Many people begin journaling in their early teens to express themselves without fear of judgment. Teenaged girls had diaries to write down their deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences. On the other hand, teenage boys are commonly known to keep a notebook filled with drawings that sometimes reflect what they’re going through. While some people stopped journaling as they got older, many have realized just how therapeutic it can be to emotional well-being.
Writing in a journal is an effective mental health strategy that promotes healing and assists with growth and personal development. Putting pen to paper is a tried and true method recommended by therapists to help patients cope with mental health problems. Journaling can help to identify struggles as well, such as highlighting signs of depression in women, men, and children. When done regularly, journaling can help you identify struggles, share your feelings, unmask hidden truths, track mental progress, and even develop a plan for the future.
Whether you’re struggling with mental illness or simply want to find healthy ways to release your innermost feelings, these tips will help you get the most out of journaling.
Make Journaling A Priority
The first word of advice is to prioritize journaling. You can’t expect to reap the benefits if you only write once every few months. How do you prioritize journaling when you have so many other obligations? Here are a few suggestions:
- Set a time – Decide when you’d like to write in your journal. It should be a time during the day when you have the least going on so you can focus on your thoughts. Set the alarm as a reminder once you’ve ironed out the most efficient time.
- It only takes a few minutes – You mustn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Although regular journaling is ideal, there will be times when you skip a day or only have a few minutes to spare. Fortunately, all you need is a few minutes. Just 5 to 10 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Don’t Get Hung Up On Wording
Sometimes people assume that they have to write something thought-provoking, poetic, or extensive to reap the benefits of journaling; however, that’s not the case. Your journal is for your eyes only and can encompass whatever is on your mind at the time. Whether you write a few lines about things you’re grateful for, draft an entire paragraph about something you’re struggling with, or draw a picture of what you’d want your future to look like, it all works together to help you heal emotionally and evolve personally.
Meditate Before And After
The distractions of everyday life can make it difficult for you to focus on journaling. If you want to get the most from this therapeutic experience, you must learn to tune everything out. Meditation can be beneficial in this department. Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Listen to the sounds of nature or soothing music as you breathe in and out. Repeat this a few times until you feel at peace. Then tap into your innermost thoughts and write them down.
As journaling can drudge up some deep feelings, meditating after you’re done is an efficient way to regulate your emotions before you continue with your day.
Consider A Journal With Prompts
Sometimes knowing what to write is challenging. If that’s the case, you might benefit from a journal with prompts. These are like workbooks that include inspirational quotes, questions, subjects, and tips on expressing yourself freely. As you complete each entry, you’ll unlock more about yourself than you realized and can use that information to improve your life.
Reread And Track Progress
One of the benefits of journaling is seeing the progress you’ve made in areas of concern. However, if you never review your journal entries, you won’t know how far you’ve come. Take a moment periodically (once a month or so) to read your journal. Evaluate where you were at that time and what steps you’ve made to improve. Whether the progress is large or small, it will give you the motivation to continue working on the process.
Modern-day living isn’t easy and can have a lasting impact on your emotional well-being. While your emotions are your mind and body’s natural way of responding to the ups and downs of life, failing to find balance can lead to mental health problems. Journaling provides an efficient way for you to unload, evaluate, and improve from the inside out. Use the tips listed above to help you make the most of this therapeutic process.