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Two-Handed Journaling : Practicing Radical Acceptance and Self-Compassion

Two-Handed Journaling : Practicing Radical Acceptance and Self-Compassion

Two-Handed Journaling is an effective tool for practicing both radical acceptance and self-compassion in the same exercise.



White non-lined paper

Pens, pencils, markers, etc

Timer – I recommend the one on your phone.


Step 1:

Determine the “trailhead” you would like to explore with this exercise. It could be a recently triggering experience, a relationship, an ongoing challenge, etc.


Step 2:

Set your timer for 10 minutes.


Step 3:

Using your NON-DOMINANT hand, spend 10 minutes letting whatever is coming up inside you be expressed on your sheet of paper. This if often words, images, emotions, etc.


If you would like you can draw a line down the center of the paper or you can use a separate sheet of paper for each hand.


Most of us will have an inner critic that will want to monitor your experience stating things like “you can’t feel this way, you write horribly with your other hand, what would other people think if they knew you felt this way, this is stupid, etc, etc, etc. “ You get the picture. Do your best to not censor whatever is coming up and just let it flow for 10 minutes.


Step 4:

Once the timer goes off, take a 10 minute break.  Get up and go do something else. Get some water, listen to a song, do a load of laundry, etc. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get up from where you are at for a moment before you return for the second part.


Step 5:

Returning back to your spot, reset your timer for 10 minutes.


Step 6:

For the remaining 10 minutes with your DOMINANT hand, speak to the images, words, emotions that came up in the first 10 minutes like you would someone you love. For example, if you wrote you feel fear most often our response to OUR OWN fear is to avoid it, judge it, etc. However, when dealing with someone you love and THEIR fear you would likely be compassionate, encouraging, connected, etc.

This is the part where you are practicing self-compassion. If you can’t quite speak those compassionate, connected words to yourself just yet you can always pretend you are speaking to someone you love and practice using your dominant hand to write to them. Of course you will not send this to them, but you can pretend until you can work towards writing those words to yourself.


Step 7:

Give yourself a high five and enjoy the rest of your day.