Inclusion Tutor Amy R talks about benefits of journalling
If I said the word ‘journal’ to you, what would be the first thing you think about? Would it give off ‘dear diary’ vibes, where you kept your sticker covered diary under the bed hidden from the world, or more of a bullet journal, organisational day-to-day diary where you keep track of all your appointments and to do lists? Whatever you think about when you see the word ‘journal’ or ‘journaling’, spending some time putting pen to paper can almost be magical.
However, before I launch into the wonders of journaling, I feel I need to cover exactly what journaling is. Simply put, a journal is a written account of your thoughts or experiences. You have your die hard journal lovers (Guilty as charged here!) who write everyday, or you can write whenever you feel you need to. You can choose to start your entry ‘dear diary….’ or ‘oh my goodness what a day’, you can have a dedicated book and a special pen or you can write on the back of a receipt you found in your bag with an old eyeliner. There are no rules….. Only the rules to this process are the ones that you make up for yourself. Journaling can help us preserve those precious memories that we are not able to capture on film and sharpen our senses as to how we are feeling and most importantly WHY we are feeling these things. Really the benefits of journaling are almost too many to list.
Journaling is increasingly talked about in terms of self care as well, it has been suggested it can:
Help lower your stress levels as you are able to identify what is causing you to feel stressed and label these emotions. Studies have shown that by simply dedicating 15-20 mins per day to journaling over a four month period, it can lower blood pressure and help improve liver function.
Boost your mood and give you a greater sense of wellbeing. Seriously, there is almost something cathartic about writing the words or feelings that are in your head down onto paper. It is almost an instant mood booster.
Helps to keep your memory sharp as you are trying to recall information or facts from the day as you are having to access your working memory.
Improves your immune system. No joke, journaling or expressive writing can decrease your chances of getting ill, which in a Covid filled world is almost an added bonus right? It has been linked to strengthening your immune cells and helping to lessen symptoms of asthma.
All of this from picking up a pen and writing what is inside your head…. Amazing right?
“But Amy” I hear you all cry, “My spelling is awful and what if someone picks up my journal and thinks I am crazy?”…. My answer to this, I had the smae…. I mean same thought. Thank goodness for spellcheck is what I say. However, unlike being sat in those dreaded English lessons or writing an important email to your boss, spelling here does not matter. You are writing for a purpose to help clear your mind and get healthy, spelling is the last thing you need to worry about. If someone is to find your journal and read it, that says a lot more about them than it does about you, and how can someone laugh at you for wanting to take care of your wellbeing and mental health? (Also you can show them this article and get them involved in keeping a journal too… added bonus you have a journaling buddy now).
Getting started with journaling can be the hardest part, so I have created a list of prompts that you can use for the next 31 days or for you to pick and choose the ones that resonate with you if you wish. You can find these below. These prompts are an excellent way of helping you get off the starting blocks with journaling and become used to the process. Very often what I find is that I let my mind take over, and what started out as writing about advice I might give my younger self turns very quickly into how I might be feeling that day, or something that bothered me a few days ago.
Honestly, I could talk about the benefits of journaling forever and a day. It is a practice which has helped me personally in more ways than I can list and is something that is now a part of my everyday life and a practice of self care that I will preach to whoever will listen. Journaling can be anything you want it to be and I would encourage you to allow the process to evolve the more comfortable you get with it. Remember there are no rules to this process at all, you really are the master of your own density…. I mean destiny here. (For those who got the reference, we need to become BFFs!)
31 day journal prompts
What or who makes you happy and why?
Who is someone who annoys you? How can you show them kindness and compassion?
What positive changes did you make last year?
What positive changes would you like to make this year?
List 10 things you like and admire about yourself.
Where is your favourite place in the whole world? Why?
What advice would you give your younger self?
What is something nice you have done for yourself recently? What can you do next?
What is something nice you have done for someone else recently? What would you like to do next?
What makes you unique/different from anyone else?
What are your favourite self care activities to do?
Make a list of 10 things that make you smile. How can you build these things into your life more?
List 5 people who you admire and why you admire them.
What is something that you disagree with about the way you were raised?
What space in your home makes you happiest? Why?
What is one tradition that you look forward to each and every year?
What is one thing that you would love to learn and why?
Name a food that brings you comfort and why?
Name something beautiful outside of your window.
What song lifts you up/makes you feel better? Why?
What quote lifts you up/makes you feel happy? Why?
What is something or someone who makes you proud? Why?
How will you take care of yourself this year?
Who do you want to connect with this year? Why?
What is the best compliment you have ever received and from who?
What is the best compliment you have given and to whom?
List some small victories or wins from the last week.
What does your ideal morning look like?
What does your ideal evening look like?
What are your goals for the next month?
Tell us about a time that you did something that you thought you could not do.