Journaling is a common practice that most of us have attempted at some point in our lives. Also referred to as diaries, journals have existed for a very long time and have been used by all types of people ranging from scientists and stay-at-home moms to presidents. One of the most renowned people to ever keep a diary was Ronald Reagan, the 40th United States’ president. It is recommended to make daily journal entries to reap the benefits of journaling. In this article, we will explore the benefits of journaling and explain how to start the practice.
What is Journaling?
Journaling refers to the process of recording your feelings, ideas and thoughts in a journal. It allows us to vent our emotions and self-reflect in a non-judgmental setting. One of the main advantages of journaling is that our records are available for later review. This is especially important when we want to revisit our ideas and explore why certain situations affect us. Ultimately, journals are our internal reflection as they provide insight into who we are.
Why is Journaling Good For You?
There are numerous reasons why journaling is good for you. Foremost, journaling helps you manage your feelings in an intimate setting. When we experience traumatic or unexpected events, our emotions might be heightened, and we require an outlet for these emotions, preferably in a private environment, an outlet that journaling provides. Likewise, journaling enables us to control our mood and symptoms. It also helps stop procastination. We can prioritise our fears and concerns by writing down what affects us and how it affects us. We can choose how to better react to situations in a future setting by recognising how these situations affect us. In essence, journaling makes us better prepared to face life’s challenges.
What are 4 types of Journaling?
There are various types of journaling depending on the frequency of journaling, mode of journaling, and personal preference, among other factors. These journals serve different purposes in our lives. Here, we will review four journaling types: daily journaling, visual journaling, reflective journaling, and art journaling, to discover what makes them unique.
Reflective journaling allows us to record our experiences and our interpretation of those experiences. In reflective journals, we write about our thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences. Furthermore, reflective journaling helps us examine our personal or professional growth. Learning instructors typically advise their students to keep reflective journals to recount their learning experiences and record their thoughts about the learning experiences.
The most common type of journaling, daily journaling, allows us to record day-by-day accounts of our lives. Daily journaling provides an outlet for our emotions, thoughts, ideas and feelings at the end of each day. Moreover, due to the daily frequency of journaling, keeping a daily journal is easier to remember and can be adopted as part of our daily routine. All types of journaling can be categorised as daily journaling if they occur daily.
Visual journaling contrasts with traditional journaling as it is filled with diverse entries in addition to written entries. In visual journaling, the entries are eye-catching, creative, and per the author’s preferences. For example, we can have art, magazine cutouts, photographs, scribbles, and handwritten notes as part of visual journals. Sometimes, visual journaling is used synonymously with art journaling.
This is the perfect option for creative and artistic individuals. Art journaling provides a creative outlet for people to record their feelings, ideas and emotions. Usually filled with colourful images, materials and patterns, art journals are interesting to look at compared to traditional written journals. However, art journals can also contain written words, whose quantity is a matter of personal preference.
What Are The Benefits Of Journaling
Journaling is a simple practice that has numerous benefits. It not only promotes spiritual wellness but also improves our mental health. Journalism exposes the good and bad aspects of our lives and teaches us to appreciate what we have that might not always be visible. The benefits of journaling are plentiful and far-reaching; however, we will only look at the significant benefits.
Improves Immune Function
Journaling can help us recover from illnesses and boost the immunity of people suffering from underlying health conditions. Emotional stress causes our bodies to secrete stress hormones which limit the effectiveness of the immunity system. Journaling provides an outlet for emotional stress, and without stress hormones, the immunity system functions effectively.
Keeps Memory Sharp
When we keep journals, we record our experiences and feelings about those experiences. These entries are available for later review; therefore, we can revisit our experiences by simply reading our journal entries. Moreover, by writing down something, our ability to remember what we wrote down is more extraordinary. Therefore, regular journaling improves our memory, similar to students taking down lecture notes.
Journaling helps us discover our strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, we can work on our weaknesses and capitalise on our strengths which will boost our self-confidence. Moreover, you can begin your journal entries with positive words of affirmation. We often manifest what we believe; therefore, our belief in ourselves increases by writing down our positive aspects, which ultimately contributes to building self-confidence.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can occur when we are faced with unwanted situations. Often, stress and anxiety creep up without us knowing and influence our everyday behaviour. Journaling provides us with an outlet for stress and anxiety. By recording experiences and situations that stress us, we can better process these situations in a safe area, free of judgment and outside interruption. Essentially, journaling enables us to organise our thoughts and clear our minds, factors which improve problem-solving and allow us to gain a new perspective on our potential stressors. In doing this, journaling helps us alleviate stress and anxiety in our lives.
