There are many benefits of journaling, both for mental health and physical health. In this epic post find out about how to journal for mental health, physical health and the different methods of journaling, why everyone should have a journal and how to motivate yourself to journal daily.
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If you are someone that suffers from stress, anxiety, or depression, you should definitely be writing in your journal every single day. If you can’t stick to this, try to journal at least three times a week. You will feel the benefits almost immediately. Promise.
Journaling is therapeutic, helps you get rid of all those thoughts and feelings without burdening someone else, and provides a host of benefits for various mental health disorders.
You Can Gain More Clarity
Keeping a journal can also provide you with more clarity. You are writing down all of your thoughts and feelings, which in turn can really help you to see what your innermost thoughts are.
Even if you don’t realize it right now, you might have certain feelings that you don’t realize are there. This is why it is important to have a journal only you can read, because then you feel comfortable being completely open and honest. By doing this, you are able to gain a lot of clarity about yourself and your life.
It Helps You to Be More Creative
Journaling is an excellent way to release your inner creativity that might have been hiding there. Perhaps you get so caught up in your day to day life that you don’t often have the opportunity to be creative.
Journaling is a form of self-expression, even if you are just writing down what you did that day. By performing this self-expression on a regular basis, you really can start being more creative in other areas of your life.
Top Tip: Set yourself a timer for at least 10 minutes a day so you have to push past the whole, ‘what I did today’ and really examine your thoughts. It is easy to just write about what you did that day but you can’t drag that out for a long period of time. If you make yourself write for at least 10 minutes a day you will find yourself going deeper into your thought processes, even if it is just to make up the time.
Journaling Lets You Find Your Triggers
There are certain triggers you might be dealing with in relation to your different mental health disorders. There are situations and people that can lead to having a day where your depression worsens, you feel more stress, or your anxiety causes severe panic attacks.
By journaling every day, you can look for certain patterns that will show what might be causing these things. It can be anything from drinking caffeine to dealing with a certain co-worker.
So many different situations and events can trigger your mental health episodes, and it is important o know what they are. Even if you see a therapist, they often recommend writing in a journal every day.
Top Tip: Make a little graph down the side of each day and fill up how happy/anxious or another feeling you want to track each day. If you don’t want to do a graph, try drawing a little emoji in the same place each day so you can see at a glance how you are tracking. A little smiley or sad face will do the trick.
It Becomes a Way to Release Your Burdens
Mental health is often more difficult to deal with when you don’t have a way to release your mental burden. If you keep all of those thoughts and feelings bottled up, it makes everything harder to deal with.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, then you can write in a journal and still feel like you are letting all of that out.
Keeping a journal is very beneficial to your physical health, whether you are trying to figure out why you have allergy attacks, lose weight, or just manage your general health.
Consider these different benefits of journaling for your physical health.
You Can Log What You Eat
One way journaling helps with physical health is by looking at what you are eating on a daily basis. This is important for a number of reasons.
First of all, by knowing what you eat, you can see what type of nutrition you are getting, and what you might be lacking. You might find that while you eat plenty of whole grains, you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, or that you aren’t drinking enough water for proper hydration.
Another way it helps you is by tracking what you eat in order to lose weight. You can see where your biggest issues are with food and work to improve them.
Top Tip: Don’t be a cheater. Only you can read your journal so you don’t need to be ashamed if you have had a bad day eating wise. We all have those (I seem to have those more often than not…). Plus, if you are embarrassed writing down your daily eating, it may just motivate you to change them so you can write proudly.
It Helps You Notice Various Ailments
There may be physical ailments you are dealing with that aren’t made obvious right away. Start a journal and write down how you are feeling on a physical level every day.
Be honest and pay attention to your different body cues. Perhaps you have a headache one day, and another day your stomach hurts. Also write down what you were doing, eating, and drinking that day. You may soon notice patterns, such as always getting headaches when work is stressful.
You Can Keep a Schedule of Activities
If you are working on your fitness, the journal is a great way to keep track of your daily physical activities. Perhaps you want to do arms and legs on alternating days if you do strength training, and having a little calendar in your journal helps you keep track.
You might also want to follow the trends of your regular physical activity each day by wearing a pedometer or fitness tracker and recording the data in the journal each day. There are a lot of ways to use a journal for your physical health.
