Many of us grew up keeping diaries to record our innermost thoughts and feelings, our angsty grievances, and our heart-breaking crushes. That same therapeutic act of writing out our thoughts is worth giving a try in our adulthood, too – for a number of reasons.
Psychologist and author Dr. Susan Albers says, “Writing down your feelings allows you to see them, read them and honour them. Most of the time, we feed our feelings and never understand how to jump over the hurdle if it occurs again. You can release these emotions by acknowledging that they are present.”
Journaling, she explains, helps us slow down and actually validate our feelings, and can act as a guide to help us achieve better mindfulness.
“Self-care is essential in mind, body and spirit,” Albers says. “Writing your feelings out gives you personal time to express yourself. By placing your thoughts on paper, you are taking care of yourself and you gain a much greater sense of well-being.”
Certified coach, speaker and trainer Anza Goodbar says journaling can help you on the path of self-discovery, open your creativity, help with problem solving, and help you gain insight into other people’s points of view. There are no rules for journaling, she says, so just develop a routine that works for you.
Tips for Journaling
“Having a regular time and place to journal can be useful when creating a new habit. You may also want to create ambiance by burning your favourite scented candle or sitting by the fireplace. Allow your mind to wander freely and write what comes to mind.”
Goodbar’s journaling tips include:
- Set aside at least 20 minutes each day to devote to journaling
- Find a private place that is quiet so you can write without distraction
- If you are more structured you may choose a theme to get started like emotions, health and fitness or relationships.
Types of Journaling
As for the different types of journals or journaling styles, Goodbar explains, there are:
Time Journals – “This type of journaling tracks historical events as they occur and your thoughts about the events of the day while they are fresh in your mind.”
Topical Journals – “This type of journaling is very specific to one area of your life like, diet/exercise, kids, career or hobbies. This journal would be used to track progress on a goal.”
Vision Journals – “This type of journal is where you keep notes on your hopes and dreams and steps you will take to make these dreams a reality.”
Reading Journals – “This type of journal follows your personal growth journey through reading. Tracking titles and authors as well as take-aways from each book will add new insights to your growth path.”
Gratitude Journals – “Tracking the people and experiences you are grateful for is a humbling and worthwhile exercise.”
We hope this will inspire you to give journaling a try to see the benefit for yourself. Happy writing!