Getting Into the Habit: Journaling

Picture Credits: Kelly Sikkema

Whether it be to learn something new, escape reality for some time, or simply to enjoy some down time, everybody places a lot of emphasis on the countless benefits of reading for pleasure. It’s probably a huge goal for many people in the new year, and understandably so. However, when was the last time you ever sat down and did some writing for fun?

It has been suggested that writing can optimize your creative potential; improve communication skills; generate clarity and congruence; improve organisation; and ingrain learning. Reportedly, journaling can initiate a domino effect because once you are able to grasp one practice you are initiating your ability to function as per a routine. So, what exactly is the best way to maintain a journaling habit?

There is no right way to journal. It takes many forms and is a unique experience for each individual. Some choose to treat their journal like a diary to simply recall the day’s events, others treat it like a to-do list. Some find it useful to track their health data, others concentrate on positive affirmations. It is entirely up to you.

Personally, this week while journaling every day, I kept the content of my writing quite broad. This way I was able to discover the most ideal journaling style for me. MTo get the most out of journaling would be to make a list of prompts i.e:

My personal tip to get the most out of journaling would is to write a list of prompts, for example:

-goals and targets

-achievements and accomplishments (big and small)

-what you are grateful for

-intentions

-weather

-mood/ feelings

-sleep

-food diary

-worries

The results

Mood: Not only is January a tiring month, it is riddled with the constant pressure to dictate a perfect year. With the introduction of a national lockdown, uni deadlines and the weather inducing a sombre mood, it is easy to feel apprehensive and overwhelmed. Being able to have a personal and private place to process particular events, thoughts and feelings was relieving. Because I was journaling on a night, I found myself looking forward to having a place to vent my feelings. As absurd as it may sound, I genuinely felt my anxiety reduce noticeably in just one week.

Productivity: If there are small practices that you are trying to keep consistent throughout the day, such as tracking your sleeping patterns or screen time, then keeping a small section for this in your journal is not only a good way of keeping consistent with journaling, but also helps you to trace your progress and reward yourself for any achievements that you may otherwise deem insignificant. For me personally, something I am aiming to improve on is calling friends and family more. I was able to do this more frequently than I usually would this week, which was satisfying. 

Creativity: Because there really are no limits on how to journal, it is a good opportunity to tap into your creative side and see what innovative ideas or concepts you can conjure up. On days you choose not to write, you can doodle; you can collect little receipts; you can stick your polaroid and photos into it; it’s entirely your own choice.

Rating

Overall, I think journaling is comparable to taking pictures, the exact objective is obscure, but it is fun to do anyway and so, I would rate this experience quite highly. I found that journaling every day reduced my screen time, helped me to organise my thoughts and made me feel more positive.

By Ifra Mahmood

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