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Life coaches and gurus are always promoting journalling as a worthwhile hobby, but where do you start with it all?
If you’ve ever done a quick search along the lines of ‘easy hobbies to start’ or ‘activities to ease stress’ you’ve almost definitely come face to face with the advice that you should start journalling. But, typically that’s all it says. Why should I journal? What do I even journal about?
Mental health impacts
Worries and anxieties are something we inevitably all experience. Unfortunately, it can impact our sleep, our appetite, and our general enjoyment of life.
Journalling has been found to aid mental health by operating as an outlet to accept our internal experiences, rather than judging them. When we’re plagued by stressful thoughts or emotions, it’s almost impossible to view them objectively. Writing them down puts you in a position of looking at your feelings rather than actively being in them, allowing you to process them more effectively.
Additionally, using a journal to actively express gratitude will give you a more positive outlook. We can often find it easier to focus on the negative in our lives over the positive things. Using a journal to record things you feel gratitude for forces you to examine the good in your life. This could be things you’ve achieved (big and small), friends and family in your life, or really simple like having a roof over your head.
Committing pen to paper
Knowing the benefits of journalling is of no help unless you’re able to actually implement it into your life. Maybe you feel you’re not creative enough, or you can’t pinpoint a specific line of thoughts to write down. Journalling should still be accessible to you.
The best way to ensure you’ve always got something to commit to paper, is to build a prompts bank in your notebook. Create a list of journal prompts that you can always fall back on if nothing is naturally spewing forward when you open your book (ideas below.) The beauty of journal prompts is that you can reuse the same one repeatedly, and see how your answer or thoughts have changed from a week ago, the month previously, or a whole year.
Build the habit into your life. Make a commitment to open your journal up either every morning, before bed, or on your lunch break. You don’t necessarily have to write anything down each day, but at least open it up and sit for a few minutes. You might find something comes forward that you want to get out and onto paper.
Here’s a list of journal prompts to jot down in your notebook that’ll hopefully get the mind juices flowing. There are plenty more you can search up online, or take inspiration from the ones below to build up a bank.
- When do you feel most like yourself?
- What do you most look forward to each day?
- An intention for the day ahead
- What do you need more of in your life?
- List five qualities you like about yourself
- How could you honour and respect yourself more?
- What would make this week amazing?
- What’s something you saw today that brought you joy?
Make it what you want
Journalling is what you make of it, and you’ll get out what you put in. If it helps, view it as a creative outlet as well as a record of your thoughts and emotions. You can experiment with different ideas; create lists, sketch, scrapbook, or none of the above.
The key is don’t allow it to become overwhelming. You can write as little or as much as you want before you get comfortable with it. And hopefully, it won’t be long before you feel the benefits of journalling on your daily mental health.
Lana can usually be found spinning her collection of records, or writing odd poems in her phone notes. Her mixer of choice is a ginger beer, and you’ll never find her away from the sea for more than a few weeks.
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