Do you keep a journal? Do you struggle with what to write about? Or did you give up writing a journal when you became an adult? Perhaps it’s time to give it another try …

Journal writing is not just for angst-ridden and emotional teenagers. It can be very beneficial to adults as well. The process of writing in a journal on a regular basis has many positive benefits for your mental and emotional health – and can even benefit your physical health if you journal during the process of weight loss or when you undertake a new fitness regime.

Journal writing is recommended by many counsellors and health professionals, as it can help you to:

  • Work through your emotions
  • Vent about an issue which you can’t talk about with others
  • Provide clarity and focus
  • Celebrate your achievements
  • Track your experiences during a particularly period of your life
  • Enhance or develop your creative process
  • Work out what you really want to do
  • Explore the true essence of your personality
  • It’s a great way to practice your writing skills

Journaling has helped me to explore what I’m truly thinking and feeling about certain current and past events, and to work through how I’m dealing with the events that are occurring around me. So often, when I read back over past entries, I think – what was I so worried about? The journaling process helps me get past things and move on.

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A journal with a beautiful cover or decorated pages can inspire creativity. Some people prefer pages which are completely blank – it’s personal preference.

Personally, I much prefer to use pen and paper than to write on the screen. There’s just something about using a bound journal that inspires my creativity, that’s somehow cathartic and healing. Using paper and pen slows down my fast-paced mind and helps me focus only on what I’m writing at that moment.

I choose journals with pretty covers which inspire me when I pick them up. You don’t have to have a fancy cover if you don’t want to. A simple exercise book will do the trick (and it’s easier to rip out a page if you feel inclined!).

I must admit, although I’d love to, I don’t always journal EVERY day. It doesn’t really matter if you can’t get back to your journal every single day. The good part is that it will be sitting there, waiting for you, whenever you find the time, feel inspired or just want to vent about something.

Should you prefer to write on the screen, there are quite a few apps available which provide a platform for journaling, although I would check their security before I posted anything which is saved in a remote location!

One thing I strongly suggest is that you keep your journal to yourself. Your journal is a place where it’s safe to be yourself completely, to express your innermost feelings, hopes, dreams and desires. These should not be shared with others unless there is absolute trust, and unless you feel you want to share what you’ve expressed. What you’ve written can sometimes be misinterpreted or your feelings may have changed just be writing about them – and this may cause problems with loved ones. Keep it somewhere safe.

Of course, not everyone is a natural writer, and the sight of a blank page can be quite daunting if you’re not used to writing.

Here are 9 tips to help ignite your Journal Writing:

  1. Use writing prompts and note down some bullet point lists to start your journaling:
    • What you’re grateful for today, 5 things that happened since…, 5 things you plan to improve on, Favourite books, music, food or artists, Places you’ve loved visiting, Places you want to visit, People who inspire you and why, Your short term and long term goals, Childhood memories ….
  2. Choose an item, then think about all 5 of your senses. What does the item feel like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? Taste like? Look like?
  3. Write one word at the top of the page, then just write whatever comes to mind around that word – for example: Orange, Paint, Flight, Magnet, Still, Wire… pick a word, any word
  4. Sketch, draw or doodle if that’s more your style
  5. Use paint or ink to drop spots onto the page, then write about them and around them once they are dry
  6. Make a collage of pictures or items in colours you like
  7. Some people collect pressed flowers, leaves, ticket stubs, photos, etc. & use them
  8. Write a quote at the top of the page and explore
  9. Set a timer and give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to write – ready, set, go!

So, as you can see, there are many more options with journaling than you may have thought.

Oh, one more thought … If you’re not afraid to share your innermost thoughts with the world, you could start a blog and post it online for all the world to see. The experience can be both liberating and terrifying – think about who reads it first!

What are your experiences with journaling? Do you manage to write in your journal every day?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT