My friend Karen held a prize draw for members of her journaling group and I was one of the lucky winners!
My prize is a lovely black journal and pink glittery pen, I love them, thank you Karen.
I have used journaling for many years, as a way to process my thoughts and feelings and as a stress management tool and I recommended it as tool for my clients too.
These days I have an app on my phone, modern technology lol but I also love to use good old fashioned paper and pen. In fact I have that many journals and notebooks that I’ve run out of room for them on my shelf lol.
Journaling is the practice of keeping a journal or diary that explores your thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your day, month, year or life in general.
Journaling is a good problem solving tool as solutions seem to present themselves more easily on paper but it is especially helpful when used to put down on paper thoughts and feeling about traumatic events because it helps the writer to process them, enabling them to fully explore and release the emotions involved. It does this by engaging both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing the experience to become fully integrated within the mind.
Journaling also help you to focus on areas of your life where you need to up your game and pay more attention to. For example I use journaling for gratitude.
There is plenty of research into its benefits for overall health and well-being including:
- reducing symptoms of chronic illness such as asthma and arthritis
- improving cognitive functioning
- strengthening the immune system response
- counteracting the negative effects of stress
Take a look at these 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress over at positivepsychology.com
Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Self Care Routine
The way to ensure that it works for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future (sort of) to get answers in your life. But first, you have to do it and you need to do it daily to make it a habit. Let’s take a look at a few tips for making journaling part of your daily self care routine.
- Make It Easy – Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.
- Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.
- Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.
- Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your back hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others their bed.
- Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.
- Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words and that is relaxing, to help you gather your thoughts and say calm and focused.
- Use a Particular Type of Journal – For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, and more, works better since it defines some rules for entry.
- Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you want to use.
- Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some coloured pens or some scrapbooking materials so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.
To truly experience its benefits, it needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.
So grab a journal or notebook and a pen and get writing, or even doodling, you will feel so much better for doing so.
Don’t forget every Sunday I share a Self Care Sunday Idea to help you stay on track in terms of your own self care.
Have a wonderful day, much love Joanne 💚
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.