One of the more effective acts of self-care is also, happily, one of the cheapest – Journaling! Once the domain of teenage girls, it has become a hallmark of the wellbeing movement. And for good reason – for something so simple, it seems to provide almost infinite benefits.
Simply put, Journaling is a written record of our thoughts & feelings. There aren’t any rules, although for most journaling is a daily exercise. Journaling is a way to track everyday life, your thoughts, feelings, goals and ideas.
Lisann Valentin, a Shamanic life coach says “Journaling is mindfulness in motion, It shines a spotlight on the invaluable things in your life that you might not always recognize.”
The benefits of journaling are almost too many to mention, and they vary depending on your approach and needs. So here we’re going to focus on just a few of the widely recognised advantages and a few tips for starting and sustaining your journaling practice.
Six Great Reasons to Start Journaling:
- Journaling Reduces Stress
Stress can be damaging to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Writing down your feelings in a journal helps you to externalize your anxieties, frustrations and pains. This can help you to reduce and release accumulated stress. In fact, a study showed that expressive writing (like journaling) for only 15 to 20 minutes a day was enough to lower blood pressure.
- Journaling Keeps Memory Sharp
Journaling helps keep your memory in tip-top shape. Your brain will make stronger connections with information after you write it down, making it easier for you to recall in the future. Also, if you record your thoughts, you can easily return to your notes and be reminded of insights and goals that may have otherwise faded from your memory.
- Journaling Boosts Mood
Want more sunshine in your life? Try journaling. A unique social and behavioral outcome of journaling is this: it can improve your mood and give you a greater sense of overall emotional well-being and happiness.
- Journaling Helps you Set & Achieve Goals
A journal is a good place to write your goals, ambitions, aspirations and new year resolutions. By keeping them in a diary, you can monitor your progress and feel motivated to continue to focus on your next milestone.
- Journaling Inspires Creativity
Writing a journal is a great way to unleash your creativity. Everyone has the potential to be creative, most of us just haven’t discovered it yet. Your journal is the best place to start exploring your inner creativity. Write down anything that comes to your mind. Let your imaginations run wild and remember – no one ever has to see it!
- Journaling allows you to self-reflect
Journaling is a good way to help us to stop, take a step back and reflect on ourselves. You can self-reflect on gratitude, what you did today and how you felt. Daily reflection can also be done at night before bed. You can look back at your life in a journal and think about how you’ve changed and what you might do to improve yourself.
Tips for Getting Started:
You get it: Journaling is good for you — physically, mentally, and emotionally. But what if, like many of us, you find yourself stuck, staring at a blank page?
Try these tips to help you get started with journaling:
- Treat yourself to a nice journal. It can be lined, unlined, structured or blank. The important thing is that you like it – you will be spending time with it every day!
- To start, don’t be intimidated. Set yourself a goal of writing one sentence. That’s all it takes.
- Make it easy. Keep your journal handy at all times. Then when you want to write down your thoughts, you can.
- Try to write every day. Plan and set aside a few minutes every day to write – this will help you to stay consistent.
- Write or draw whatever feels right. Remember – a journal is your own private place to express your feelings. Let the words and ideas flow freely. For god’s sake don’t worry about spelling mistakes or grammar.
- Sometimes a prompt can be useful to get the words flowing. You can find loads online by googling “Journaling Prompts”. Here’s a few of our favourites to get you started:
- What are three things you’re grateful for today?
- What made today unique?
- How do you show people that you love them?
- What country would you like to visit for the first time?
- What magic power would you like to have?
So, as you get started or continue your own journaling journey, just remember: The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.
This article was written by Hannah Moritz and shared through our submissions portal. If you would like to submit your articles to us for consideration, please send to [email protected]. We welcome engaging, topical and inspiring content to help us elevate the voice of kiwi women.