Keeping A Journal To Support Your Wellbeing

Close up of two journals and pencisl

Wellbeing Life Coaching programme

I run a Wellbeing Life Coaching programme for women who feel lost or stuck mentally, emotionally or physically. As part of the programme, I provide six journals. Each journal includes activities and daily exercises based on the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and positive psychology’s model of wellbeing. Working through these journals takes each woman on a journey of self-discovery, so she can identify solution-focused strategies that result in long-lasting changes.

What is a journal?

You may have at some point in your life kept a diary. I certainly did as a teenager. I have memories of sticker-covered notebooks filled with photos, cinema stubs and day-to-day recitations of what happened. Does this sound familiar to you? Or were you more of the lock-and-key type, burying diaries you hoped your parents or siblings would never find?

For me as an adult, journalling feels different to keeping a diary. It’s more of a written record of my thoughts, experiences and observations. It’s about reflection and learning, rather than just memories of a specific event, such as going to the cinema with my best friend.

There is no right or wrong to the way I write in my journal – I am completely in charge of what and how I write. I scribe or doodle daily or sometimes only when I feel the urge. I write with my favourite pen in a gorgeous-looking blood-red notebook. It’s a place where I feel free to express myself. Over time, I have found this type of journalling to be good for my overall wellbeing.

Here are some ‘good for you’ benefits of journalling:

Thank you for the memories post-it

Preserves your memories

A journal is a great way of keeping your memories alive, so you can learn from them. It helps to write down your memories, including thoughts and emotions as they are happening. This way, they will be fresh in your mind and you will be able to record more. If you try to write about it the following day, you might have trouble recalling what you experienced. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget and lose pieces of your life, pieces of yourself.

Improves your writing skills

The more you write, the better a writer you will become. Writing regularly makes writing easier, and will help you to develop your own writing voice. Journalling will enable you to develop new skills that you can use for other kinds of writing. Even if it’s ‘your eyes only’ journalling, it’s an ideal space for experimenting with new writing styles, techniques and subject matter.

Increases creativity

You can use your journal to collect ideas and material for creativity. Journalling unlocks and engages right-brain creativity, which gives you access to your full brainpower. The sights, sounds, tastes and feelings you record, the overheard pieces of conversation, the people you were watching in the street – all of these can be recycled in stories, poems and even as problem-solving solutions. Journalling fosters personal and creative growth.

Sharpens your senses

Journalling helps keep your brain in tip-top shape. Writing about your experience can boost memory and comprehension. Keeping a journal gets you in the habit of noticing the details of your daily life. When you know you are going to write about something, you will pay a different kind of attention to it. Journalling will also increase working-memory capacity, which may be reflected in improved cognitive processing.

Pen and paper with the word love

Fosters a love of writing

You may take sensual pleasure in the velvety looping of ink across the creamy surface of a page or in the private time with your thoughts at the end of a hectic day. You may find it comforting or therapeutic to pour out your emotions in writing. The other side of journalling, of course, is reading – you can always go back to old journals and find windows into your past.

Reduces stress

Journalling is an incredible stress-management tool. It’s a habit worth pursuing because it helps your body to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health. A study showed that expressive writing (like journalling) for only 15 to 20 minutes a day, three to five times over the course of a four-month period, was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver function.

Improves immune function

Expressive writing can strengthen your immunity and decrease your risk of illness. People who journal are more in tune with their health by connecting with inner needs and desires. This helps to improve immune-system functioning and – believe it or not – expressive writing has been shown to improve liver and lung function, and combat certain diseases, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It has even been reported to help wounds heal faster.

Smiling lady

Boosts mood

Journalling can improve your mood and give you a greater sense of overall emotional wellbeing and happiness. It presents an opportunity for emotional release, which helps the brain regulate emotions. Journalling also evokes mindfulness and helps writers remain present while keeping perspective. You will see that as journalling becomes a habit, the benefits become long-term.

Increases self-worth

Research even shows that expressive writing can help individuals develop more structured, adaptive and integrated attitudes about themselves, others and the world. It provides a greater sense of confidence and self-identity. Journalling can help in the management of personal adversity, and change and emphasise important patterns and growth in life.

Stimulates the brain

Put aside your screens when journalling. Writing by hand stimulates and trains the brain in a way digital communication doesn’t. If you’re looking to better your sense of wellbeing, keep a journal. Go on, go ahead – grab a piece of paper or buy a fancy journal and set aside a dedicated space and time for journalling.

Lady thinking with pen in mouth

What are you thinking?

Have I convinced you that journalling is good for you physically, mentally and emotionally?

But what if, like many of us, you find yourself stuck, staring fruitlessly at a blank page? Well, firstly, don’t feel guilty if you are not being consistent or instantly motivated. Simply start where you are, even if that’s initially just writing one single sentence or detailing the specifics of what you had for breakfast. Secondly, don’t preoccupy yourself with perfect punctuation, grammar or spelling. Just write and don’t censor yourself. This is for you. Remember: you don’t have to be Shakespeare.

If you want to find out more about what I do, then please have a look at my website
call me on 07740 457 435
email me using my contact form

and book a free (no obligation) one-hour introductory Wellbeing Life Coaching session

As a Wellbeing Life Coach, I cannot praise you highly enough, Jules. THANK YOU.

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