Have you ever tried to journal? No, not the kind when you were ten and wanted to write down the drama that was happening in your class at the time. Have you ever tried journaling for your health? The process can seem kind of silly and pointless, but journaling is actually a great way to release emotions, process how we are feeling, and improve our mental health. I have journaled for several years in a bunch of different ways and I truly believe in its power! Today I want to share some of how I journal and give y’all some tricks to improve your journaling experience
Have more than one journal
One of the biggest benefits I get from journaling is having a bunch of different journals for different things. Journaling does not have to be something like a diary. It can be anything, in any way that makes you happy. Personally, I like having more than one journal to dedicate to different topics. For instance, I have one journal that I treat like a diary, but I have a bunch more that I use for different things. One of my journals is for prayers that I want to write down or have been weighing on my heart lately. Another journal is for my Christian stuff- quotes from Christian books I read and loved, important verses to me, Jesus doodles, etc. These are just a few of the many journals/notebooks I own. The great thing about journaling is it can be whatever helps you best! You can use these ideas for your journals if you like, or you can use other topics! It’s about what is best for you and what helps improve your mental health the most. So, go grab a bunch of journals and start writing!
Allow yourself the freedom to be honest
Your journal is YOURS. It does not belong to anyone else. Journaling can become a great safe space to share your emotions, worries, fears, excitement, and all the things in between. One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is give yourself permission to be raw in your journals- they’re just for you, only you and who you choose (if you choose to) show will see it. Don’t disservice yourself by sugar coating your words and such. Be really honest with your journal about whatever it is you are writing about. You only get the maximum benefit if you are truly honest in your journals.
Track the big stuff
If you are wanting to journal your thoughts and emotions, make sure to write it down when you experience milestones and big accomplishments like graduation, starting college, turning a certain age, experiencing something big (whether that be a trauma or a really exciting thing), and literally any other important thing in your life. One day you are going to want to look back to those big life events and remember who you were and how you felt during that time, and journaling is the perfect way to document that.
Write down your hopes and dreams
Another important part of journaling, along with documenting big and important moments in your life is writing down your goals. I have started writing down my goals for increments of time, such as what I want to have accomplished 6 months from now, a year from now, 5 years from now, etc. This gives you an opportunity to see your goals on paper and to assess them. It also will be nice to be able to go back and see the things you wanted for your life at certain ages. These are things you are going to want to remember when you get older and they can really help you to feel like your goals are real when they are written down. It can also help to keep these hopes and dreams in their own journal; it prevents clutter and makes your goals feel much more important.
Go the colored pens and doodles route
Don’t write in the same ink color all the time. I know that sounds silly but it can really brighten your mood when you write in fun colors like pink, green, purple, etc. At least, it does for me. I highly recommend investing in some colored pens for your journals (my personal go-to’s are the Pilot G-2 pens), they really do make a huge difference in your journaling experience. Also, don’t let your inner child go to waste! Doodle, doodle, doodle! Doodling can be a great way to journal. It relaxes you, it can be a helpful tool to release how you are feeling, and it allows you to think about the things and people you love. Oh and by the way…cute stickers work wonders, too. 😉
Have a prayer/grateful journal
I know I said first thing that you should have more than one journal, but I honestly think some of the best advice I can give is to have a specific journal for prayer. It has helped me so much and made me be able to think clearer and made me more conscious of my thoughts. It makes me feel like my prayer is heard when it feels like God wasn’t listening. It comforts me to be able to look back on things I prayed for that are no longer issues in my life and being able to see the things I worried about work out for God’s glory. And listen, if you aren’t a Christian, or even if you are and you want to, you should at least create a journal to write positive things in. Write down the things you are grateful for. Things that make you smile, that mean a lot to you, blessings you take for granted, people who mean a lot to you, literally anything and everything you are grateful for. This is huge because it really allows us to focus on the positive even if we don’t feel so positive at the moment.
I hope these tips for journaling helped and I hope each of you find the time to journal soon! This is one of my most effective ways to give myself self-care and I hope you all get to experience that too, whether that be with journaling or anything else!