I love journaling!

Not too long ago, my cousin and I were talking and she said to me "you are always telling people to journal" and she was correct. Journaling has many benefits; it helps with self reflection, stress relief as well as processing thoughts and feelings; just to name a few.

Journaling can help manage anxiety and help cope with depression. Journaling is also a good coping mechanism for adults and children.

I have a lot of respect for poets and lyricists. Many writers find therapy while creating content. It is a healthy way for them to express their emotions and it gives them a voice they otherwise might not have had. In my adolescent years I had so much to say, but felt I did not have a voice. It took years for me to realize that writing down my thoughts and feelings was a simple way for me to find my voice, whether I shared it with others or not. After having my third child I was filled up with so many emotions, I knew it would be challenging to express them in a rational way. To cope, I wrote down how I felt and everything I wanted to say with curse words and plenty of exclamation marks (in fact while writing this I'm having a vision of that song "I hate you so much right now" by Kelis because that's how intense my body and soul felt at that time). After journaling, I felt good inside and my mood improved. It helped me de- stress and gain control of my emotions which actually helped me learn more about myself. Journaling is also a good way to problem solve. There have been plenty of times I was able to come up with solutions on my own after writing.

Below are a few tips to get you started.

Starting tips on how to journal

1. Set aside a time to journal everyday

2. Write what you feel- there is no right or wrong, no structure, write freely

3. Keep pen and paper around so you can write whenever you feel the need (you can also use memo or notepad on your phone or tablet if you like

4. Use prompts to help you focus on a particular subject you want to journal in such as:

- Describe a time you felt especially valued and loved

- Describe a day in your life that was especially enjoyable. What made that day so good?

- Name a book that spoke to you on a personal level and why

- If you had a theme song what would it be?

- Describe a time you mistreated someone. How did you feel about the behavior and what would you say to the person now?

- True or false: " I know how to stick up for myself". Explain your answer.

- How can I make time for things that bring me joy?

- 5 things I would like to do more of

- What's on my mind right now

- What do I need to get off my chest today 

Journaling can also be directed towards a specific group, such as children. To help your children, let them pick out there own journal. This has personal meaning and allows them to feel a sense of ownership over it. There are kids journals that already have prompts in them, however if you want to create your own prompts, here are some ideas to get you started.

Examples of question journal prompts for children

1. What makes you unique?

2. What holiday do you most enjoy and why?

3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?

4. Who is the athlete you like the best?

5. What type of super powers would you like to have? How would you use it?

6. What kind of music do you like?

7. Describe yourself in 10 words

8. What is one thing you would like to get better at?

9. Name one thing you can't live without?

Examples of gratitude journal prompts for children

1. Write about what you love about your family

2. What are some good ways to show your gratitude when someone does something nice for you?

3. Write about something good about your day

4. Name 3 people in your life you are grateful for

5. What is one thing you love about yourself?


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