I am not a disciplined journaler. I keep trying to be, but it is not a set habit. As a teenager, I religiously journaled about feelings, relationships (good and bad), hopes, and dreams (and that cute boy in class). But, as an adult, it seems daunting and overwhelming. I've talked before about having a gratitude journal - that I can do. But doing more in-depth journaling is a different story.
When I was a counselor, I would encourage people to journal all the time. I would talk about "free-journaling" - not worrying about sentences or if it is making sense, but just writing down any words, thoughts, and phrases that came to mind. I do believe that getting things out of your head and onto paper brings a certain level of clarity and calmness. Looking back over those random writings is then another step in the process of identifying feelings and areas that might need to be addressed. Sometimes it's good to just get the words out of your head and then let them go.
Journaling does not have to be fancy or formal. And those journal entries don't have to be pages long. Starting with a short amount of time (I'm talking 3-5 minutes) might be enough to develop the habit. I like doing it at the end of the day to help prepare my mind and body for rest.
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increased self-awareness
- Problem-solving and decision making
- Personal growth and goal-setting
- Accountability to self
- Preserve memories