I recently had a doctor’s appointment regarding my severe anxiety and worsening depression, and the doctor suggested something I’ve heard a billion times: keeping a daily journal.
Over the course of my thirty-one years, I’ve tried so many times to get into the habit of keeping a diary, but I inevitably stop doing it after a couple of weeks. Usually, it’s because I forget for a couple of days and stop thinking about it. There have been other times that I was too busy, such as when I was working two jobs, and I wouldn’t leave enough time in my schedule to write.
I have a bunch of empty journals lying around, so I’m trying it once again. One of the things keeping me going this time around is thinking about my future descendants. My grandmother died recently, and I can’t stop thinking about how much I wish she had kept a journal of her daily life. There was so much I didn’t know about her.
Journaling is beneficial for so many reasons, and I wanted to share some of that information with you.
5 Reasons Why Journaling is a Healthy Habit to Maintain
- Reduce stress and anxiety. As I said above, this is the main reason I’m taking up journaling again. Many people find that it’s beneficial to put your thoughts, emotions, and feelings down on paper. It allows you to self-reflect and organize your thoughts, and possibly even view events and situations in a different light.
- Become a better writer. I’m planning on starting work on my first novel soon, and I’ve been consuming a lot of tips on doing so. One of the most frequent suggestions I see for improving your writing, in general, is to make sure you write something every day. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – it can be about things that happened during your day, observations on your surroundings or on current events, or just things you’re dreaming about or wishing for. When you write every day, you’re training your brain and creating a good habit for yourself.
- Improve your memory and comprehension. Engaging in cognitive recall and having to focus your thoughts and life into words improves your memory and reading comprehension. I’ve also read that it can improve your overall communication skills by allowing you to examine your emotions and thought processes more deeply than you normally would.
- Spark your creativity. So many of us have jobs that seem to suck any and all creativity out of us. I work in a beige cubicle in a massive call center, and it’s a struggle to feel inspired there. Creating a daily journaling habit can provide you with a space to think and imagine and come up with new ideas.
- Create a written record of your life. As I said above, I would love to have read any journals written by my family after they’ve passed on. I know other people, especially those of us who are interested in history, would enjoy reading such things as well. If I ever have children and grandchildren, I hope they read my journals someday so they can more fully understand my life and the nature of the past couple of generations.
3 Tips for Starting and Maintaining a Journaling Habit
These tips are just as much written for me as they are for you. I’ve seen so many tips for maintaining a daily writing habit, and these are my three favorites.
- Carve out time in your daily schedule to write. This is something I’ve struggled with in the past, although when I think back on the times when I was at my busiest, I remember a lot of lost time watching Netflix or vegging out on YouTube that I could have spent journaling. I’m planning on writing for at least ten minutes in the morning before I go to work and ten-fifteen minutes at night before bed. I feel like this will give me time in the morning to consider how I want my day to go and prepare myself for any stressful situations that might arise. At night, it’ll allow me to fully process my day.
- Invest in a journal and pen that you love. If you purchase a journal that you think is beautiful, you’re going to be more likely to use it. You can buy a lovely, affordable journal at so many places, so search around until you can find one that is perfect for you. My current journal is just a cheap red one I bought at Micheal’s, and I’ve stuck bookish stickers to it. It’s nothing fancy, but it just makes me feel happy looking at it. I also have a set up sparkly pens that my friend Tawni gave me before I left Asheville, and they make me feel happy when I use them, prompting me to actually sit down and write.
- Remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re writing a journal, not a book that you’re going to send to a publisher. Be yourself, don’t worry about grammar or spelling, and feel free to write whatever you want without fear of it being read or ridiculed. The whole point of journaling is to examine your own feelings and ideas, and it’s much harder to do that if you’re constantly worrying about what someone would think of you if they read it. Write for yourself.
Five Beautiful, Affordable Journals to Help You Get Started
Here are five gorgeous journals to get you started:
This JoyNote faux leather notebook with college ruled paper from Amazon.
Also from Amazon, you can get a classic Moleskin notebook that comes in a variety of colors.
I love the cover of this Rifle Paper Co journal. It’s so pretty!
If you’d rather have blank pages, this refillable Freude notebook might be a good option. It looks like something you’d find in a fantasy world.
This journal is made by Hallmark and you can get it in a variety of pretty covers.
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[…] written on this blog before about journaling and the effect it can have on your life and mood. In my own experience with depression, journaling can provide a necessary outlet to get your […]