This past year, we’ve been glued to our screens, whether it be a laptop, our phones or television. Ironically, through lockdown, it seems as though we haven’t had much time to reflect on ourselves as we felt the need more than ever to connect to others. Between countless virtual pub quizzes and answering emails late at night (why? because we could and didn’t need to commute), it seems like we would do everything in our power to not have to turn the digital off button off and our inner-consciousness on.
It’s time to put the screens away and get back to the good old pen and paper as we take a further deep dive into the benefits of journaling. Beyond that, we also wanted to share some key tips on how to get started. Telling people to incorporate more wellness into their lives is one thing, but it can seem quite intimidating if you’re unsure as to where to start – otherwise you’re predisposed to thinking it’s not right for you.
The benefits …
Sort through your thoughts
One of the most notable benefits of journaling is sorting through your thoughts. We’ve all known those days where our mind feels like we have a million of tabs open – with one playing music, but we don’t know which one – and journaling helps us to harness all those thoughts and ‘file them’. This is greatly beneficial for those who are more visually stimulated.
Be in the present moment
It’s always easy to get caught up in thinking about the past or the future and we spend very little time practicing ‘living in the now’. Journaling allows us to take a step back and focus on our current emotions and thoughts about the present moment, rather than spiralling in the ‘what could have been’ or ‘what I need to do’.
Achieving goals that are SMART
If your focus is in fact to achieve certain goals you may have – be it personal or professional – journaling is a great way to get started. Think of it like a moodboard for your ideas. However, with any type of planning, be sure to make these goals SMART (yes, we’re going back to marketing 1.0.1) – Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Be more mindful about the goals that you are setting yourself so that you are sure to achieve what you want.
This is all about enhancing your self-awareness and figuring out what triggers you. This is the moment to be honest with yourself. No one is listening, no one is judging you.
Improve your communication skills
Everyone structures their differently, however journaling has been known to improve your general communication skills. The main reason why most don’t talk about their feelings and / or triggers to others is because they have a hard time expressing them. It’s the age-old question … how do you describe a feeling? With a little practice in your journal, you’ll get there.
Spark your creativity
Studies have shown that the act of physically writing enhances your creativity as opposed to brainstorming ideas on a screen. This stimulates areas of your brain as you feel an emotional connection to what you are writing as opposed to typing.
Let go of negative thoughts
Negative thoughts always weigh more in our minds than positivity and unfortunately we can only swipe them under the rug for so long. Journaling has been proven to help let go of negative thoughts you may be harbouring. Once written on paper, you feel a sense of release and this allows you to further contemplate and analyse why this negative thoughts has come to be.
Out top tips on how to get started …
Your brain is a muscle, you need to train it
Just like anyone who gets up naturally to go workout 5 times a week, this didn’t happen overnight. You needed to push yourself and train your muscles. Your brain works the same way. Talking about your feelings – albeit to a piece of paper – may seem unnatural to many, however the more you ‘exercise’ and practice, the easier it gets.
Reflect on what you’ve written
This is key. Writing your thoughts and emotions is just half the challenge. It’s important to reread what you’ve written and take time to reflect on the thoughts that have been emptied from your mind. Learn from these, educate yourself on your emotions so that you are better able to manage them, understand them and ultimately let go of past triggers.
Date every entry
It’s always easy to look at where we still need to go, but it’s important to look back on how far we’ve already come. Dating every entry allows you to go back in time and see the progress you’ve made. Give yourself a pat on the back!
Go beyond the surface
Think of journaling like your very own personal therapy session. You are the patient and the therapist all in one. You not only need to talk about your emotions, but you also need to investigate your thoughts and feelings further. You’ll see that there are days where you may think you don’t have anything to write, but if you take a moment to dig deep you may find that there is something itching away at you.
Give yourself time
Just like your job, family and friends, it’s important for you to dedicate some time to yourself. Pick an hour in the day which best suits you and how long you want to sit down to write. There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s about working around your schedule.
Pick a journal that’s right for you
From colour, texture, size, motivational quotes … choosing the right journal for you will better help you to get into the mindset of picking up your pen or pencil. Having a notebook which fits your personality and your needs offers a great benefit to your mental health.
Here’s our roundup of some of our favourite journals to get you started
Push Team x