Journaling and your wellbeing
Last week I spoke about the overwhelming impact anxiety is having on our day to day lives. Over the next few weeks I want to give you some tools to help you work with your anxiety; or whatever you might be struggling with. Today I want to talk to you about journaling and the impact it can have on your wellbeing.
Like me, maybe you kept a diary when you were a teen, a private space where you poured your heart and soul out through ink, trying to make sense of turbulent teenage emotions. Growing up is hard. Being a grown up is hard too, but, for some reason most of us stop journaling as we reach adulthood. Well, it is time to break out that pen and book again because the wellbeing benefits of journaling as an adult can be as profound as it was for your teenage self.
Studies have shown the process of journaling has a wide number of benefits. The big ones are:
Coping with depressive thoughts
The science behind why is straightforward, by writing about your day, your mind prioritises what has happened and allows you to put words to thoughts and feelings that may have otherwise stayed unprocessed in your head.
I want to stress these reflections don’t have to be big or dramatic thoughts; it could be as simple as, ‘I watched the news today, and I noticed I couldn’t stop thinking about X’, or, ‘I can no longer watch the news it’s too depressing’, these in themselves aren’t dramatic statements but they are important observations on how are you feeling.
Journaling also gives you a place to track your symptoms. Over time you will build up a clear picture of when you have felt any emotions you are struggling with and start to recognise patterns. This is the first step to finding out what triggers those feelings.
If you are still thinking, I don’t have time, or I wouldn’t know where to start, fear not, I’m going to give you my three key tips to get you going
No one is grading you on this piece of writing. It's personal, don’t stress about how it looks. Like me, you could write a line a day or maybe just three words that sum up how you feel about your day. Simple, straightforward and quick.
Commit to writing daily. This could be writing down three things you are grateful for every morning or spending ten minutes before you go to bed reflecting on your day. Make it part of what you do, like brushing your teeth twice a day. The more you make this part of your daily routine the more likely you are to stick to it.
MAKE IT SOMEWHERE YOU WANT TO BE
Make your journal something you like, something you look forward to visiting. Get a nice pen to write with and a beautiful book to use. This may sound superficial, but we are visual beings and if something is beautiful and inviting you are more likely to want to spend time there. It is also a mark of respect to yourself, acknowledging the importance of what you are doing day on day, which is taking time out for you and your well being.
That’s it for journaling today. I hope this has inspired you to pick up your pen. If you want more tips and wellbeing hacks follow me over on instagram @annekabarrett_, until then I’ll see you in my next blog.
Remember whatever you are going though, you are not alone.