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Journaling has increased in popularity in recent years, primarily due to the improvements it can offer to your mental health. While journaling may previously have been associated with keeping memories about your life or vacation, it is now more commonly used as a tool to better your mental health and increase feelings of gratitude. Today we’re going to share some of our top tips for adding a journaling practice into your daily life.
Benefits of Journaling for your Mental Health
There are many benefits to your mental health of adding a daily journaling practice into your life. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you may find you experience constant disruptive thoughts. You’ll find journaling a good tool for regulating your emotions and identifying irrational thoughts. Using a journal can help you notice patterns and reprogram any limiting beliefs you may have. If you struggle with a lack of confidence, it can help you to feel more self-assured when added to your daily life for an extended period of time. For anyone who suffers from stress, it’s also a very calming practice that can help you to sleep better, instead of staying up all night worrying about the past and future.
Pick a Topic or Use Prompts
When it comes to journaling for the first time, many people find they are unsure where to start. While some individuals are great at free-flow journaling, others may find they need a little more structure to cultivate a daily practice. There are many journals available nowadays that offer guidance or sections to fill in, providing guidelines for anyone just getting started with their journaling practice. For anyone looking to improve their mental health, a gratitude journal can be a fantastic idea. If you are struggling to see the positive in various situations, consider writing three to five things down each day that you are grateful for. This practice will soon transform your life, and you’ll begin to see the good in every day, regardless of how small the event or item may be.
Other ideas for journal prompts you could use to better your mental health include:
What do you love most about yourself?
What was the highlight of your day today?
How do you feel right now?
What would you like to improve about your life?
By using a simple prompt to get you started, it may inspire you to keep writing. While you may need a prompt to begin your journaling ritual, you’ll soon find you can return to writing each day without any assistance.
Create a Routine
As with trying to add any new activity into your life, the best way to achieve consistency is to add this to your routine at a set time each day. Some people find they enjoy journaling each morning to start their day off on a positive note, whereas others find they like to close their day out with reflective journaling. The time of day you choose to journal doesn’t matter, but carving out five to ten minutes a day to add this practice into your life will make a world of difference to your mental health. While journaling when you feel sad or angry can be a useful tool, you’ll find you gain much quicker results by writing at the same time each day.
Set a Timer
If you are looking to start journaling, you may find that judging yourself by how much you write is detrimental to the activity. As with anything related to our mental health, it’s all about quality, not quantity. Setting a timer for a short amount of time to write is a much better idea than telling yourself you must write a page in a notebook each day. Forming unrealistic expectations for yourself can lead to you feeling frustrated by journaling instead of enjoying it for what it is. As with any creative activity, some days you’ll become wrapped up in writing, whereas other days, you may barely want to write two sentences. Go with how you feel that day and just enjoy the process regardless of the results.
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Journaling can be used alongside other activities to cultivate good mental health, such as meditation. Online you will find some lovely calming journaling music, which you can put on in the background while you journal. This can help calm your mind further and get you into a creative frame of mind, ready to write. You may also enjoy lighting a candle or adding crystals to your setup. Whatever you choose to do, try to make your setup for journaling as relaxing as possible. You don’t want this practice to feel like work, and instead, it should be something you enjoy returning to each day to calm your mind. Many people like to incorporate journaling into their meditation or yoga practice. You may find you want to keep a journal by the side of your mat during yoga and then simply jot down any thoughts that come to mind during your practice.
Journaling is a fantastic tool for mental health and can be a great way to express your feelings if you are struggling to talk to someone about your issues. If you don’t enjoy writing, you may also want to consider a more creative form of journaling, such as doodling or coloring. Whatever you choose to do, it’s all about forming a short, consistent practice each day to get started. After a week or so of journaling each morning, you’ll soon begin to notice the difference to your wellbeing and mental health and find you enjoy more clarity and gratitude in your life.