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DANIELLE JANUARY 6, 2021

Journaling For Mental Health: How To Get Into The Habit Of Writing For You

If you’re new to journaling or you’ve lost your way with your practice, here’s some useful tips for getting into the habit of writing for yourself.

Journal practice can work wonders for mental clarity and mindfulness. From tracking your feelings, anxiety triggers and your menstrual cycle to savouring life’s simple pleasures, expressive writing can be a great tool for connecting with your truth and expressing daily gratitude and positivity.

If you’re new to journaling or you’ve lost your way with your practice, here’s some useful tips for getting into the habit of writing for yourself.

Image credit: archerandolive

Make it a regular ritual

Experiment with different times and settings and see what feels most valuable to you.

Carve out a regular slice of time for your journaling and be consistent with it, whether that be a short burst first thing in the morning whilst savouring your cup of coffee, last thing at night before you hit the pillow or a big journal session once a week. Prioritising your writing practice just like any other form of self-care, will set you up for success and encourage you to check in with yourself each day. Experiment with different times and settings and see what feels most valuable to you.

Lean into your writing

Much like heading out for a power walk or blitzing the house top to bottom when you’re feeling stressed, turning to you journal in your hour of need comes highly recommended. Granting yourself the space to sit and write can help you make sense of your worries and process everything from arguments to five-year plans and creative pursuits.

Journal freely

These pages are yours, so whenever you feel a pressure to censor and self-edit your thoughts and feelings, breathe and let go.

You don’t need to make poetry with your words, it just needs to be honest and judgement-free. These pages are yours, so whenever you feel a pressure to censor and self-edit your thoughts and feelings, breathe and let go. Successful journaling practice starts when you write without inhibition. Make it your very own beautiful mess and write for your eyes only. It doesn’t need to be polished and ready to publish.

Image credit: hearthandmade.co.uk

Take pride in your tools

Journaling can be as fancy pants or as basic as you want to make it, the point is it should be a pleasure. Like drinking a glass of water after a long walk or lighting a candle to mark the end of your working day, it should be a welcoming and meditative ritual and if that means investing in a beautiful notebook you can treasure for years to come and colour coded pens for every mood, so be it.

Set your intention

If you find the thought of staring at a blank page each day a little too daunting, use writing prompts or templates to set the intention of your practice and give your writing structure and purpose. I.e. What three things am I grateful for today? Or, what inspired me today? What colour was my day, today?

Image credit: theglowupproject.com

It’s ok if you don’t feel like writing…

On days when journaling feels like one painfully mammoth task, feel free to rest and revisit another day.

Whilst it’s good to be consistent with your journaling, sometimes certain life events mean we can’t always confront our feelings or our truth with such head-on acceptance. Sometimes, writing and working through our difficulties is healing and other times it’s just not the right time. On days when journaling feels like one painfully mammoth task, feel free to rest and revisit another day.

Experiment with different journal forms

There is a myriad of ways to journal. For some, putting to pen to paper is all part of the experience. The texture of the paper and the sound of the pen scribbling across the page is all part of a sensory and tactile practice but for others, focusing on handwriting just exacerbates the pressure to get it perfectly neat. Tune into what feels good for you! If you’re visual, maybe a doodle journal with a few sentences is a more suitable way to express your creativity and if you’re always on the go, maybe a digital journal is the way forward. There is no wrong way to journal, so do it your way.

Image credit: Archer and Olive

If in doubt, focus on gratitude

On the days when the writing has all dried up, turn your focus to the ultimate mood-booster: gratitude journaling. It’ll help your words flow, promote positivity and give you that much needed motivation to carry on with your practice. Zero in on a handful of things you appreciate that day and really bask in the emotion of gratitude.

Switch up your environment

Your setting matters so if you’re feeling uninspired, try writing somewhere new or take your journal outside and get the senses going. Forest bathing and journaling sounds like a 10/10 self-care practice to us.

Make a writing playlist

Some of us need complete silence whilst others prefer the ambient noise of a café or a favourite playlist, if that’s you, block out the rest of the world and set the mood for your journaling session with a gentle soothing playlist. That way it’s just you, your journal and your writerly bops.

Are you into journaling? What are some of your top tips for beginners?

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Ella Paasch

As someone that really wants to take up journaling (to benefit my mental health), but has no clue where to start or what to do, this was incredibly helpful. I now know what will work best for me based on the tips and techniques that were shared. Thanks so much for sharing this post it was really helpful and I will always come back to it if I’m ever stuck in the future with journaling.

Trisha

i’m really into journaling, like when i say “I’m into” i am literally into it. but sometimes, i don’t have the motivation to open my notebook and start writing because it reminds me of all my doubts, and worries, which is ironic by the way because when i write, i never really write my whole thoughts because i’m scared to admit that i have this problem and etc. i guess what i’m trying to say is, thanks because i really realized that i should just write my thoughts without limitation, and in that way, i’d be able to really assess everything and validate myself. thanks zoella and your team.

Caitríona

I’ve been writing in various diaries for 11 years and they’re also such a cool thing to have – your life on paper for you to look back on! I write at least a page every night before bed, even if my day has been really boring, because I know I’ll appreciate it in the future that I can look back and see what I was doing and thinking on this day however many years ago. There are definitely days I write more than others but if I feel stressed or angry, I find it’s better to let my anger out onto a page and say what I want to say there, or work through my feelings there, rather than aim them at someone when it’s quite often unnecessary and would do more harm than good😊

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