How to Express Your Feelings in a Journal - Without Writing a Single Word

How to Express Your Feelings in a Journal - Without Writing a Single Word

Sometimes words fail us. Sometimes you’re feeling too overwhelmed you’re speechless. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start talking about our feelings.

And it’s okay. You don’t need words to journal– especially when you’re journaling about your feelings.

Is it good to journal your emotions?

Yes, it is absolutely good to journal your emotions. Journaling your emotions is one fantastic way to better understand yourself, to process new experiences, and to start the journey back to a peaceful state of mind.

Here are 3 tips to remember when journaling about your feelings.

  • Be brutally honest with yourself
  • It’s okay to be subjective
  • Keep the goal in mind

3 tips when journaling about your feelings

Be brutally honest with yourself

One of the best examples of someone who was brutally honest with himself was King David. He wrote many of the Psalms in the Bible. If you read through the book of Psalm you will find every emotion– anger, fear, despair, awe, hope, love, and joy (to name a few).

I have found no one as honest as David when it came to expressing his feelings. He didn’t even filter it out. When he ranted, he raved– knowing that his God was that kind of God whose love was so faithful and unfailing that He could bear David’s every musing.

It’s okay to be subjective

Do you ever catch yourself wanting to explain to yourself? Justify your actions? Seek some validation for what you’re feeling? Let’s stop right there.

King David was a mere shepherd boy who became King. He’s experienced danger, betrayal, opulence, success, downfall, and even falling in love.💓 It must have been a daily emotional rollercoaster ride. One thing I noticed though from his writings was that he was a whole lot subjective. When he was processing his feelings, he didn’t try to see it from the other party’s point of view. He felt his emotions and laid them before God.

When you journal, it is one of the best places to be subjective and not be judged by others. So don’t go about judging yourself either. Let yourself feel the emotion and just sit with it as you begin to journal.

Keep the goal in mind

But don’t stop at being subjective. If you really want to get the benefit of journaling when it comes to your feelings, keep the goal in mind.

What is the goal? The goal is transformation. Don’t let your feelings (especially the negative ones) get the best of you. Go from negative to positive feelings. Go from positive feelings to gratitude. Go from despair to hope. Go from anger to compassion. You get the idea.

The best lesson I’ve learned from King David is that he always circled back to positive feelings. Feelings such as hope, joy, and love. After you acknowledge your emotions, it is equally more important to NOT stop there but to go on to transform those emotions.

How do I journal about my feelings– without writing a single word?

The thing about writing is that you need to identify your emotion and then choose words to express it. It’s a long process from you feeling it and writing it. That’s one of the reasons we all struggle to describe them in our journal and probably why you’re reading this post.

My suggestion is to simply not use words. When I'm looking down on that empty blank journal page, I find it most helpful to journal using pictures that express emotions first. After I do so, I find the words flow easily and I can better process my emotions.

There are different ways to express your emotions through pictures.

You can draw or paint what you’re feeling.

Even a simple stickman drawing with a sad or happy face drawn helps you acknowledge what you’re feeling. If you’re not into drawing, you can also use colors to express your feelings with paint using watercolors. You don’t have to paint a face. You can simply randomly choose colors based on what you feel like and paint in your journal.

You can make a collage art of what you’re feeling.

Junk journaling and scrapbook journaling are just examples of how you can express your emotions without writing a single word. You can literally cut and paste from magazines or physical stickers and put them together as you like to express your state of mind.

You can use digital stickers.

My favorite method is journaling my feelings using digital stickers. I’ve been journaling since I found the power of words when our elementary teacher taught us how to write in composition notebooks back in the 1900’s. But in 2020 I got a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome that made writing difficult and painful. That’s when I realized how valuable digital stickers made for journaling are. With stickers that express a range of emotions, I could keep writing to a minimum and still be able to express my feelings in my journal. And do you know what I discovered? Journaling with stickers actually made my journal so much more readable. My journal was not just big blocks of texts but I could easily skim the pages and pick out which entries I wanted to re-read and re-learn lessons from.

Digital Stickers - to express your emotions

What am I feeling?

The first step to journaling your emotions is to identify it first. Don’t worry if you don’t have the words to identify it yet.

Identifying emotions - list of emotions using digital stickers

Watch the video below and see which basic emotion you are feeling. If it isn’t one of those below, try making one yourself. Download a free set of these kawaii girl digital stickers and print them out on paper or import them as digital stickers in an app such as GoodNotes. Then pick one and draw on it to get a feel of what you’re feeling.

You can also download the page below in What Am I Feeling? Top 9 Emotions Printable (PDF).

Journaling your emotions doesn’t have to be hard when you’re at a loss for words. Simply use pictures to start instead. When expressing your feelings, remember to be honest, subjective, and aim to transform your feelings. You can paint, collage, or use stickers to express your emotions. The first step is to identify which emotion you’re feeling first using images rather than words. After doing so words will easily follow (hopefully).

Take a look at these digital stickers that were designed especially to help you express your feelings in your journal.

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