Journaling is a simple yet powerful way to express yourself. It encourages you to connect with your thoughts and emotions, practice gratitude, and boost your self-awareness. By making time to write and reflect each day, you can learn more about yourself, your needs, and create positive changes in your life.
A few weeks ago, I came across American author, academic, and public speaker, Arthur C. Brooks on The Drew Barrymore Show and he introduced the idea of keeping a “failure and disappointment” journal. We’re all familiar with the conventional way of journaling, which is writing about the positive things, but have you heard about the unconventional way that includes writing about the negative ones in detail?
What is a “failure and disappointment” journal?
A “failure and disappointment” journal is dedicated to writing down the things that negatively impact your mood in detail. Whether it’s an experience you’ve had, a comment someone made, or if something didn’t go your way. It gives you a safe space to vent and to ask yourself, “How did this make me feel? Why does their opinion matter?”
Unhappiness will be part of your journey to happiness.arthur c. brooks.
When I first heard of this method I thought to myself, “Why would I want to write these things down and keep it around?” But it concept slowly started to make sense. The purpose of having a “failure and disappointment” journal is so you can come back to it sometime later and reveal what you’ve learned from those moments.
How it works
When something is troubling you, write down your feelings and set a reminder on your phone/calendar to come back to this page one month later. When it’s time, write down one thing you learned about yourself because of that experience. Afterwards, set another reminder for six months later, this time you’re going to write about a good thing that happened because of that experience.
Brooks shared this example while on The Drew Barrymore Show… You start a new job and your supervisor says you’re doing B- work. You write in your journal that you’re devastated because you thought you were doing better. When you come back to your entry in one month you say, “I thought I was going to be upset about that for a long time, but I learned that I was okay after 3 or 4 days.”
When you come back to your journal entry in 6 months you might say, “It turned out I wasn’t a match for that job, but a good thing that came out of it was it pushed me to find my current job which I’m really good at and loving.” Brooks says that this practice makes you excited to write in your journal because it shows your personal progress.
How it breaks the cycle
Our minds have a way of replaying negative experiences, but without a solution to stop this cycle, it ends up causing stress and this repetitive pattern continues as a habit. The next time something arises, rather than getting caught up on the thought that this feeling will never go away, it’ll remind you of your previous journal entries.
This practice trains your brain to take your time assessing the situation and find a solution, rather than dwelling on it and have these negative feelings stay with you or arise again in the future. By keeping a “failure and disappointment” journal, we’re able to approach these negative feelings from a place that encourages healthy habits and growth.
In conclusion, journaling in an unconventional way has many benefits. It’s an effective and visual way you can manage negative feelings, because each time you come back to this journal, you’ll have something positive to add to these experiences. If you liked this idea, check out Brooks’ latest book release with Opray Winfrey titled Build the Life You Want. What are your thoughts on Arthur Brooks’ idea of a “failure and disappointment” journal? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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