Did you know that journaling is a good method for improving your mental health? Something as simple as writing down your thoughts, emotions, and experiences can have huge benefits for your well-being. The benefits of journaling are numerous:
- Express yourself
- Track the patterns of your behavior
- Get a different perspective on situations
- Overcome your fears
- Manage your anxiety
- Reduce stress
If you are ready to test the theory about the healing powers of journaling, you are in the right place. The following guidelines will help you start your journaling journey.
Don’t Overthink It
The main purpose of a journal is to be your safe place for expressing what’s going on in your mind. There is no need to think about what you should and shouldn’t write. Unless you truly want to share with someone your journal inputs, you’ll be the only person to ever read it.
There is no specific number of pages you need to write or a style you should use. When it comes to journaling there are no rules. That’s the best part of it. The only rule that exists is to be yourself and write whatever comes to your mind.
Pick a Notebook You Like
This may seem silly, but a notebook that represents you and what you like will be more inviting. You’ll feel more motivated to start journaling (and stick to it) if you have a nice notebook that you purchased just for that purpose.
It’s better to use a notebook than a computer or a cell phone. The reason why is that it separates you from devices that you typically use for business, fun, texting, etc. With a notebook, there will be no direct distractions.
Also, writing in a notebook just has a different feel to it. Like you have transferred in a different dimension and there is just you, the pen, and the paper.
In order for journaling to have a positive effect on you, you have to practice it consistently. The more you write, the better you’ll feel. Think of it as a cleansing method. Remove the thoughts from your mind and transfer it onto paper.
It is recommended that you do it at least once a day. At first, I was struggling to write regularly since something always came up and distracted me. That’s why I decided to write in the morning. This gives me a clean slate to start my day.
Writing in the morning or the evening before you get to bed is the best time. Mostly because that’s when there is the least chance that someone will disrupt you. However, you can write whenever you feel like it, as long as you do it daily.
Date Your Entries
Keeping track of your progress and saving your memories will be a lot easier if you date your journal inputs. Simply add a date in the top corner of your journal before you start writing.
With time, you’ll realize how empowering it feels to look back at an entry you made a year ago and notice the difference. Reflect on your past experiences, tough and happy moments, and compare it to how different you feel now. The insightfulness that comes from it is incredible.
I always date my journal entries. That’s one of the most important parts of it for me. It helps me to pinpoint when something happened and how much I have developed since then.
Write Through the Tough Times
Do you feel stressed about something? Is there a dilemma in your mind? Are you disappointed? Or angry? Instead of lashing out or letting your anxiety get the best of you, turn to your new faithful confidant – the journal.
What makes the journal the best place for expressing your negative emotions is that you don’t have to think about conflict or judgment. There is no one there to offend or hurt. You can write everything that is troubling your heart and mind without any risk.
You’ll notice how expressing your worries on paper helps you feel better. Rather than bottling up your emotions set them free in your journal.
Add Your Own Twist to It
The beauty of journaling is that there is no norm. You can make it whatever you want it to be. Don’t think that it needs to be filled with written text. Feel free to add pictures to it, draw, or express your creativity. In those moments when you take your journal, you can write or be whatever you want.
For example, you can write fictional stories that you have stuck in your mind. Or, you can write letters to people. Share everything you wanted to tell someone, but you never had a chance or courage.
Write songs, scripts, descriptive stories. Sketch, paint, or add stickers. Include whatever represents your emotions and your mindset.
Keep It in a Safe Place
Journaling is something very personal and you don’t want anyone to get their hands on it. People might not have the intention to read your journal but if you leave it out in the open, it can happen. You won’t have to worry about that if you store it in a safe place.
Even if you live alone, you should put it in a drawer or underneath your bed. Just in case if someone drops by uninvited. There is always someplace where no one will look and that should be the home of your journal. However, you do want to keep it somewhere nearby so that you can add a new entry whenever you have the need.
The power of journaling is being more and more recognized. Psychologists all around the world suggest journaling as a path to improved mental health. That’s why it is worthy of your time. Don’t be afraid to give it a chance. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.