This journaling helps in the moment to provide some perspective on whatever I was just feeling, but the real secret sauce is in my mindful wrap-up at the end of the week. One-by-one, I read back through my journal entries from the past 5-7 days, and spend a few minutes, with my eyes closed, meditating on the emotion and its trigger. What was I feeling at the time? Can I put myself into that situation again and empathize with the Me from three or four days ago? Am I able to recognize the moment that emotion went away? If not, what was I doing instead?
This simple, short meditation really helps me zero in on the impermanence of emotions. I can track what I was feeling and then notice how it went away, and how I may have felt something drastically different hours later, maybe even while I was writing the journal entry!
The purpose of this exercise is not to make myself dizzy trying to recreate emotions — it's to emphasize how quickly things can change, recognize the various states I was in throughout the week, and see myself in a more self-possessed state of mind.
After I've read all my short entries and gone through the slate of emotions, I sit for a few more minutes, to exist in the spacious calm. I recognize that this state will not prevent new emotions, but it gives me the tools to be mindful through them, to remember to journal and take stock of how they're making me feel, moment by moment.