a : a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use : diary
b : a record of current transactions; especially : a book of original entry in double-entry bookkeeping
c : an account of day-to-day events (Merriam Webster)
Journaling, as described above, is what you might remember doing as a child or adolescent at the end of the day. Many of us have kept a diary or journal at various times of our lives to keep track of things that happened and how we were feeling, to write about a crush or a time we felt harmed by a friend or loved one.
Keeping a journal can be whatever you want it to be. Some people choose to buy a book made just for this purpose, others keep their thoughts using a app such as Five Minute Journal or penzu, and still others decide to use sticky notes or a simple sheet of lined paper. No matter where you decide to organize your thoughts there are great benefits to doing so on a daily basis.
Journaling is a great way to manage stress, process emotions, and evaluate your thoughts. It is also a perfect opportunity to show gratitude, gain acceptance, and provide yourself with loving-kindness.
Download the PDF below to get started with journaling in as little as 5 minutes a day.
If you're having trouble getting into the routine of journaling daily, here are a few things you can try.
1. Keep your journal and your favorite pen in a place that is visible and easily accessed such as your bedside table or under the television remote. When you sit down to watch your favorite show or get into bed after a long day at school or work, take five minutes to journal about your day using the questions listed in the PDF, things you are thankful for, or anything else you feel might be beneficial for you in the moment.
2. Make it a part of your routine. Pairing journaling with something that you are already doing on a daily basis is a great way to ensure that you make it a habit. It might be something you do first thing in the morning while your drinking your cup of tea, or the last thing you do before bed as part of your bedtime routine.
3. Take it slow. If, when you sit down to write, the words just won't flow, take a break and come back to it later. Writer's block is a common struggle when starting a journal and you may be overthinking it. Try answering one question, instead of all five, or try finishing the sentence, "Today, I am grateful for...".
While the benefits of journaling are extensive, it's important that its a positive experience for you otherwise it will just become another ... of stress in your life. If you're struggling to find strategies for managing stress that work for you a therapist can help you find your way. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. We'd be happy to join you on your journey.