When the term journaling gets mentioned, many folks think of a sticker-covered notebook hidden under a teenager’s mattress filled with entries that begin “Dear Diary.” In actuality, journaling can be a powerful tool to improve your mental health. Numerous studies have shown the mental health benefits of journaling, including reduced stress, anxiety and depression, to name a few.
So, how do you start journaling? Well, there isn’t really a wrong answer here. To quote George Washington in the Broadway hit Hamilton, just “pick up a pen, start writing.” It’s up to you what you put in your journal, and here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of it.
- Have a designated journal. This could be a 25-cent spiral notebook or a more expensive Moleskine.
- Set aside a standard time to journal. This will help you turn journaling into a habit. Most people pick either the beginning or end of the day. Find what works best for you!
- Writing by hand tends to be the most effective as it forces you to slow down, but feel free to use a computer or your phone if that’s what you prefer.
- Use a journal prompt if you’re having trouble getting started. There is a link to some prompts below.
- Keep it simple. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to get benefits from journaling.
Here are a few links to help you get started: