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Journaling: A Self-Care Habit for Mind and Body

Written by

Sabrina Freudenmann 

“Journaling helps you to remember how strong you truly are within yourself.”

Why journal? Why not?!

Journaling is a simple, budget-friendly, and effective way to improve your health – mind, body, and spirit. It helps you understand yourself better and serves as an intriguing record of your life as the years go on.

Yet, some people put off starting a journaling habit because they simply don’t know what to write about! Or, perhaps they think that they don’t have anything important to say, or they don’t think they are good at writing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In reality, journaling is a self-care hobby that anyone can do. It’s simple, straightforward, adaptable, and rewarding. Not to mention, it improves your mental and physical health immensely!

Let’s learn more about journaling and how you can implement this simple practice into your daily self-care routine.


The Benefits of Journaling

There are many different benefits to journaling beyond being a relaxing self-care hobby. Here’s why we think everyone should start a journaling practice:

  • Clarify your thoughts.

Have you ever felt confused by your own thoughts? Were you ever bothered by something or someone, but not sure why? Struggled to get over a particular grudge or issue no matter how much you tried? In these cases, something is likely lurking beneath the surface. And journaling is the perfect solution! Journaling helps you clarify your thoughts and emotions so you can overcome issues, reach your goals, and enjoy healthier relationships.

  • Refocus your priorities.

General journal writing or guided writing prompts can help you focus on what really matters in your life. You can use these exercises to work towards a new goal, understand your deeper motivations, and tap into your true self.

  • Identify your blockages or behavior patterns.

Journaling helps you collect evidence on yourself. After a few weeks of journaling, you’ll likely notice that the same issues, themes, or habits come up in your thoughts. By writing it down, you’re more likely to identify these blockages, acknowledge them, and find ways to overcome them.

  • Reduce stress

Stress is a fact of life, but how we manage it makes all the difference. Without healthy outlets for our stress, the constant tension creates imbalances in our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Thankfully, journaling can help to reduce our daily stress and support the mind-body. How? Journaling gives us the power to release our pent-up emotions, fears, and triggers from our minds and bodies and onto the page. When we write down the thoughts that trouble us, we often realize these issues are not so big and can overcome them more easily.

Science even proves it! Studies show that a daily journaling habit is linked to lower blood pressure, less stress, and reduced anxiety.

  • Boost your immunity.

Can writing improve your immune health? Researchers say yes! Those who practice expressive writing have higher-functioning immune systems and a lower risk of immune disease than those who do not. Journaling has also been shown to improve lung function, liver function, and overall well-being.

  • Improve your memory.

A healthy brain is essential for healthy aging. Journaling can help! This simple practice helps keep your memory sharp and improve your learning ability, focus, cognitive processing, and more.

How to Make Journaling Part of Your Healing Journey

Journaling is a simple practice that anyone can enjoy. Whether you use journaling to help you through a difficult time, heal from disease, or simply get to know yourself better, it will serve you well throughout your life.

So, how can you make this exercise part of your daily life? Here are a few tips:

  • Make it routine.

Do you have a morning routine or evening routine? Simply add journaling to the habits you already have, so it feels like a natural addition to your day. For instance, instead of scrolling on social media while you enjoy your morning tea or smoothie, sit down with your notebook and pen and write down a few affirmations or thoughts.

  • Take 10.

Setting an achievable writing goal each day is the key to long-term success with journaling. Eventually, you may find yourself writing for an entire hour or more in the mornings, but for now, start simple.

Most people can afford 10 minutes in their morning or evening schedule to journal – and 10 minutes is the perfect amount of time to release your thoughts and enjoy a few mindful journaling moments. When you’re ready, increase your writing time by 10 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. Again, when that feels comfortable, push it to 30 minutes.

  • Embrace the challenge.

Journaling doesn’t come easy for everyone. In fact, most people struggle to start writing down their thoughts when they’re new to journaling! If you want to start journaling, but the idea of it makes you feel anxious or frustrated, keep trying. This resistance is part of the process and you will grow from it. If you struggle to keep up with the habit, consider getting an accountability buddy to make sure you’re staying on top of your journaling goal.

What Should You Write About? Journaling for Healing

Journaling is an entirely personal process, and you don’t have to write anything specific to journal “right.” That being said, having a little guidance in your journaling never hurts. Here are a few helpful journal prompts you can use to get started with your daily journal:

  • Try morning pages.

A simple way to enjoy journaling is a practice called “morning pages” from the popular book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. For this practice, you sit down to write three pages in your journal about whatever is floating around in your head.

  • Try a gratitude journal.

Try a gratitude journaling exercise if writing your thoughts, memories, or reacting to a prompt feels too overwhelming. Each morning and evening, write down three things you are grateful for. Alternatively, you could write down three things you are looking forward to in the morning and three good things that happened that day in the evening.

  • Try guided prompts.

Guided journal prompts help you to focus on a topic, memory, or goal so you can quickly put pen to paper and let your thoughts flow. Here are some ideas, but feel free to make up your own!

  1. My favorite memory is…I surprised myself most when I…
  2. If I could go anywhere, it would be…
  3. The three things I love most in life are…
  4. A simple pleasure that I couldn’t live without is ___ because …
  5. To me, mindful living is…
  6. In one year, I hope to be…
  7. I know today will be special because…
  8. My biggest strength is…
  9. I feel most loved when…

Embrace Journaling for a Healthier Life

Journaling is one of the most effective ways to embrace your uniqueness and practice conscious mindfulness. Through journaling, we are free to explore our deeper thoughts, connect with our inner selves, let our minds wander, and dare to dream.
With a clearer head, we live healthier and happier lives. Start a journaling practice today and start enjoying the many benefits of expressive writing!

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