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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Thinking about journalling? Here's what you should consider

The concept of journalling isn't new. We've long been aware of the benefits of putting pen to paper. That cathartic experience of writing down when you're thinking. But if you've never given it a try, it can feel like a daunting task. I spoke to Marie Claire all about the benefits of journalling. Click here to read the full article, and read on to learn what I had to say.

What are the benefits of journalling? The psychiatrist Dan Siegel coined the phrase, ’name it to tame it’.  This aptly describes how when we express our feelings in words, we are able to calm and soothe our emotional reactions and our nervous system.  

Journalling encourages us to focus inwards, and to explore the feelings that we might otherwise ignore, reject, or suppress.  It helps us to notice what’s going on inside us, which can help us to understand how we are behaving in our relationships with other people.  It gives us space to put words to feelings that we might feel frightened or embarrassed to share with the outside world.  

When's the best time of day to journal? The most important thing is to find a time of day that works for you.  Journalling should feel like a choice, a positive step for our wellbeing, rather than a frustrating extra task that’s been added to our day.  So think about when you can carve out an extra pocket of time, and when you feel calm and undisturbed.  

How often should we be journalling? Regular journalling can help us to build momentum and freedom in our practice.  You’ll know yourself well enough to understand what kind of routine might be helpful.  Perhaps a few minutes each day will enable you to get the most out of it.  Or alternatively maybe you’d like to have some space to reflect and pause between each session.  

What's the best way to get started? There are so many products and techniques that target the idea of ‘journalling’.  But it’s honestly just about sitting down with a pen and paper - or a device, if you’re more of a digital native - and letting things flow.  Start by thinking about something that you’re thinking and something that you’re feeling.  See what happens from there.  If you find it hard to find words, then remind yourself that it’s not about completing an academic exercise.  It’s about creating something that feels like an honest reflection of what’s going on inside.  Or you might find it helpful to download a ‘feelings wheel’ to get started.  

I can't find the time to journal - what would you suggest? We can always find the time for the things that matter.  So part of this will involve making sure that it really feels like a priority.  Beyond that, I’d suggest perhaps using it to replace an activity that feels less useful - such as mindlessly scrolling on our devices.  Another suggestion is to try ‘habit stacking’.  To build journalling as a new habit, add it to an existing regular habit in your wellbeing toolkit.  

Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at how you feel about yourself. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.

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