Journaling can enable you to release your emotions leading to improved mental health and in some cases, improved physical health. Daily journaling gives you the tools to view any problems that you may have experienced that day in a calm and objective manner, removed from the situation and the possibilities of causing harm or inflaming a situation. Journaling has benefits for everyone – even if you think you can’t write.
How to start journaling
The first place to start if you want to record the goings on in your life is to buy yourself a notebook. Go to the stationery store and pick out the most attractive notebook you can afford. Your journal is your own special book, there is no need to show it to another person or even to share with other people the fact that you journal. It is your place for your thoughts, feelings, emotions and reflections. Let your notebook choice reflect your personality. If you would prefer, you can use a word processing package to prepare a typed journal. It is up to you.
The next thing to do is to make a commitment to start journaling. For instance you may decide that each night for 15 minutes before you go to bed you will spend some time reflecting on your day and making an entry into your journal. Find a quiet place, away from the pressures of the day and start writing about your day – don’t worry if you feel that you are not a writer – you simply have to tell a willing companion want went on today. Your journal is like your best friend or lover – it wants to know what happened to you and how you feel about it. Take your time and don’t worry if you stumble over the words – just write down what comes into your head.
What to Write About
If you are unsure what to write about or feel that your day is not of any interest, try these headings:
- thoughts or event (for example I had an argument with my wife/husband)
- feelings (for example I feel bad that I shouted or annoyed that my spouse didn’t listen to my problems, etc)
- behaviours (what you did, for example – I went and sat in another room, I didn’t talk to him/her for the rest of the night)
After you have written about your day, spend a few moments analysing your own writing – you are not looking for grammatical errors here or even to improve your writing style but simply to analyse what you have done today and how you feel about it. You may like to make some notes about how you would handle things differently if the situation arises again or what you liked about the way you handled the situation.
Journaling is a great emotional release and if practised regularly can lead to greater self awareness and knowledge of our behaviour in certain situations, allowing you to find a way to make changes for the better. Start writing today