If you are like most moms then I bet you write more than you like. Between grocery list, bills, signing homework, and not to mention things you write at work I mean who would even think about keeping a journal. But putting a pen to a journal is a great tool and I bet you were not even aware of the many benefits of writing a journal.
What is Journaling?
By definition, journaling is a personal record of your personal experiences, ideas, and reflections that are kept in a private diary.
But in practice journaling is whatever you want it to be. It can be a detailed record of your feelings for therapeutic purposes or it can be a way to record your life events for your children. Whatever your reason for picking up a pen, journaling can provide many benefits both practical and physical.
What are the Benefits of Writing a Journal?
Journaling serves as an escape and is a great way to get a type of clarity of your thoughts and feelings. Children are taught one way of journaling in school when teachers ask them to write a few sentences on how they feel. A therapist uses journaling as a tool to help to solve problems and encourage their patients to do the same. When you journal about traumatic events in your life you are able to release the emotions you feel behind that event onto paper which can help you manage the symptoms caused by the event.
Journaling has been used for centuries as a way to keep records and details of events because remember we once didn’t have cameras and how do you think we got such great details about those who lived before us (ie. Abraham Lincoln) in our history books.
Here are some of the benefits journaling can provide for your mind, body, and practice.
- It improves cognitive function
- It can help with your self-esteem
- It is great for helping you deal with the effects of stress
- It can help you process and communicate complex ideas
- It can help you build better habits
- It decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
- It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
Journaling Tips to Try
Journaling is a great tool for managing your stress and there are many different ways you can approach this. It is most effective when you give it about 20 minutes per day and the great thing is you don’t have to worry about spelling or punctuation. If you aren’t new to journaling then you should pick up that pen, but if you need a few ideas here are some different strategies you can try.
Gratitude Journal – If you are someone like me who thinks that being grateful for things can have a very positive effect not only on your mind and body but those around you then you may want to start a gratitude journal. A study was done by the University of Florida and it showed that writing down a positive list of things from the day and how those things make you happy can lower your stress and calm you before bed. I mean who doesn’t want lower stress levels and to feel calmer at night? Waiter, I’ll take two!Lol
Emotional Vent – Another great journal strategy is to use it as an emotional vent or release. Write down how you dealt with emotional events throughout your day. This is a great way to help you cope with stress by releasing the emotions onto paper you can manage the symptoms. It will also work as a reference to help you deal with same situations better if and when they may arise. This is one of the most used forms of journaling and it has worked for many of our ancestors so why not take up their good habits.
Personal Planning Journal – This form of journaling is great if you are a goal oriented type of person. You can write a journal that keeps tracks of things you need to do each day. Yes, this is a form of journaling and is very effective for building better habits. It is also a great way to declutter your mind and elevate stress. I have to keep bill diary because it helps me not stress about the bills because I see it on paper, call me weird I know, Lol. Organizing is a great way to help relieve stress. Click here to read tips to help with time management
Which Medium Should I Use?
Now that you have some different options of what to journal about you will want to choose a medium. There are many different options so you just want to pick what works best for you.
In a world of phones and apps and electronics some have gotten away from paper but if you are like me and you still love the good old fashion way of writing your thoughts down, then paper notebooks are for you. I like the idea of seeing what I write in case I want to pass it on to others later. I still keep photo albums.
It is the most private because you keep it stored and you don’t have to worry about it being “hacked”. Plus it isn’t stored on someone else’s memory and you don’t have to worry about things like the app no longer being available and you losing all your entries. Unless you are forgetful like me and you leave it at Starbucks, oh jeez! It is prone to fire and theft so that is something to think about.
They come in different forms and are not all blank, so if you are not up for the blank diary here are two to consider:
Bullet diary – which is great for personal planning journals.
Five-minute entry – Gives you a motivational quote at the top and then gives you a prompt to fill out (What would make today great?), this is good for those who have less time to journal.
Journaling and Diary Apps
If you are like many of us, and your phone is attached to your thumb ( I know my kids is) then you may want to look into some journaling apps. There are some apps that are secure that you can use like Penzu and Journey.
Just remember that you want to keep the journaling experience as close to natural as possible to get the benefits so stay away from automation.
Blogging is a great way to journal and is often overlooked because people think that blogging is only about making a name for themselves. Of course with blogging your feelings are on front center for an audience to read and view but the benefits are just as useful. And on the other hand, you may help someone by sharing your blog get through a situation they may be facing. This is both brave and selfless of you. You don’t have to choose to publish your post, it is completely up to you. There are many free platforms that will allow you to get started very easy and it doesn’t take any experience to get started. You may even want to turn your passion into a business.
Whatever way you decide to journal there are definitely benefits to doing so. It is not about your writing skills or what pen or fancy book you use it is about you finding something you enjoy to get the benefits you need. If you don’t journal every day do not fret, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and any day you like.
So what do you think, do you see journaling as something you may want to do to help you cope with your stress? Do you have any journaling techniques you already love to use?
I would love to hear about it in the comment section below. Any feedback is always welcome.