It’s probably quite safe to assume you’ve heard of the concept of journaling…It’s certainly not a new practice, but there has been a surge in popularity in the last few years, especially throughout the pandemic. This is because journaling is often used as a technique in therapy or as a practice to support mindfulness or meditation. One of the most important things to know about journaling is that there are no rules. Whether you treat it as a creative outlet, use it to help process complicated emotions or experiences, or simply to track and make a note of your day and what you’ve been doing, the style and frequency of how you journal is entirely up to you.
Sometimes it can be challenging to really feel and process our emotions, especially as reactions or responses to difficult situations. We spend a lot of time reacting without conscious attention to how we felt or why we felt the way we did. Journaling can be incredibly powerful in allowing you to work out how you’re feeling and to sort through complicated thoughts. It’s not just for difficult things though, journaling can help you become aware of all the positive things you feel as well, encouraging gratitude as you reflect.
Journaling is a perfect example of a very simple and actionable wellness practice that you could try to implement into your life. Like we said in the beginning, there are no rules. Perhaps you could journal using the Notes App on your phone, or a scrap piece of paper on your desk, or you could buy a fancy notebook and a nice pen to make it feel like a special ritual. It doesn’t matter if you journal everyday, once a week, or once a month, nor does it matter if you spend five minutes or two hours on it; no matter what, journaling will allow you – and force you – to stop, reflect, and spend some time sitting with your feelings. This isn’t always comfortable, but learning more about ourselves and working to understand how we feel and how we respond to different things in our lives is a beautiful form of self-care and a powerful coping and healing tool.
So, where do you start? Start by considering whether you are someone who could ‘free journal’ (that is, sit down with a blank page and just write whatever comes to mind…letting your thoughts flow and just seeing where the practice takes you – you may want to set a timer for this because the time can really get away from you!), or whether you think you would find it easier to get started with a prompt. You can find thousands of journal prompts online to help you get started.
A few examples of helpful prompts could include:
- What made you feel strong/happy today?
- What are three things that you’re grateful for today, and why?
- What is one goal you have for yourself (health, life, work, family) at the moment? And why is it important to you?
If nothing else, journaling can bring great catharsis after you put all the thoughts and feelings that you were storing in your mind out on paper.
You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Why not give it a shot!
Still not convinced? Check out some of the links below to find out more about the benefits of journaling!