How Journaling Can Teach You to Love Your Body

Author ArticleJournaling can transform not only my physical health, but also emotional and spiritual health.

I didn’t always love my body. In fact, for years, I hardly thought about it at all.

My body was a machine that I worked relentlessly and neglected constantly. It was simply a tool that my brain used to get where it needed to go. I paid no mind to aching muscles, searing headaches and other signs of stress and exhaustion. I ignored my body’s needs until a major health challenge forced me to stop and recognize the obvious: my body isn’t a machine at all. It’s an integral part of me that requires love, care and respect.

I began journaling every day as a way to get back in touch with my body. This practice has transformed not only my physical health but also my emotional and spiritual health. I started listening to what my body was telling me and making decisions to embrace a full, healthy and balanced life.

Why Journaling?

Researchers have been tracking the positive effects of journaling for decades.

Over the years, studies have found that expressive writing can lead to significant benefits, including short- and long-term health outcomesbetter immune system performancestress and anxiety reduction and relief from chronic illnesses, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

And a 2017 study from the University of Arizona showed that for people going through a divorce, narrative writing exercises – telling the story of their divorce, not just documenting their feelings about it – improved how their bodies responded to cardiovascular stress.

Journaling helps us strengthen the mind-body connection that we often neglect. Putting pen to paper supports us in large and small ways, making room for our thoughts, feelings and experiences in a tangible way.

How to Start Journaling

  • Start small.
  • Make it a daily habit.
  • Feel free.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You may want to write lengthy entries every day, but start with a smaller, more manageable goal. Commit to writing for five minutes or a few lines, and congratulate yourself when you reach that goal. If you want to keep writing, go for it (and celebrate that victory too).

Build on your gradual start, and make your small journaling goal a part of your daily life. Find a time of day that works best for you – such as when you’re drinking your morning coffee or you’re about to get ready for bed. Don’t debate whether you should journal or not; just make it a daily habit.

If you can’t figure out what to journal about, try free-writing. Simply jot down anything that comes to mind without filtering or editing it. Keep your pen moving until you reach your writing goal.

5 Journaling Prompts

  1. Take several deep breaths, and do a mental scan of your body from head to toe. What feels good? What feels off? What is your body telling you?
  2. Imagine you have an entire day to pamper yourself. What do you do? How does each part of the day rejuvenate you?
  3. Write a love letter to your body. What do you appreciate about it? What are you thankful for? How can you express your gratitude?
  4. Describe a sensory experience that has stuck with you – a meal, a smell, a hike, a physical activity. What did it feel like throughout your body? Why did it make such an impression on you?
  5. Write about a time you felt wonderful in your own skin. What was happening? Why did you feel strong, beautiful, capable or empowered? How can you recreate that feeling?

Journaling is a powerful way to care for your body, as well as your mind and spirit. Make daily journaling an essential part of your journey to total aliveness.

This post courtesy of Spirituality & Health.

4 Mental-Health Journaling Prompts For The Reflective Soul Who Doesn’t Know Where To Start

Author Article

There’s something so inexplicably satisfying about cracking open a brand-new journal. It’s a blank canvas on which you can record your thoughts, your worries, your dreams, and so much more. But beyond simply being a place to chronicle the events of your life and everything you feel about those goings-on, journaling is a great way to nourish your mental health. I may be going out on a limb here, but I’d venture to say that you’d be hard-pressed to find a mental-health professional who wouldn’t recommend journaling as a tool for general healing, coping with depression, and reducing anxiety.

Still, journaling can seem like a daunting task—especially if you’re not in the habit of writing about your feelings regularly. The good news? According to New York–based holistic psychotherapist Alison Stone, LCSW, there’s no such thing as a right or a wrong way to journal—and there’s not a specific amount you have to do it, either.

“For some people, it might be daily, while for others it might be weekly,” Stone says. “Experiment with not only what gives you the most benefit, but what is realistic for you to commit to on a regular basis.”

“Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” —Alison Stone, LCSW

In other words, if you want to let your thoughts flow freely every day for an hour, great. If it feels more natural to you to express yourself with a combination of words and pictures, bullet-journal-style, once a week, that’s great, too. Maybe you’re all about going out and buying a gorgeous journal that you feel excited to open all the time. Or maybe the thought of writing your feelings by hand is exhausting to you, and you’d prefer to dump them all in a Google Doc. Great, all-around, because, as is the case with so many things in life, the best thing you can do is listen to your own specific wants and needs to do what is authentically best for you.

And, no matter how or how often you choose to journal, there’s no question that it’s great for mental health. Below are a few of the heavy-hitting reasons why.

1. Journaling enhances self-awareness

Sometimes, it can be hard to pinpoint why we do, think, or feel certain ways about certain things. When you start journaling regularly, all of these things become a lot clearer. “Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings,” Stone explains.

For example, say you’re a single person (who doesn’t want to be single) whose anxiety spikes at night when you just happen to be scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, double-tapping photos of happy couples. In this case, a regular journaling habit may help you identify a pattern and lead you to change your behavior around Instagram.

2. Journaling can help alleviate stress

By simply jotting things down on paper, whether it’s feelings of anxiety and stress around a specific situation or just getting out the events of the day, journaling can help you get your thoughts and feelings out of your head. This simple act can make it easier to stop obsessing. “Doing this can help get rid of stress, clarify goals, and reduce symptoms of anxiety,” Stone says.

3. Journaling helps cultivate gratitude

Research has shown that gratitude can do quite a bit for our brains, happiness, and overall mental health. And according to Stone, journaling regularly is an effective means for identifying the things you’re grateful for. “This is an excellent benefit to journaling, because gratitude is a crucial part of overall mental health.”

