I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who had a diary and kept track of their entire life. Someone who can look back at a specific time and be transported back to that moment just through a diary. I never really kept one as a kid. If I did it would last a few days at most. And the same is still happening as an adult as I try to journal more. I’m writing this post today for a few reasons. First, I want to hold myself more accountable for journaling. When I do actually write in my Five Minute Journal, I find my days and weeks to be much more productive. And second, I know there are several great benefits to being consistent with journaling.
Knowing how I feel when I do it on occasion, I’m sure doing it consistently would be that much better. So I thought I’d dig into how to journal and the mental health benefits of making this a habit in your day-to-day life. Plus, maybe some tips on how to make it a daily habit since I’m clearly struggling!
How To Journal
Find A Good Time To Do It
I think this idea that you have to do it in the morning or at night is kind of crazy. If you find yourself ready to journal at the end of a workday, or while you’re waiting for your dinner to cook, let that be the time you do it. I thought I’d do mine in the morning but I leave my bedroom ASAP and never go back in until it’s time for bed. So leaving my journal on my coffee table was more effective for me.
Create A Routine
Let’s be honest, it can be a struggle to find that perfect time to write in your journal. But you can try creating a routine with something you already do habitually. Do you ALWAYS make a coffee in the morning? Leave your journal in the area so you can quickly jot something down. Creating a routine isn’t always easy, but finding a way to incorporate it into your everyday habits could be helpful in journaling regularly. Find a journaling habit that works with a habit you maybe already have. Adding one small habit onto another is a great method to more easily make something more part of your regular routine. This is something I learned from the book Atomic Habits and think it’s a great way to approach building new habits.
Picking A Good Medium To Journal With
Sometimes getting a cute journal and a great pen can help to motivate you to journal more. But also there are some great journals out there that have journaling prompts to get the creative juices going. I really love my Five Minute Journal that has you sort of set intentions each morning. Alongn with what would make the day great, what you’re thankful for and so on. And at the end of the day, you reflect on how you could’ve made the day better and what went well. It has a whole psychology behind it and I really do love it when I stick to it. If you have writer’s block or aren’t sure what to journal, this could be a great option for you.
There are lots of other journals you can pick up that suit the goals you may have. Maybe you want to start a gratitude journal or this fun question-a-day journal. Or maybe you just want to free-write and jot down whatever is on your mind. Just get out thoughts and feelings on paper and not have any sort of structure. Any type of journaling practice is always going to provide some health benefits regardless. Just find something that you enjoy doing that may help to make a habit of writing in your journal.
Get An Accountability Partner
Maybe you and your friends want to be better about journaling as a group effort for accountability. Start a journal group text and check in with each other to make sure you’re staying on top of it. This always helps me to stick to things when my friends are also involved. You can even maybe assign someone the task of sending out a journaling prompt so you have something new and different to write about each and every day.
Just Start Writing
Don’t worry about finding the perfect journal or journaling prompts to use. It’s not supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be for your eyes only anyway. If you’re not sure where to start, just simply write down what you did that day and how you felt. Simple as that. Or write what’s on your mind. Even if it is just “I’m trying to start journaling!” it doesn’t have to be perfect! You can truly just grab a blank page and jot down whatever is on your mind.
Benefits Of Journaling
The reason why I’m trying to get better at this is that I have seen firsthand the benefits of journaling. I always notice a difference in my days when I use my Five Minute Journal. I tend to be more in the moment and less in my head worrying about the future. There are lots of great mental health benefits to journaling and here’s why it may be worth turning this small and quick activity into a daily routine.
Writing or journaling daily, especially during stressful times, can help to manage your feelings and emotions. This is especially true when you’re dealing with lots of emotions and you’re not sure how to feel. It can help to organize those feelings and sort through them all. All in all, reducing your stress. Writing down your feelings can be such a helpful way to sort through everything and see things more clearly.
Build Self Awareness
One of the reasons why I’m a fan of going to therapy is for the ability to become more self-aware. Journaling can be a good start to this before shelling out hundreds of dollars with a therapist. But having a journal where you can reflect on your feelings, or what went right or wrong that day, can help to build self-awareness and help you grow as a person. It’s also a great way to look back on things. How did you feel that day you interacted with that co-worker. What could you have done differently? These are small things you may pick up over time with consistent journaling.
Improve Your Mood
Sometimes just writing something down and getting it off your mind can help significantly. Have you ever lie awake at night with something on your mind and you just can’t fall asleep? Simply writing that idea/to-do/thought down can help get it off your mind so you can get to sleep and I swear it works! When something is taking up space in your mind, it can truly help to shift it from brain to paper. I find myself doing this often actually since I have a very loud and talkative inner monologue. So putting those thoughts into a to-do list truly gets it off my mind knowing that I’ll be sure to tackle or deal with that issue, thought or whatever it may be, later.
Get To Know Yourself Better
When I started writing in my Five Minute Journal I noticed the things that made my day a good day. And also ones that made it not so great. It’s one of the prompts and not every day it was easy to find 3 things to include. But when you start to think about the little things that bring you joy or make you happy, you can begin to learn more about yourself. Things that you really enjoy, how to incorporate them more into your everyday life and routine. For me, I really noticed the days I got my workouts in or at least moved my body and also ate good homemade food, were always days I felt better overall. Days that I was productive and got things done, felt better too.
- PIN IT