Remember the days as a teen where you’d dramatically throw yourself on your bed to pour your heart out to your trusty diary? Bonus points if you had one of those fluffy pens. Chances are you’ve fallen out of the habit of writing down your thoughts in a dedicated space, but it’s about time to pick up your pen again.
Journaling is all the rage, and we totally get why. It’s one of the cheapest acts of self-care, as journaling comes with some fantastic benefits. If you’d like to pick up this healthy habit but aren’t sure where to start, then keep on reading.
The benefits of journaling
Journaling is a simple act of self-care that comes with a long list of benefits. Who knew keeping your mental health in check is just a few scribbles a day away?
Jotting down your thoughts, feelings, or insights can in fact help you reduce anxious feelings, keep your emotions regulated, and speed up physical healing. Now you might think, wait a minute, how does that work? Well, if you think about it, it actually makes sense.
By consistently writing down your thoughts, you can organize the chaos in your head. It helps you prioritize problems or fears you may have. In return, this will help you gain awareness of yourself. Additionally, it helps with recognizing specific triggers you may have. Since you’re writing regularly, it’s easier to spot reoccurring thoughts or events that negatively impact your life. Lastly, writing it all down allows you to reflect and let go of things that no longer serve you.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou.
If reading those benefits sparked your inner writer to get to it, let’s talk techniques. The best thing about journaling is that there is no right or wrong. As long as you manage to get some consistency, you do you.
First things first, you need to think about where you’ll actually write. You can jot down a bunch of words in an old notebook you have lying around, or you can go all out treating yourself to some real-deal journaling products. Our favorite website for a journaling shopping spree is The Journal Shop.
Like to keep things digital? Not a problem. There are countless apps available that offer you a space to write what is on your mind. Penzu and Momento, for example. If you want to keep your thoughts all to yourself, Penzu offers military strength to keep your secrets. Momento is great if you want to add your social posts to your diary.
How do I get started with journaling?
The key to a consistent journaling practice is making it work for you. Sure, you can get set your alarm at 5AM tomorrow morning and intend to write for an hour straight. But does that really sound like something you can make a habit out of? If so, then great, do it! But if you’re not a morning person, maybe give it a second thought.
Here are some easy steps to create your personal journaling habit:
- Find the right time
- Get comfortable
- Pick a platform
- Express yourself
- Be concise
1 . Maybe that’s your commute on public transport or the time in between diner and lights-out. Where do you have some space to fit in a new habit? See where you can swap mindless scrolling for a bit of self-care. Also, know that you don’t have to journal every day if that feels too much. If you only manage to keep up a weekly practice, by all means, create a weekly habit out of it rather than a daily one.
2. This may not be something that you think of straight away, but bear in mind you’re about to pour your heart out. Things will go a lot smoother when you feel comfortable when doing so. Opening up your journal in a café packed with curious people giving you the side-eye may feel slightly awkward. Treat yourself to an unrushed experience and allow yourself to calmly gather your thoughts.
3. Your journal can be an old-school paper notebook, an app on your phone, or anything in between. The choice is all yours. So pick your favorite, and let’s get to it!
4. Now, who said journaling has to be written words? Remember that it’s your journal, so you get to decide how to express your thoughts. Maybe you’re much better at transforming your thoughts into doodles. Or perhaps you’d like to go all out and turn your journal into a scrapbook. Who’s stopping you?
Great! By now, you have your first journal entry eternalized. To reap the benefits we talked about earlier, it’s essential to stick with it. When you consistently write down your thoughts and feelings, you’ll create self-awareness and mental clarity.
If you’re still feeling a bit unsure about what to put on paper, that’s okay. It takes practice, but remember that your journal doesn’t ever have to be perfect. To kickstart your new journal habit, here is some inspiration:
- Ask yourself what you’re grateful for today.
- Make a to-do list for the day (or week) that’s ahead of you.
- Write down an affirmation.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down everything that is on your mind.
- Brainstorm on a project or problem that is stuck in your head.
- Write down a positive thing that happened today.
In conclusion, journaling is a super accessible tool to boost your mental health. We hope this post made you excited about the benefits of journaling. Good luck with your first entry!