Have you tried journaling? It can be a very helpful practice to get your thoughts out onto paper, and helps you find mental clarity. This is true for many reasons, and you can do a variety of different journaling practices.
When you write, it helps you formulate your thoughts and get out of your head so much, and release your negative thinking. This allows you to approach the day with a clear mind.
Some people recommend writing first thing in the morning, with habits like a gratitude journal or morning pages.
Types of Journaling
There are many ways to journal, and you can write either first thing in the morning as a part of your self-care routine, or right before you go to bed to clear your head before you go to sleep. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to be consistent.
You can journal in several different ways:
Write about your day
Journal about goals
Any of these practices can be helpful for your mental health, because it helps to reduce your anxious thoughts, and get your feelings and thoughts out onto the paper.
You can do one of these kinds of journaling, or a combination.
One of the most common ways to journal is called morning pages. I started doing this at the suggestion of my life coach a couple of years ago, and find it very helpful. To do morning pages, you write 3 pages first thing when you get up. It is supposed to be 3 pages, so that you can get all your feelings out from your subconscious right when you wake up. This is a time when you are more in touch with your subconscious mind.
Some benefits of morning pages, according to Journey, are:
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand
Clear your mind
Make you less anxious
It is a good idea generator
It is an avenue to rant, vent your emotion
All of these benefits make morning pages an easy way to journal and clear your mind of anxious thoughts before you start the day. Personally, I get up in the morning and do yoga and then my morning pages. It is a great way to start the day!
A gratitude journal is another great way to start the day. It is simple and quick. You just pull out your journal and jot down 3-5 things that you are grateful for. This allows you to start the day with a positive mindset, and sets the mood for the rest of the day.
Conversely, you could also do a gratitude journal right before bed, and write down the things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. Make sure to be as specific as possible. This allows you to find something good to think about right before you go to sleep, and can help you sleep better.
Benefits of Journaling
There are many benefits to a journaling practice, and this isn't just true for people who are writers, it is true for anyone looking for a good self-care practice that you can easily do at home.
According to Microsoft, there are many benefits to journaling:
Sharper memory and boosted recall
Stronger communication skills—written and otherwise
Increased creativity and creative flow
Goal tracking, which often leads to goal accomplishment
Stronger emotional health through mindfulness
Anxiety management and reduction
Stress management and reduction
Coping with depression mindfully
Boosted immune system strength and response
Fewer symptoms of chronic conditions like asthma or arthritis
Faster wound healing
Improved sleeping habits
They point out that although research studies have shown these benefits from journaling, in some cases it is unclear why the benefits exist. Some it is clear right away, but others not so much.
When you journal, it is great for both your physical and mental health, and it is an easy habit to incorporate into your day. All you need is a notebook and a pen, nothing fancy or expensive. Although, if you want to make your journal practice more appealing, you can get a pretty notebook and pens for your writing.
If you are already a writer, it may seem like a journaling practice is redundant, however this couldn't be further from the truth. When you journal, it takes away the stress of thinking about writing for an audience, you just free write whatever comes into your mind.
This can increase your creativity, and help you get into a flow state more easily. Once you get used to getting into flow, it can help your other writing immensely, as you will be able to write faster, and with less writer's block.
The more you write, the better you get at writing. You don't always have to write with the goal of publishing something. When you write for yourself, you allow yourself to be more open and creative. This creativity can carry over into the things that you are writing for an audience as well.
With the many benefits of journaling, it is a great self-care practice to add to your daily routine. It can reduce your stress levels throughout the day, help you be more creative, and help you sleep better.
All this can make you a happier and healthier person more easily. Also, there is a lot that you can learn about yourself from getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper.
Many therapists and life coaches will recommend starting a journaling practice, so that you can use the introspection to change your life. This allows you to be more open to yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings.
As you begin to enjoy the benefits of journaling, it easily becomes a habit that you can look forward to at the start or the end of each day.