Journaling

I have always loved to write although I haven’t always had a consistent practice, it has been one I have revisited many times over the years, from poetry and creative writing to journalling. Perhaps this is a revisiting for yourself, or you may be starting something new. Fall and winter is a great time to establish a journaling practice as it’s a time of introspection and going within. Journaling can help us with coping. When we feel isolated, we can journal and get connected with ourselves and what we choose to write about. A journal is also a beautiful historic document that you can look back on in years to come. 

Who? 

Anyone can benefit from journaling at any age. A journal can be a beautiful gift to give others as well as ourselves. Children and teens can use journals, as never too young to establish this beautiful and beneficial practice. Hand written, typed or audio recorded, the individual can establish a practice that is a best fit for them. The popularity of journaling has been growing and the more people who practice and promote this wonderful self care practice, the better. 

Why? 

Journaling has been around for a long time however it has only been studied over the last 30 years. There is no shortage of research as to the health benefits of journaling. Such as stress reduction, improvement of memory, increased mindfulness and improved mood. Journaling can help us to stop ruminating and worrying about a particular event, it can help us feel gratitude and manifest positive experiences we would like to have. Putting pen to paper is a mighty tool in your personal health and healing tool box and one that is easy to access. 

How? 

All you need to get started is a pen and paper. You can get fancy or keep it simple, there are no shortage of beautiful journals out there and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. I recommend journaling with pen and paper as it feels more connected and research does support this instead of writing on a computer, however at the end of the day it is whatever feels comfortable and helpful in getting your practice established. A place to journal is also nice to help with the routine. 

When? 

Although a regular practice is ideal you do not need to write daily and even taking a minute to jot a word or two is of benefit. It is recommended that you aim to write at least 4 days a week for the full benefits to be had. Practice as a ritual with a cup of tea, a favorite chair or blanket or at your favorite coffee shop. Morning Words or Bedtime Gratitude Journal, you may even choose to have a few journals on the go for various types of journaling like a nature journal and a manifestation journal. 

Where? 

Don’t be afraid to go there. Let the emotions flow. When writing expressively about our life and experiences it can feel very emotional at times. Allow yourself to feel, you may cry or want to rip up pages, it is all good. Your feeling and releasing and connecting with yourself in a way that perhaps is difficult for you to do in other settings. We can resist the practice because of the emotions it can elicit but remember that feeling is healing. 

Practice: 

Starting with gratitude journaling is simple and you can feel the benefits to your mood instantly. Remember it is not about editing your work it is about letting your writing “Be”, be present, this is for you and for a “grade”. Some like to pause and reflect, some like to write continuously, you may also want to doodle or draw in addition to your writing, it’s all good. Below is a writing activity to get you started. Journal prompts can be helpful in providing direction and support of your expressive writing. Give yourself permission to take the time you need. 

Gratitude Journal Activity: 

  • Write one word for what you would like to experience from journaling. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend? 
  • Where is your favorite place to go? 
  • What is the best gift you have ever received? 
  • Who do you like to spend time with? 

Using all your Senses (5) write down 5 things that bring you joy in your immediate environment. 

Breathe and be specific, use descriptive words that make you feel what you’re writing about. 

Finally write about an experience that you are deeply grateful for. Really explore and reflect as you write, doodle, pause, cry, release, and write…return to the writing if and when you need to. This is your process, there is no right or wrong. 

Thank yourself for this time. I hope you feel inspired to start a journaling practice for yourself. Remember that small practices can often have the biggest impact on our lives and well being.