Journaling is a tremendous mood-boosting activity. It allows us to prioritise our feelings, desires, concerns and thoughts, enabling us to focus on what’s important. In this way, we can focus on the positive side of our experiences and not on the negative aspects. When we learn to be appreciative instead of critical, we become happier, and our mood brightens.
Strengthens Emotional Functions
Humans are highly emotional beings. Our emotions are used to gauge what we are feeling at that particular moment. Most people dislike openly displaying their emotions, and journaling provides the best alternative. When we write down our emotions and the reasons behind them, we can process our emotions better. This improves our emotional functions enabling us to be calm even when facing challenging situations.
Journaling regularly a few hours before bedtime can improve your sleep quality. This practice allows us to vent our daily frustration, reducing stress. Additionally, we can recount at least one positive experience that we’ve had during the day to boost our mood before bed. Experts have proven that less stress and a positive mood are critical to better sleep. Furthermore, by adopting journaling into our night routine, we can achieve a regular sleep schedule, ultimately translating into more extended and better sleep.
Journaling can be used as a tool for achieving our goals. Foremost, we must set goals and write them down in our journals. Next, we can keep track of our daily progress and growth in achieving the set goals by journaling regularly. This will enable us to determine whether we are on the right track. Moreover, writing down areas of improvement can help with the attainment of our set goals.
Art journaling provides us with a medium to record our ideas and thoughts in creative ways. For creative individuals such as musicians and artists, journaling provides a creative outlet where constraints of the external world that stifle creativity are non-existent. Through journaling, we can freely express our ideas which boosts our creativity.
Helps Your Mental Health
Mental health illnesses can range from anxiety to depression. Journaling is recommended as a way to improve our mental health as it helps alleviate stress. Moreover, journaling focuses and calms our mind, thus allowing us to concentrate on essential matters. This is especially important for those wanting to reduce depression naturally as it provides them with a sense of purpose which they often lack. Moreover, the regularity of journaling creates a daily routine that is important in improving our mental health.
How To Journal
Learning about the correct way to journal can make the difference between journaling being beneficial to you or not. You can adapt the methods listed below to begin your journaling experience.
Create a Quite Space & Time
The best journaling occurs in solitude, away from life’s distractions. Finding a quiet place where your journaling session will be uninterrupted will enable you to record your honest thoughts and ideas. The time to journal is dependent on personal preference. However, most people prefer to journal either early in the morning or late at night before sleeping. Find what works for you and abide by it.
Quite Your Mind (Meditate)
Meditation involves conducting breathing exercises and focusing your mind. This is the best time to reflect on your experiences and discover your feelings about those experiences. Practising meditation before journaling will clear your mind and help organise your thoughts.
Acquire Journaling Supplies
Preparation is key to the success of any activity. Similarly, it would be best to acquire the correct supplies: a journal and pens before journaling. With these supplies available, you can now embark on journaling to benefit from its advantages.
Start Writing Daily
Journaling is most effective when it occurs on a day-to-day basis. This is because we face various challenges and have diverse daily experiences that impact our lives. Therefore, these experiences and our thoughts about these experiences need to be recorded when they are fresh in our minds. Furthermore, journaling is a way to alleviate stress, which we go through daily. By practising daily journaling, we get to cope with stress and our emotions as soon as they occur, which bodes well for our mental health.
Helpful Journaling Tips For Beginners
To begin journaling, you need all the help you can get to make the activity work for you. Below, we have listed some helpful journaling tips for self-improvement and mental health that we hope will help you to incorporate journaling into your daily routine. These are:
Keep It Positive
There are times when journalling will include something negative. But alway look for a positive in the situation and write about the benefit you get from the negative. This will help you with writing positive affirmations.
Discover what mode of journaling works for you and stick with it. If you’re comfortable handwriting your entries or sketching to express your ideas, do that.
Write Quickly And Continuously
Don’t give yourself time to think when you begin writing. Once you pick up the pen, don’t stop until you have expressed your emotions and feelings.
Journal about everything and anything that crosses your mind. There are no rules concerning what type of journal entries you should make. Therefore, don’t impose any unnecessary boundaries on journaling. Use your journal in whichever way you want.