Remember back in the day when for some of us, writing our thoughts and feelings down in a personal diary was a normal part of our daily life. It wasn’t unusual to spend time each day jotting down our inner most personal experiences and then keep them hidden under lock and key, away from our parents or other family members roaming eyes. Well journalling today is really not that much different.
Journalling has a lot of positive benefits, a way to get those thoughts down on paper and a helpful tool that I often recommend for my clients to manage and improve their mental health and wellbeing. Journalling can improve self-awareness and self-reflection and is a great way to process internal behaviours and experiences, as well as tune in to those inner most thoughts and feelings. It’s a process that allows you to gain clarity and understanding around overwhelming emotions, assists in setting manageable goals, can validate your experiences and create a deeper understanding of self-discovery.
Journalling can be helpful to:
- Reduce stress and improve the mood
- Manage anxiety and cope with depression
- Help with weight and exercise management
- Provide a space to relax and unwind
- Present ways to identify negative thoughts and behaviours through positive self-talk, self-awareness and self-reflection
- Identify unhelpful triggers and behaviours and learn ways to better control them
- Validate experiences and brainstorm ideas
- Improve sleep and mental health well-being
- Set goals and help to break them down into manageable steps
- Improve self-confidence
- Use as a daily planner
Journalling can also assist in helping to slow down the mind process, allowing you to take a step back and reflect on everyday life situations. It helps you to generate positive change, creates opportunity for brainstorming ideas and allows reflection time to observe what works and where improvements can assist. It can also be a good healing tool, allowing you to validate your experiences and reducing the turmoil of otherwise struggling with those thoughts over and over in your mind and as a result, experience sleep disturbance.
Journalling has been known to help reduce stress and anxiety and alleviate depressive moods. It’s not uncommon to fill the mind with so many thoughts that it becomes overwhelming and as a result, can leave you feeling stressed, tired and unable to manage some of life’s challenges.
How do you journal?
- Set aside some time every day, I find evenings are a good time to journal, at the end of a busy day and before retiring for the evening. Choose a time that suits you and try to stay with that same time every day, no matter how busy you get. The more you practice journalling, the better you get at being creative with your writing and clearing the mind.
- Have a pen and pad at your finger tips, I find having them by the bed is always good as bedtime can be where a lot of people do their serious thinking, this way you can write down your thoughts as they surface and put them aside before you sleep.
- There are no rules to journalling. Write down what feels right for you, more than likely you will be the only one reading it. Note down what comes up in your mind; don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation. This is your private space to discuss whatever comes to mind.
Remember, keeping a journal helps to create self-discipline, good self-reflection and self-awareness skills and can assist in helping to unravel all of the chaos that can sometimes clog up the mind. Find a place that you’re comfortable with and make journalling part of your day, your personal relaxation time to de-stress and unwind, where you’re doing something kind for your body and your mind.