining greater interest.
Below you will be introduced to the CREATE method for journaling.
The CREATE method is specifically aimed at planting the seeds of healthy contemplation, progressive thinking, and the value of taking time to support personal mental health, into the minds of doubting Thomas’s and sceptical Suzan’s.
Using this method will enable you to CREATE your mind some freedom; create yourself the opportunity to worry less and grow more.
To use CREATE well, use the acronym step by step to explore how you feel and what you can do to help yourself.
Contemplate what you want to write about. Consider things like how you are feeling? What happened recently? Any notable interactions, good or bad? What are your goals at this time? And write about it/them.
Reread and reflect on what you have written. Note down your reflections in the present tense as they are happening and as they feel “in this moment” using statements like, “I want…/I feel…/ I think…/ I am….
Examine. Investigate as you go questioning the why and the how of each point. This involves using the phrase “I observe…” and identifying where you might be holding yourself back and where you are being successful.
Allow yourself a moment to center. Meditate or try a simple breathing activity to help ground you and take some of the emotional weight out of this learning experience. Allow and accept the thoughts to settle your mind.
Targets. The first goal and commitment is to set the amount of time you will write for. When you do your first entry, time yourself and how long it takes to reach a natural conclusion with the activity. Use that to determine how long you will write for each time you approach your journal. Use your observations and goals to develop small and manageable targets to achieve over three to five days. On every third/fifth day, visit your journal and repeat the method.
Exit. Read what you have written. Absorb it for a moment and then write a summary. Note down how you feel. There is also great power to be found in thanking yourself for making the time to learn, to grow, and to reflect. This is a key aspect of CREATE. When we take time to grow, we are doing ourselves a great service that deserves positive recognition and self praise.
Be sure you feel content and grounded before returning to your day if the content is heavy and affecting.
ULT will continue to release mindfulness and mental health maintenance activities for you to complete in your journal.