One of the best wellness tools or trends that can change your mood and positively influence your day-to-day life is journaling. Journaling is the act of writing down your thoughts, feelings and goals to understand them more clearly and connect with yourself.
While journaling and writing diary entries has been around for centuries, journaling has become increasingly popular over the last few years as a way to better manage your mental health and be more mindful. The process of journaling is said to have many benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep, processing emotions and becoming more at one with your fears, thoughts and goals.
Personally, I’ve wanted to try journaling for a while. As someone who has anxiety, I’ve tried many different things to help ease my anxious thoughts and feelings, like going for a run, the 4-7-8 breathing trick and now, journaling! At the start of this new year, I decided to challenge myself to journal every single day for a month – and this is what I found…
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What happened when I tried journaling for a month
Now before we get into it, I’m going to be completely honest: I tried journaling for a month in November and failed. Then I tried in December… and failed again! I couldn’t make journaling an everyday habit and I think this is probably because I didn’t do enough research or put enough effort into it. I decided since we started a new year to make journaling a priority in January, which is probably the best decision I could have made.
To kick off this challenge, I picked an attractive lined notebook and kept it on my bedside table. If you want to make journaling a habit, choosing a journal that looks good will make you more excited to write in it. Keeping it by my bed meant that I would be more compelled to write in it in the mornings or evenings, which is what many sources tell you to do. Having said that, I liked mixing up the times that I journaled, but found that writing in the evening worked best for me because I’m not the best at waking up in the morning.
Now let’s get into the writing. Where I went wrong the last time I tried journaling was sticking to writing the same kind of thing everyday. Unsurprisingly, this became boring very quickly and began avoiding journaling. To set myself up for success this time, I looked up journaling prompts on Instagram and journaling websites. If you’re trying to get into journaling, keeping a note on your phone or in your journal with prompts is the best tip I could give you as it keeps you motivated, creative and excited to write.
Once I started journaling, it became extremely cathartic to get out my thoughts and feelings. I started to look forward to writing in my journal even though I had no idea what to write sometimes and I liked mixing up the different times of day that I would write in it, especially if I was feeling stressed or worried.
Kicking off this challenge at the start of the year was a great idea as I started to write entries surrounding my goals for the year, what I learned from last year and more. As someone who loves to-do lists, I made it a habit to write my intentions and fun events for the week every Monday and a ‘Sunday reset’ routine every Sunday. I would then revisit these entries throughout the day and week to tick things off.
I tried journaling for a month: Verdict
After a month of journaling everyday, I found it to be a positive experience, especially for my anxiety and motivation levels. It’s definitely something I’ll continue doing throughout the year as I found writing things down therapeutic, mood-boosting and stress-relieving.
I have to say that making journaling a habit everyday is much easier if you’ve set yourself a challenge. For example, in January, I started running 5 times a week and I was doing Dry January, so if I wasn’t sure what to write about, I’d do any entry where I’d check in on my progress. If you want to give journaling a go yourself, I’d suggest trying it after a big event like new year or a birthday, so you can do a lot of reflecting and planning which will make it easier for you to be consistent.
I don’t think you necessarily need to journal everyday to feel the effects. This strictness might put some people off but if you want to be more mindful in 2023, making journaling a daily or weekly practice is definitely a wellness resolution you can actually stick to.