Writing is a cheap, flexible, private and portable vice. In spite of what you may think, it requires no particular skills or talents.
Journaling is something that has been an on and off relationship for me. I love to write down my feelings and what events happen in my life, but I often forget. As it turns out, there are many health benefits to journaling. The one that stands out to me without any research from the internet is the ability to give yourself peace of mind before you turn in for the night. It helps to write down whatever is on your mind and get them out of there before they start piling up onto whatever enters your mind tomorrow. For some inspiration, take a look at the Smash Book Brandi started!
On DeepMeditation.net, I found many reasons as to why journaling is so beneficial for us. As well as making journaling not seem like a chore, but rather a reward for yourself.
The Benefits of Journaling
- It is a companion and best friend
- Improves mental health
- Improves communication skills
- Releases pent-up emotions
- Encourages reflection
- Clears the mind
- It is empowering
- Helps in the healing process
“Writing dissolves some of the barriers between you and others. If you write, it’s easier to communicate with others.”
– James Pennebaker, the author of Writing to Heal
The main idea behind journaling is learning how to open up about yourself and the issues and situations in your life. For some people this takes a fair amount of practice, while others do it quite naturally. Once you begin, you will observe that the process of expressing your feelings will make you feel better.
There are really no rules to keeping a journal, only suggestions. A journal can be anything you want it to be and there are many types of journals. For example, there are observation journals, travel journals, dream journals and gratitude journals. In the tradition of the Quaker diaries, Oprah Winfrey has long kept a gratitude journal. “I have kept a journal since I was 15 years old,” she has said. “As I’ve grown older, I have learned to appreciate living in the moment.” At night, she lists a minimum of five things she’s grateful for—no matter how small. She says that it’s been instrumental to her success. “What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. I believe that if you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see the universe is abundant,” she adds.
Journaling is a healthy way to cope during stressful times. It could inspire you to enjoy the lifelong habit of journaling regardless of stress. The important thing is that you write from a deep place because the process is about having an authentic relationship with yourself. The more comfortable you are with your true self, the easier it will be for you to handle stress. Part of this process involves trusting your inner wisdom, intuition and heart. If you do this, your true inner voice will emerge on the page.
Not sure how to get going? Here are some tips:
How to Start Journaling
- Buy a journal and pen that feel comfortable for you
- Find a safe and quiet place to journal
- Use a centering ritual (cup of tea, burning a candle, meditation)
- Date your entries
- Establish a routine; journal at the same time each day
- To start journal for 15-20 minutes
- Write without editing or censoring
Some Journaling Prompts
- Write about a recent upheaval
- Write a letter to someone alive or deceased
- Write about your first memory
- Describe your first room
- Write about what makes you happy
- Write about what makes you angry
- Write about your accomplishments.
- Write about a book which changed your life and why