Journaling may seem like a teenage thing to do, because our first memory may be Dear Diary…Journaling may not come easy, it can take time to understand the process. The process is simple: Breath. Write. Do not overthink.
Once you start researching the process of journaling and why we should be doing it. You may start formulating your thought process through your Ego. Journaling is meant to be pure. Pure thought. Pure emotions that we set aside because life is too distracting. We should be able to pick up a pen and write down what makes us, Us. Why do you think that it’s become a task that we keep procrastinating at?
In my opinion, it’s because of the social media distractions happening in the world right now. The pressures of it have been crippling. Why? We live for the aesthetic, let me give you an example:
- Our house decor must be that of a Pinterest board.
- Our Instagram is thought out to the caption.
- Our Twitter accounts are locked because it may just be the only place of solitude – yet we don’t want future or current relationships to see our true thoughts.
- Our Facebook profiles are curated newsfeeds that do not provoke any sort of engagements.
- Seems like TikTok has shaken things up the last few months.
Journaling allows you to become conscious of your thoughts and actions of your life. It allows you to think about the way you should be treated and the way you should treat others. It grounds and centres you in a way that nothing else can. It opens all sorts of topics that may be current life happenings or that of the past.
It creates a deeper meaning to your life, opportunities for you to reach a goal and it will boost your mood.
It’s hypothesized that writing works to enhance our mental health through guiding us towards confronting previously inhibited emotions (reducing the stress from inhibition), helping us process difficult events and compose a coherent narrative about our experiences, and possibly even through repeated exposure to the negative emotions associated with traumatic memories (i.e., “extinction” of these negative emotions)Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005, Emotional and Physical Health Benefits of Expressive Writing.
Baikie and Wilhelm (2005) offer the following tips to ensure your journaling is constructive:
- Write in a private and personalized space that is free from distractions;
- Write at least three or four times, and aim for writing consecutively (i.e., at least once each day);
- Give yourself some time to reflect and balance yourself after writing;
- If you’re writing to overcome trauma, don’t feel obligated to write about a specific traumatic event—journal about what feels right at the moment;
- Structure the writing however it feels right to you;
- Keep your journal private; it’s for your eyes only—not your spouse, not your family, not your friends, not even your therapist (although you can discuss your experience with your therapist, of course!).
I’ve also found that breathing/meditating before I journal, works so well for me that I take 10mins in the morning and evening: 5mins breathing and 5mins journaling until my journaling started increasing to sometimes an hour! Let me know what works for you down below in the comments!