If gratitude doesn’t flow out of you naturally during your day-to-day journaling habit, no big deal. Hey, a journal full of complaints and stressors is still helpful for identifying the things in your life that aren’t serving you—and that’s certainly productive. Still, try setting aside a few minutes of your journaling time to list out the things you’re grateful for.

Need a few prompts to get started on your healing journaling journey? Here are four that just may do wonders for your mental health.

If you’re anxious…

Anxiety is very, very prevalent in the United States. In fact, the condition impacts a whopping 40 million adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. While there are a number of effective ways to treat your anxiety, journaling is a great one to start with. In this case, here are two journaling prompts Stone suggests trying:

“When I’m feeling acutely anxious, three strategies I know work for me are…”

and:

“One example of how I successfully navigated my anxiety in a stressful situation in the past is…”

If you’re struggling with depression…

When you’re in the throes of depression, journaling just may be the last activity you’re jonesing to see out. Sure, zonking out with Netflix buzzing in the background or sleeping the day away may sound more appealing. But if you do have it in you to crack open your journal, doing so can help quite a bit. Here are the two prompts Stone suggests starting with:

“Even though I feel down, two to three things I feel thankful for are…”

and:

“One reasonable goal I have for myself this week is…”

So there you have it: Journaling can be a supplemental tool to help you along on your mental-health journey—so get started today. But if you haven’t already, do first seek the help of a professional to devise a personalized plan to treat your condition.

Journaling call also help you crush your fitness goals, and plan dreamy vacations.

5 Reasons Why Daily Journaling Will Make You Happier

See Author Article Here
By Natasha Nurse

American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist Susan Sontag once said, “In the journal, I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.”I couldn’t agree with her more. For me, life makes much more sense when I sit down and write out my experiences, thoughts, and lessons learned. In fact, I believe more people would be happier and more fulfilled if they journaled each day. Why? Let’s discuss …

1. Awareness

There is a lot going in our lives. We wake up and begin our day with our typical morning regiment. For me, I take Oprah’s lead and I say Thank You. Beginning the day from a place of gratitude is a clear sign to the Universe that you are inviting more things to be grateful for. What is next for me? My days are jampacked with working on my business, my podcastwritingcreating videos, running errands, and everything else that life requires.

What do I always make time for? Journaling. It is a moment for me to have Me Time where I can critically think about my decisions and the direction of my life. If you never take time to think and reflect about your life, you will be too busy and miss opportunities or universal signs indicating it is time for you to act to improve your life. Here are some examples of journals that I love:

  • Prayer Journal – If you are a faith-based person, this journal helps you maintain your daily faith and support your spiritual growth.
  • Poetry Journal – Calling all poets (or poetry fans) this journal will help you write a poem a day. How cool is that?
  • Memoir Journal – Would you like to reflect on the last five years of your life? This type of journal is the perfect pick.
  • Journal for Self-Exploration – If you want to answer questions and work on YOU, then this is the journal to get.
  • Classic Journal – If you prefer to just write your thoughts without writing prompts this beautiful journal will absolutely work for you.

2. Resolution

Have you ever had a nasty exchange with someone, and you couldn’t stop thinking about the incident in your head long after it took place? Instead of torturing yourself with words exchanged or thoughts about what you should have said. Why not write out your experience in a journal? You can identify what the problem was and how you can act differently in similar events that might take place in the future.

Personally, I have found tremendous peace and resolve addressing toxic people and situations in my journal. It is a safe space to work through your anger, hurt or frustration.

3. Appreciation

What makes your life amazing? What do you love to do? Who are the people that truly support you? These are some of the questions that I ask my clients and so many of them are unable to answer. Why? Too many people refuse to actively focus on goodness in their life. We are so caught up tweeting and ranting about what is wrong in the world, politics, or our lives.

Yet, we can’t forget about the incredible careers, dedicated support systems, loving partners, and loyal friends that make our lives truly amazing. These are the reasons that should be motivating us to wake up and show up for our lives. Writing about these assets you have will solidify the joy and appreciation in your life.

4. Effective Goal Setting

Goal setting is key to achieving your goals. Most people need to write (or type) their goals down. If you are like me, your calendar is filled with multiple goals you want to achieve each day. In addition to writing your goals in your calendar, it can be extremely helpful to journal about your goals for the following reasons:

  • Work through fears and insecurities
  • Develop new ideas and projects
  • Identify help or support you need
  • Create mantras and affirmations to help you stay motivated
  • Document memorable moments or quotes
  • Correct or Address changes needed to move forward
  • Solidify your excitement and happiness about the project or venture
  • Growth

There is so much growth that comes from doing new things or feeling uncomfortable. Journaling can fall into either of those categories for you. Is it easy being honest and open to write down your fears or dreams? No. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it? Definitely Not! If you aren’t already doing it, this is exactly why you should start journaling today. Growth is how we become better versions of ourselves.

As we develop as people, we can become better parents, role models, business owners, employees, managers, content creators, writers, and leaders in this world. If you think about it, growth isn’t optional. It is an integral part of living the lives we want. Isn’t it great that you can accomplish this with pen and paper (or your phone and stylus pen)?

I would be remiss if I didn’t share last minute journaling tips. Don’t forget the following:

  • There is no right or wrong way to journal – just write
  • Whether you write your words or type them, just journal in a way that works best for you
  • Stay committed to writing every day (even if it is just 5 minutes)
  • It is up to you to make time for yourself in your own life

Natasha Nurse started Dressing Room 8 to provide a web-based resource where women can gain personal and professional empowerment through her fashion and lifestyle focused blog. Dressing Room 8 helps women learn how to think with clarity, dress with confidence, and live with purpose.