Benefits of Journaling


woman journaling. Des Moines MomWe all made it to another year! Go us! I don’t know about anyone else but the end of 2021 into the beginning of 2022 were ROUGH! Between illness, holiday stress, and other random life happenings- I was not off to the best start of 2022. I was feeling on edge, restless, tired of being sick and tired, and irritable.

I was taking the garbage out one frigid afternoon and had a realization that I wasn’t doing so great. My emotions were all over the place, I was getting snappy with my family, and the worst part- I was experiencing a mix of emotions I couldn’t quite pinpoint.

I sat down and began to journal. I didn’t have a plan or guess of what I might write but when I did, thoughts and emotions just seemed to spill out. Things I wasn’t even aware I was thinking or feeling! I didn’t realize how fast stressors had built up since November and NO WONDER I was feeling the way I was feeling. Stressed, on edge, and so on.

Journaling is a coping skill I have used since I was a teenager. I had a diary (oh that brings me back to my diary with a lock) and would write in it consistently. But I stopped journaling when I went to college and didn’t pick it back up until I had two babies and was struggling with some past experiences that were being resurfaced after having kids.

Journaling helped bring things into perspective for me then and I got out of it what I needed at that time. Since then I journal sporadically. If there is a big stressor in my life it helps for me to get it out of my head and onto paper and make sense of what I’m thinking and feeling.

After the build-up of emotions since November, I decided I would commit to journaling more, hopefully once a day or at least several times a week! Already, I feel a relief and sense of gaining more control of my thoughts and emotions.

Benefits of Journaling

The process of journaling itself, transferring your thoughts onto paper- is another layer of processing your brain does that helps us cope.

It is also a helpful experience to get your thoughts and emotions out physically on paper, where you can actually see it.

Journaling provides insight and understanding. I love reading through past journal entries to see how far I’ve come, how I managed a certain stressful situation, and notice patterns or other interesting insights.

How to begin

Even if you don’t consider yourself a great writer, journaling can be an excellent option for you, especially as we all continue to parent through a pandemic.

Get yourself a special notebook or pen, dedicated to journaling. This can make it exciting to begin! It also doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve definitely written on scrap paper before when I just needed to express how I’m feeling in the moment.

There are also several apps you can get for journaling. I love writing on physical paper but just recently downloaded an app to try. I’m hoping it will encourage me to journal more.

Take the pressure off- with journaling- there are NO rules. There is no right or wrong.

Set a timer. You don’t have to journal for a set amount of time. If you’re first starting out, set a time for 1 minute, 5 minutes- whatever feels comfortable at first!

Some days won’t be an AHA moment or anything spectacular or on the flip side- anything terrible either. I use journaling to also acknowledge the in-between. Some days it might just be a brief check-in and I might only spend 1-2 minutes journaling.

I’d encourage everyone to at least give journaling a try at least once! It might really help sort out emotions or thoughts and is a great tool!


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