Journaling as an adult is a funny thing. When we’re young, it seems so natural and necessary to write our thoughts down. But for some reason, as we get older we tend to lose this habit. Perhaps it’s because as life gets busier, we get distracted and slowly cut out the “unnecessary” things that take up too much time, like writing in a diary. But, it’s when we’re busiest that journaling can be the most beneficial to our mental health and wellness.
Writing down our thoughts can help us get in touch with our feelings. There’s nothing like having what is running through our mind, laid out in front of our eyes. Taking the time to stop and write about what’s affecting us allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our life and pinpoint areas of stress and concern or, on the contrary, happiness! Journaling helps us check in with ourselves and process our emotions. It also helps to clear our head of any ‘loop thoughts’ – you know, the thoughts that continue to loop through our mind over and over again and drive us absolutely crazy.
A close friend of ours, Holly Neil* (24), used journaling as an outlet in high school, while dealing with bullying.
‘I was 17 at the time and it was just typical high school stuff, but I was really struggling to cope,’ says Holly. ‘I went to the doctors for unrelated reasons and he asked me if I was mentally okay. After a quick talk, he told me I needed to start journaling. I was reluctant at first as I felt this was pretty dramatic, but my sister took me “diary shopping” and convinced me to give it a go.’
‘At first, I didn’t know what to write, so what I did was when I listened to music, I would start to write down lyrics. These could be lyrics that were relating to me at the time or lyrics that I just liked. Once I had been doing this for a while, I gradually started to write down my thoughts. After doing this for a while, I began to look forward to journaling. It really was a way for me to unleash without having to speak out loud.’
Keeping a diary can also help us to achieve our goals. When we write down what we aspire to do in life, it instantly becomes real. A journal can help to keep us accountable for our goals and on track to achieve them. Plus, it can spark inner creativity and confidence, so who knows what we might be able to achieve in doing so (is Bridget Jones ringing a bell to anyone else here?).
If you’re interested in keeping a journal, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some helpful tips:
· Pick a journal you love! It’s so important to choose a book that visually inspires you. There are plenty of stores that stock super cute journals, like Kikki.K, Typo and Smiggle. Even Kmart sells beautiful, inexpensive journals.
· Write whatever comes to mind and don’t feel pressured to continue writing pages on end just for the sake of it! If you’re struggling, simply start your sentences with ‘I think’, ‘I feel’ or ‘I wonder’, and see what you come up with next. Don’t ever judge yourself for what you write. Your journal is a safe place for you to record whatever you feel at the time.
· Find the time to write in your journal every day. Even just 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to sleep can be more than enough time to get your thoughts on paper.
· If you can’t sleep, or you wake in the middle of the night, whip out your journal and write down what’s on your mind. The physical act of transferring these thoughts to paper can clear your head and help you get to sleep. You can then reflect on what you were thinking about the next morning with a rested, refreshed and clearer mind.
· Dedicate different journals to different topics; for example, a gratitude journal, a goals journal, a positive journal and a negative journal. If you decide to keep a negative journal, throw it away every two weeks to ensure you’re never holding on to those destructive thoughts!
*name has been changed.
Based in Queanbeyan, Bodhifit is a mother daughter duo who are passionate about holistic health. After practicing hatha yoga for several years and experiencing significant transformation and growth, they were inspired to create Bodhifit Studio – a place where you can switch off from the world and work with both your body and mind to improve your overall health and wellness. Their aim is to create a community where people uplift each other, share stories and make friends in a fun and happy environment.