Coping with stress can be difficult, but journaling may help. Journaling can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, you can use your journal to help you improve your habits and behaviours. Journaling is a practice that has been around for centuries, but it has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity due to its many benefits
Starting a journaling habit
- Decide if you want to keep a paper journal or a digital journal.
- Pick a convenient time to write every day and challenge yourself to write whatever comes to your mind for 20 minutes.
- Typically, writing by hand helps you process your thoughts better. A paper journal will make it easier to get creative with your entries if you’re interested in incorporating art into your journal.
What to journal about?
- Taking a few moments at the start or end of your day to write things down by hand can be freeing for your thoughts and emotions.
- Whether you use it as a tool to figure out what’s causing the stress or as a place to unburden your mind and your spirit, a journal is a powerful tool. Some people jot down whatever is in their minds; other people use a topic or prompt.
- When it comes to emptying out your worries and your emotions, the random approach may work best. Whereas if you want to progress through something, such as self-care, prompts may be more helpful.
Below are some amazing journaling benefits if practiced regularly:
- Reduces Stress. An overabundance of stress can be damaging to your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s proven. Journaling is an incredible stress management tool, a good-for-you habit that lessens the impact of physical stressors on your health.
- Improves Immune Function. Believe it or not, expressive writing can strengthen your immunity and decrease your risk of illness. Those who journal boast improved immune system functioning (it strengthens immune cells!) as well as lessened symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Expressive writing has been shown to improve liver and lung function and combat certain diseases; it has even been reported to help the wounded heal faster.
- Keeps Memory Sharp. Journaling helps keep your brain in tip-top shape. Not only does it boost memory and comprehension, it also increases working memory capacity, which may reflect improved cognitive processing.
- Boosts Mood. Want more sunshine in your life? Try journaling. A unique social and behavioural outcome of journaling is this: it can improve your mood and give you a greater sense of overall emotional well-being and happiness.
- Strengthens Emotional Functions. Related to mood is how journaling benefits overall emotional health. It provides a greater sense of confidence and self-identity. Journaling can help in the management of personal adversity and change, and emphasize important patterns and growth in life. Moreover, journaling unlocks and engages right-brained creativity, giving you access to your full brainpower. Truly, journaling fosters growth.
Key reminders for your journaling:
- Write when you can or need to.
- Some people like to journal every day. Others journal when they are having an especially hard time working through their feelings.
- Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.
- Your journal is for you, so it doesn’t matter if you use proper sentences or spell words correctly. Let your thoughts flow freely without any self-editing.
- Make your journal a judgment-free zone.
- Give yourself permission to write whatever you’re feeling without policing your thoughts. Don’t attach negative emotions like guilt or embarrassment to what you write.
- Track your moods every day to help you identify your triggers.
- Recording your mood in your journal entries helps you recognize patterns that may lead you to your triggers. Write down how you felt during the day either before or after your journal entry.
You get it: Journaling is good for you — physically, mentally, and emotionally. But what if, like many of us, you find yourself stuck, staring fruitlessly at a blank page? Well first, ditch the guilt of not being consistent or instantly motivated. Simply start where you are.
Love and light