Health Advocate Blog

Increase your self-knowledge through journaling

When’s the last time you kept a journal? If your answer is “when I was a kid,” it may be time to buy a notebook and start writing! Let’s take a look at how to get started, the many health benefits you could enjoy through journaling, and tips to help you stick with it.

Getting started

Choose your method of writing. Do you prefer pen and paper? Or want to keep a digital journal? Whichever method you choose, make sure it is easy and accessible so you can write when you need to.

Make a plan to keep it safe and private. It’s best if you journal honestly, without worrying what others might think of what you’re writing. Therefore, you may wish to keep your journal for your eyes only.

Select your focus. Write about anything you’d like as long as the primary focus is yourself and your feelings! Examples include:

  • Daily events and how they made you feel
  • Parts of the day or events you want to “let go” of and why
  • “Wins” of the day and what makes them exciting
  • Your problems or stressors, feelings they cause, and possible solutions to them
  • Goals you may have, steps you’re taking toward meeting them and progress you’ve made

Journaling may help you…

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings, providing you with increased self-knowledge
  • Manage stress, fear, or anxiety, or just help to take your problems off your chest a little more
  • Work through traumatic events by allowing you to process and release the emotions that were involved
  • Increase happiness and well-being when writing about positive events and aspects of your life
  • Help you track your progress when working toward goals

Tips for journaling

Try to make it a habit. Write something every day. It doesn’t matter how “good” or long it is—it just matters that you wrote something!

Make time for it. To make journaling a priority, you’ll need to make a little time for it. Lok at your schedule to see where you could carve out 5 to 10 minutes of writing time. Perhaps right after you get up, or right before bedtime?

Don’t stress about it. You don’t need to worry about proper grammar or punctuation, or the quality of your handwriting, when you’re journaling.

Sometimes it may be beneficial to share with others. If you do want to show someone you trust—a friend, a counselor, or a loved one—you may want to plan to only show them select pages that you’re okay with them reading.

Remember, the goal of journaling is to learn more about the most important person in your life—you!