Identify Triggers For Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is unfortunately very common, often stemming from stress or anxiety in your life. You feel sadness, depression, anxiety, or other issues and you use food as a way to cope with it, similar to how people use substance abuse to deal with their problems.
If you know you have been emotionally eating, but don’t know why, journaling every day can help you look for patterns.
You don’t have to feel forced to keep a certain type of journal since there are so many different ways to use one. Here are just some of the many methods of journaling you can use.
The first method of journaling is the most traditional form, which is where you simply write down your thoughts as often as needed.
You might write in the journal a couple days a week when you have the time or a reason to do so, or you may journal once a day at the end of the day, similar to keeping a diary. This method is the most flexible since it is really up to you how you want to do it.
With a general method of journaling, the frequency, what to include, and type of journal organization you use is entirely up to you.
Related Product: Soothi has a great range of refillable handmade leather journals that are simply gorgeous
This is a newer form of journaling, but one that is getting popular very fast. Bullet journaling provides a way to keep track of everything in your daily life, including finances, goals and bucket lists, family life, work, mental and physical health, and tons more.
With bullet journaling, you are using primarily symbols and short words or phrases to discuss different things instead of full pages of writing like with a general or standard form of journaling. It also has an index and page numbers since there are so many different sections in the journal.
Related Product: This eco-friendly natural cork hardcover journal with a dot grid is simple and gets the job done
Related Post: Bullet Journal 101
There are journals about a specific topic, such as your dreams. If you are someone with confusing, elaborate, or vivid dreams, this is the perfect journal to keep.
You can have a dream section in a bullet journal, or dedicate one small journal to nothing but recording your dreams. It helps to write them down immediately upon waking, as you will forget them rather quickly.
Related Product: Strange Dreams is a fun wee journal that has space to write your dreams as well as guided prompts, checklists and fun facts.
A gratitude journal is one where you aren’t just talking about all your thoughts or what you do day to day, but actually only talks about the good things. It is meant to help you practice mindfulness and live a happier life through gratitude.
You look at the positive parts of your day, no matter how big or small they are, and put those in your journal. By doing this, you are able to focus more on the things in your life and dwell less on the bad things. Over time, you can start to heal and live a more optimistic life.
Related Product: AwesoME Inc has a wide range of gratitude journals from adults to children and mini to full journal. There’s sure to be one for you.
Related Post: 5 reasons why you need to keep a gratitude journal
Journaling is not just something certain individuals do, but should really be something everyone does. Journaling helps in so many ways, from finding triggers to your stress, to helping with physical and mental health, weight loss, and a host of other issues.
Here are some different reasons everyone should journal regularly.
It Helps With Mental and Physical Health
A major benefit to writing in a journal every day is that it can help both your mental and physical health. Journaling helps you figure out what is causing your stress, lets you see why your anxiety is plummeting, and can help with your depression.
For physical health, journaling helps you lose weight or manage your weight, find out why you have certain ailments, and narrow down the reasons you aren’t drinking enough water each day. You can be a healthier person overall just by having a journal.
You Can Feel Safe Releasing Your Emotions
It is hard to talk to someone about what you are thinking or feeling because you are embarrassed or feel like you will be judged for it.
A journal is a good way to express all those feelings and not worry about something reading it or looking at you differently. Sometimes you need to get certain things out of your mind, and keeping a private journal is the perfect way to do that.
You Find Out New Things About Yourself
Keeping a journal can also help you gain more clarity into who you are and what you want out of life. Make it a challenge to just start writing on a page, without thinking too hard beforehand. Just start with one word and keep going.
You will be amazed by how much you learn about yourself. You may start venting about something you didn’t know bothered you so much. It is possible that it is the opposite and you are more positive and optimistic about a person or situation than you thought you would be.
In some cases, you talk more about what you want to accomplish, and this journal helps you to come up with actionable things you can do to achieve those dreams.
It Becomes a Comfort When Dealing With Stress
Stress is a powerful thing, much more powerful than people give it credit for. Stress can affect nearly every part of your life, including your mental and physical wellbeing.
It is important that you try to reduce your stress in any way you can, such as journaling. Writing in your journal helps you identify what is leading to your stress, which helps you determine what you can do to stop it.
