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Journaling - What is it and What Are the Benefits?



Journaling - What is it and What Are the Benefits?

Journaling seems to be the hot topic of the moment, with mentions of it on social media, in self help guides and even front and centre in book shops where journals in all sorts of colours and designs are available. 

But what exactly is journaling, and how can it be of benefit to us? 

Journaling is a way of recording your thoughts and feelings at any one, precise time. It means writing down what you’re experiencing, with an aim to make sense of your feelings. You may not even go back and read over what you’ve written, but it's also supposed to be a mindful habit, where you write in the moment. (It can also be mindfully retrospective such as recording what you’ve experienced that day before you go to bed.) 

In fact, it might not be as new to you as you might think. Think back to when you were younger - did you have a teenage diary? If so, then you were already journaling as a youngster! 

It's easy to start a journal, all you need is some quiet time to write down how you’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be just words, you can doodle too. It’s your space, you can fill it how you like. It’s best to journal every day or at least most days. But don’t put yourself under pressure to write a certain number of words or pages, or even to journal every day at the beginning. Journal when you feel the need takes you, then gradually work up to a daily practice. 

Here’s the main benefits of journaling…

  • It helps to reduce anxiety - recording how you’re feeling, especially if we’re feeling stressed, upset, worried or down, helps us to take stock of things and get things into perspective. It can also help to ease anxiety by helping us plan our way through or out of something troubling. 
  • It’s a mindful activity that helps us create awareness of the things that are on our mind. This can be helpful for seeing things in a different light, which can help us move forward in ways we didn’t think were available. 
  • It can help us move on - getting our feelings out onto paper can sometimes be all we need to accept them and move forward. 
  • It helps us recognise where we should be prioritising our energies and emotions. Listing out our worries and fears and seeing them in black and white can help us work out which ones to tackle first. 
  • It encourages us to reflect and celebrate our strengths and avoid negative self-talk

You don’t need a specific journal to write down your thoughts, although it can be helpful for organising your thoughts and feelings in date order if you do want to go back and revisit them. But you can just use a simple notebook and make a note of the date at the top of the page. We do love stationery here though, and having a dedicated journal or notebook and a nice handwriting pen does make the process of journaling feel special. Of course, you can also be very 21st Century about things, and type or voice note your thoughts on your phone or computer. 

So however you decide to journal, give it a go, and see how it may help you. 

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