Besides a creative outlet, journaling can also be very therapeutic and a way to process your thoughts and life events. Karyn Cowan, owner of Bedfordview-based In Touch Wellness, discusses the benefits of this medium.
1. Stress Relief
Through the practice of writing, you may be able to identify exactly where the anxiety and strain is stemming from. Stress often feels bigger than it is in reality, so journaling about your current fears, problems and issues taking up headspace will help you gauge what is to be addressed in order of priority and severity.
Upon reflection, you can also see what the triggers are that cause stress and anxiety in your life. Perhaps you will find a trend or common denominators in the times of stressful periods. Sometimes simply writing about your problems soothes and eases the stress. It is an outlet, letting the pressure gauge release.
Tips for stress relief journaling:
– Write what comes to mind.
– Be specific with dating the journal entry and the context of the day.
– Assess through your writing if there are healthy ways in which you can address these stressors.
2. Creative outlet
Many people have taken to the concept of creative journaling. This way of journaling has no form or structure. In your journal you can include doodles, photographs, letters, poems, magazine cuttings etc. Adding colour and your own artistic flare to your journaling may entice you to open up more and connect with your inner child.
Creative journaling inspires you to be more free with your writing and flow with your thoughts. Do not concern yourself with neatness, spelling or grammar!
Making lists or bulletins are a fun way of documenting thoughts in a less formal way. Listing what you are grateful for is one of the most common practices in journaling to foster more gratitude and mindfulness. Reminding yourself daily of your blessings (big or small) will help shift your focus, or at the very least inspire you to feel more positive thoughts.
3. Way to process your thoughts
Journaling is a truly special space where you can be unapologetically you. The more open you are with yourself, the more your self awareness will broaden.
Your thoughts are neither right or wrong, but observing them objectively while writing will help you process what state of mind you are in. Sometimes through writing you are able to identify that you have certain recurring thoughts that need to be consciously addressed.
You can also use a journal for times of great change or even loss. Keeping a grief journal is a good way to opening the door to allowing a space for loss, sadness and nostalgia.
4. Personal development and growth
Journaling can also take on many themes. For example, shadow work will address unearthing the unconscious parts of ourselves and make them conscious. When writing about an issue, instead of taking it at surface value, shadow work encourages you to dig deeper and gain awareness of the core emotion that is being felt as well as the root cause of this emotion. This is a very healing and therapeutic way of working on your own as a means of personal development.
By following journaling prompts, it will also allow you to delve into new topics that you have perhaps never heard of. It broadens your level of introspection. Journaling can also include things like bucket lists, dreams for the future and short to long-term goals.
Tips for journaling:
– Be authentic, honest and open.
– Protect your privacy! Be sure to keep your journal in a safe space. Knowing that no one will snoop or invade your privacy will allow you to open up without restraint.
– The more consistent you are at writing; the more beneficial journaling will become.
– If you are stuck with what to write about, simply start by writing ‘I am thinking…’ and let it flow.
Cowan offers remote journal workshops that are usually two weeks in duration and delve into different facets of themes; ie: personal development, adolescents, grief, confidence building, ambitions and goal setting etc. She offers daily prompts, tips and tools for self exploration, development and growth and provides support along the journey. These workshops help set up a platform and healthy habit of daily journaling.