Journaling is the act of putting pen to paper and writing whatever you feel like writing, often with a reflective focus. You might address a particular situation or event in the past or simply write about how you’re feeling that day. Either way, it can be a cathartic experience where you let everything out. Kind of like having a good cry!
Journaling for mental health has numerous benefits. It’s a lovely act of self-care that can boost your mood and enhance wellbeing. It can help you get to know yourself better and become more in tune with your thoughts and feelings. Research also suggests journaling can reduce stress, promote a sense of calm, boost your memory and improve cognition.
Here are a few other benefits:
You can begin journaling for as little as five minutes a day, but I would recommend aiming for 15 minutes to start with. Consistency is key if you want to feel the benefits, so focus on building a regular habit as part of your daily routine. It’s important to pick the right time of day for you. Some people like to journal first thing in the morning, but others prefer it to be the last thing they do at the end of the day. It’s also a good idea to create a nice, cosy environment for your journaling. Light a candle or play some soothing music – whatever helps you feel focussed, relaxed and ready to dive in.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what and how you write in your journal. You might want to start by checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Some people choose a theme to focus on like gratitude. Over time, you’ll find a structure or approach that works for you. It you’re feeling stuck, prompts can be a big help. I’ve shared a few on my Instagram page, the.perfectionism.therapist. Discover journal prompts to boost your self-esteem. The best piece of advice I can give you is to just start writing! You’ll soon get the hang of it.