The Benefits of Journaling & How To Get Started
Journaling improves mood, reduces stress, encourages self-awareness, improves memory, and reduces avoidance symptoms after traumatic experiences – just to name a few benefits. In addition, it allows you to witness and measure your growth and progress.
Individuals struggling with dyslexia and dysgraphia can gain writing practice and observe their growth by keeping a daily journal. Spending as little time as 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in the long run.
Regardless of other intended results, keeping a journal positively influences overall health and wellness. I often encourage individuals to add it to their routine, but I know forming a new, positive habit can be difficult. Here are a few suggestions to help you begin your journaling journey.
1. Cultivate the right attitude.
Think of journaling as a privilege. Regard the minutes as time that is designated for thought, reflection and introspection. There is nothing else in the world that you need to be doing.
Think of journaling as essential. The mind needs time to process information and experiences. This helps us become proactive, rather than reactive to life.
2. Choose a journaling topic or prompt.
If writing off the cuff is a challenge, select a theme. This is also a useful strategy for parents and teachers trying to encourage kids to keep a journal. As an example, for one week, write about the things you are grateful for. Comb through the events of the day to find the positive.
Here are a few more ideas:
-Describe your surroundings
-Document your progress in achieving a goal
-Write a letter to your past or future self
-Use a quote for inspiration
-Get a journal with daily prompts built in
3. Create a suitable writing environment.
One way this can be done is by setting aside distractions. As difficult as it may be, put the cell phone on silent and turn the TV off. You may even have to communicate with family members or housemates that you will be unavailable for a time.
In addition, you may want to select or create a space that supports focus. This will vary from person to person. Some find that journaling in bed results in a nap. While others must achieve maximum comfort before they can focus on writing. Find an environment that works best for you.
I created my own cozy nook with a comfy chair and low-light lamp. The space is perfect for me to think and relax.
4. Choose your medium.
So far, this blog has focused on writing as the sole means of journaling. However, many find that photography, drawing and other artistic outlets serve them better. Choose a medium that suits you and that allows you to naturally express yourself. And remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
Once you’ve found a process that you enjoy, work towards creating a routine. The above suggestions can help you in that regard.
Whether you hope to cope with PTSD, overcome anxiety, or just help your overall sense of well-being, journaling can be immensely beneficial.