What Is Journaling and How Do You Do It?

what-is-journaling

Everyone has been talking about the benefits of journaling recently. As we become more aware of the perks of self-care routines, we start to ask ourselves which ones we can adopt. We want an effective way to calm our minds, and to be able to do it often. That’s where this inspiring habit comes in. But, what is journaling, exactly?

Journaling is a widespread self-awareness practice. It’s an easy way to improve your day by spending only ten minutes alone with your thoughts. There are plenty of ways to journal, so you’ll surely find one that fits with your lifestyle and needs. And, if this habit makes it into your weekly routine, you’ll notice the benefits of journaling right away.

Journaling Explained: Staying Sane One Page at a Time

Maybe you’d like to give journaling a try after learning its many advantages. However, you may be confused about where to begin. There are plenty of ways to journal, and a myriad of experiences to write about. That’s why making a decision may be daunting. Here are three factors to consider when learning how to journal.

How Do You Want to Journal?

You may need to try several techniques until you land on the one that fits your personality. There’s structured journaling, where you write about a different prompt every day. You can find journaling prompts online or come up with your own. This approach offers less freedom than jotting down your organic thoughts each time. Still, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to improve their creative writing skills.

If you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with prompts, you can always opt for journaling about your current experiences. This method is a fantastic way to relieve some of the stress you accumulated throughout the day. You don’t need to prepare or even think about what you’re going to address in advance. Just sit down, reflect on your day, and write way!

What Do You Want to Write About?

If you don’t feel comfortable expressing your innermost thoughts and feelings on paper, don’t worry. There are plenty of journaling alternatives out there. Some of the most common ones are devotional journals, wreck journals, goal-planning, dream, travel, and deep journals.

You can opt for a goal-tracking diary, where you write about where you envision yourself and how to get there. This journaling method can be beneficial to hard-workers and go-getters. You can include daily bulleted to-do lists or track your habits. 

If the meaning of your dreams has always intrigued you, go for a dream journal. In it, you can track your nightly oniric experiences as soon as you wake up. You may even record your thoughts and feelings about them. It is a great way to tap into your subconscious. You’ll explore where your mind takes you when you’re asleep. Maybe you’ll find a connection between your most bizarre dreams.

How to Make Journaling a Habit?

It’s normal to find getting into the habit of daily journaling a bit challenging. Even if you know its benefits, it can be hard to stick to it. That’s why you need to make it easy for yourself. You need to think hard about what your personal process to form a habit is.

If you’re a type-A person who likes to schedule their day, planning the right time for journaling should do the trick. It can be when you wake up, during your lunch break, or in the evening. What’s important is that, whichever time you choose for journaling, you stick to it no matter what.

If you don’t like the constraints of a time-frame, you should consider keeping your journal on you all day. Although setting a schedule is useful when making a habit, you may become disheartened if inspiration doesn’t strike. By keeping your diary handy, you’ll be able to pull it out and write whenever you feel like it.

Benefits of Journaling

While most consider stress-management as the main advantage of journaling, many other perks can go unnoticed. Yes. Even to those familiar with this relaxing practice. Here are some of its lesser-known benefits.

Journaling Improves Your Writing Skills

If you are an aspiring writer or just want to develop your talents, journaling is an excellent way to start. Prompts can help you improve your divergent thinking skills and come up with original concepts daily. Even writing without prompts can benefit you. By putting your scattered thoughts onto a page, you practice how to structure your ideas better. Over time, it’ll help you point out what’s important.

Journaling Helps You Achieve Your Goals

There are two reasons why journaling can help you achieve your goals. Firstly, by writing down your ambitions and aspirations, you are holding yourself accountable. You are more likely to achieve something if you write down a detailed plan on how to make it happen.

Secondly, writing often can indirectly benefit your ability to achieve the milestones you’ve set for yourself. Once you’ve made journaling a habit and managed to stick to it, you’ll start to feel more confident about mastering other practices.

Journaling Helps You Reflect on Your Day

Finding time to ponder on your day is crucial for your well-being. If you don’t slow down every once in a while, you won’t be able to appreciate what life has to offer. Writing down what you’re grateful for requires thinking about it first. This simple action can help you realize there’s beauty within every step you take.

Reflecting on your daily antics can also boost your memory. Writing your thoughts down makes you more likely to remember each detail of a journal entry. In five years, when you look through your old diaries, it’ll be like the events you wrote about happened just yesterday.

Can Journaling Relieve Stress and Anxiety?

Journaling is beneficial when managing stress and anxiety. Writing down your thoughts and feelings every day can do wonders for your inner peace. Sometimes you need to vent to someone who will just listen and won’t talk back. That’s yet another advantage of journaling. Your diary is all ears! 

Research shows that there are plenty of mental health benefits from keeping a diary. There’s proof of journaling advantages for those coping with PTSD, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and anxiety. There’s even a Center for Journaling Therapy that applies the habit of journaling to its counseling process. 

When you use this practice as a form of self-healing, you should keep in mind these objectives.

Challenge Your Thought Pattern

If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming event, challenge your thoughts while writing. Ask yourself questions such as, “What’s the worst that can happen? How likely is it that you’ll get stuck with the worst outcome?” or “Can you have a good time at the event? What are the key reasons that are stopping you from having a great time?”

Try to answer critically, even argue with the anxious part of your brain. Uneasy thought patterns have no ground to stand on once you try to explain them logically. 

Dare to challenge yourself on paper, not just inside your mind. This step is crucial. You’ll need a page to come back to once these disturbing thoughts start resurfacing. You’ll be able to use your own logic against your anxiety issues.

Focus on Your Actions

Reflect on your actions. Write about those you’re proud of, but also those you are not. Why are you confident with some of the choices you’ve made? Focus on the thoughts you had before making that decision. Take a look at your older journal entries. Compare where your mental health was before versus how you feel now.

You can also focus on an important choice you need to make in the near future. Write about what makes you worried about it. What do you think might happen? What would you do if your worst fear materialized? Can you prepare for your worst-case-scenario? 

Mention at least a couple of things you can do to get ready. Knowing that you’re able to get yourself out of an uncomfortable or scary situation will ease your mind. You’ll feel more confident about your choices.

Conclusion

Stress and anxiety have become an unavoidable part of our fast-paced lives. Nowadays, many people experience them daily, with some even enduring a severe generalized anxiety disorder. The persistent anguish can leave you unable to make decisions. You’ll find yourself rethinking your every move and expecting danger around every corner. It can be challenging to manage, and it can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

By journaling every day as a self-awareness method, you can support your well-being. Writing down what you feel helps you cope with some of the stress you’re facing. When combined with psychotherapy, daily journaling can aid in the treatment of anxiety disorders tremendously.

Keeping your mind calm and organized is the key to keeping your life the same way. These perks make journaling one of the best self-care practices you can start as soon as today!