PRACTICAL TIPS FOR JOURNALING AND WHY YOU SHOULD START
THE BENEFITS OF JOURNALING HAVE BEEN TOUTED THE WORLD OVER. AS A WRITER AND EDITOR, JOURNALING TENDS TO COME EASILY TO ME, BUT IT’S NOT TRUE FOR EVERYONE
→ By Amy Hopkins, Wellness Brand & Marketing Editor and Writer
The act of sitting with a blank page and a pen and putting word to paper seems almost archaic. We’re so used to apps for to-do lists and tapping away on keyboards to note anything down. Below, I’ve put together some practical tips for journaling – and I do encourage pen and paper because we all need a break from our screens!
Why You Should Start Journaling
Journaling can come in many forms. Sometimes, it’s a way to note down ideas or keep track of thoughts. Sometimes it’s more in the dear-diary format: a way to record, reflect and process experiences. It can also be a way to help set goals or intentions for the week, month, the year ahead. But one of the main benefits I’d like to focus on is how it helps to relieve stress.
The act of writing down your feelings and thoughts helps you to literally “dump” your frustrations, pains, anxieties, stressors down on paper. You can even throw it away afterward (no need to keep it!). But you will feel a sense of release once you’ve worked it out and write it down.
This act can also sometimes provide us with clarity when we have a lot going on. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research conducted on chronically ill patients found that those who journaled regularly experienced fewer physical symptoms than those who did not. So the act of journaling helps you feel physically better too!
Practical Tips For Journaling
So, how do you start?
If you’re not following a program with guided journaling or using a book that prompts you, simply try free-association writing first. This is writing down whatever comes into your head in a stream of consciousness. Don’t think about it, just begin by writing down what comes into your head and keep going. Get used to this act of writing down what’s in your head.
There is no right time to journal that suits everyone, so you need to find out what works for you in order to make it a consistent habit. Some like doing it in the morning before they start their day. Others like to sit at night and journal, reflecting on the day, before sleeping.
If you’re struggling to find a topic to begin writing about or you’re having some kind of “writer’s block”, start with gratitude journaling. Write down a list of things you are grateful for in the present moment.
Write for your eyes only – not with the expectation of anyone else reading your “work”. This is your privacy and your process.
Keep a journal / small notebook in your bag so that you can write down thoughts as you need to.
Make it a ritual. Light a candle or some incense. Rub some essential oils onto your temples, like lavender, to help you relax. Take a few moments to focus on your breath and then begin writing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, click here for five ways to instantly help create calm.
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