There are countless studies that link writing to increased mental health and self-awareness. Writing provides safety, privacy and freedom to express our emotions – including the emotions that we desperately bottle up otherwise. We can take the time to verbalise our thoughts and then revisit them again with a clearer mind.
Here are some tips for effective journaling:
- Dedicate time. Even if it’s just a 15-minute block three times a week. It could be as soon as you wake up, during your morning tea or coffee, on the train to work or school, or just before you go to bed.
- Experiment with mode. Some people love writing by hand because it helps resist the urge to edit. But there’s nothing wrong with typing on your laptop or phone, or even doing voice memos. Have a look at journaling apps like Day One or 1 Second Everyday and find what works for you.
- Find a comfortable place. Do you like having the bustle of a cafe around you when you write? Do you prefer to sit outside quietly on the grass, or at your desk with music playing in your headphones?
- Don’t censor or edit yourself. Be blunt. Be honest. Be real. Nobody has to read your work but you. The point of the exercise is to dig deeper than your surface level thoughts. This can be daunting, but resist the impulse to hold back or create perfection.
- Cool off before you re-read. Leave at least a day between writing an entry and reading it over again to avoid getting stuck in what you’ve already written.