Knowing why you should journal is just the beginning; you then need to motivate yourself to keep up with it. It is generally recommended that you write in your journal every day, but at least doing it on a regular basis can be helpful.
Look at these easy ways to motivate yourself to keep writing in the journal.
Have a Good Reason to Keep a Journal
First of all, you need to know exactly why you are journaling in the first place. You really need to think about the benefits of journaling and decide what your personal reason is for writing in the journal.
This is often a personal decision, such as wanting to figure out why your anxiety or depression has increased or wanting to express your feelings in a way where you feel safe and not judged. Decide what your individual reason is, and it will motivate you to keep writing.
Choose the Right Type of Journal
The journal you write in also makes a difference in motivating you to use it. If it is a large journal that doesn’t fit in your purse, you probably won’t use it often.
It should be something you could access at any time, such as putting it in your laptop bag, briefcase, handbag, or even the glove box of your vehicle. The mood may strike during your lunch break when you’re in the lunchroom, and it helps to have the journal available at that time.
Decide On a Method You Want to Use
There may also be a certain type or method of journaling that becomes more motivational to you than other methods. It is possible you are not someone to write long sentences and paragraphs, you really enjoy keeping track of everything with bullet journaling.
On the other hand, when discovering different forms of journaling, you may want o simply keep a regular daily journal or a food journal if you are trying to lose weight. Find the type of journal you want to keep, and you will find the motivation to continue doing it each day.
Make it More Creative
Perhaps what will motivate you is making journaling more interesting. You could be someone who enjoys colours and pictures more than plain text, so if you have fun colourful pens and various art supplies, you are much more willing to keep up with your daily journaling than using a plain black or blue pen.
Find a Spot to Journal
Find a cosy spot where you feel relaxed to pull out your journal. Some people like to have a routine and journal in the same place at the same time each day. Others like variety. You do what suits you best.
I personally like to mix it up a bit. Often, I can be found outside in nature with a journal in hand when I go on one of my hikes. I find that the serenity and peace help to clear my head. It is easy enough to just chuck one in my bag before I set off.
I highly recommend a gratitude journal (find out why here). My own gratitude journal is from AwesoME Inc. I made sure I got some colourful pens to make it more enjoyable and visually appealing. If you live outside of New Zealand and Australia you can buy these journals from Amazon.
What I love most about my journal is the daily quote, personal challenges and prompts as well as the happiness meter so you can see at a glance how you are doing.
Mindfulness journals sole purpose is to help you live more in the moment. This one here, from S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport provides 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics. This gives you seven days to fully immerse yourself in each topic. Also, the prompts are unique enough so you’ll never feel bored while journaling. These prompts are fun, engaging, and will help you gain an appreciation for the world around you. What more could you ask for?
There is the standard, do-it-yourself kind of bullet journals and there are pre-done bullet journals to just simply fill in the blanks. This is the easier option but has less flexibility than your standard bullet journal. It is up to you which one you want to use. If you are a beginner and overwhelmed, then a done-for-you bullet journal may just be the ticket.
I use the Little Bullet Book: Be Gorgeously Organised. I started it August 1st and we had a rocky start (I forgot to write in it for a week), but we are all good now. We have reached an understanding that I am pretty rubbish at writing every day.
Pens, pencils and other fun stuff
Be creative when you journal. Get some fun pens, stickers and tape to make your journal more visually appealing.
- Pens – these pens come in a variety of colours, one for every mood.
- Stickers – who doesn’t love a good sticker? It brings back childhood memories and brightens up a page.
- Washi Tape – fab for bringing a bit of colour and personality to your journal
- Self-adhesive pen holder – always losing your pen? Me too, never lose it again with this self-adhesive pen holder. Just stick it to your notebook, chuck your pen in and Bob’s your Uncle.
- Stencils – can’t draw? Neither can I! That’s why I love stencils. Create cute, fun and unique pictures for your journal
There are many well-documented benefits of journaling. They are proven to increase self-awareness, concentration, help with mental illnesses and much more.
I personally find a journal great for organising my jumbled thoughts. When I take a break I notice a huge difference in my thinking and mood.
Do you have any benefits of journaling to add? Chuck ’em in the comments below
Do you have any tips for staying motivated? Chuck ’em in the comments below
Go any thoughts? You know the drill
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