As teenagers, many of us have kept secret diaries, notebooks or journals. We have kept a record of our dreams, heartbreaks and secret crushes throughout the years. Sadly, with the advent of the age of digitization, many of us have lost the habit of journaling.
Now, we do write – but our writing mostly includes our monthly groceries, list of bill due dates and daily expenses.
We are too engrossed in work and our emotional turmoil to find the words at the end of the day. However, research shows that keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them. If you are dealing with emotional trauma or stress, writing about them might help you come to terms with it.
Why should you begin journaling?
James Pennebaker, psychologist and researcher from the University of Texas at Austin states that regular journaling can boost T-lymphocytes. These are important immune cells that play a critical role in fighting off infections and may even help the body fight cancer. Contemporary research also indicates that maintaining a personal diary reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
Now, you may be thinking, "so writing can improve my health, but so can kale". And we don't deny that, but journaling can relieve mental stress, alleviate symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. Some studies also suggest that even those who have schizophrenia can benefit from writing down their thoughts regularly. Writing about the stressful events of your life can help you increase the overall happiness of your life. It is a comprehensive stress management cum self-care tool that requires only five to ten minutes of your time per day!
How can you adopt journaling in the digital age?
In the times when smartphones have taken the place of notebooks, you may find yourself struggling to sit down and jot down your thoughts on pen-and-paper. So, why not try a secure and private journaling app that can keep your thoughts confidential?
Dedicating 5 minutes to an exclusive journaling app like Chiku – Personal Diary & Daily Mood Tracker can aid in your daily productivity, efficiency and time management. Think of it like confining your untamed emotions and negative feelings to the journal. The rest of the day you don’t have to deal with the negative emotion and you feel a surge of confidence to push through the hurdles that come your way.
How will you accommodate journaling in your busy schedule?
Android and iOS apps let you update your journal on-the-go. Whether you find yourself in between harrowing client calls or sitting in a cab waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, one click will take you to your journal and another click will let you create a new note.
Share your immediate thoughts. Write about what you feel at the moment. It need not be a detailed recounting of the entire day, but a snippet of your emotions. Think of it as temporarily unloading the emotional burden and exchanging it for mindfulness for the rest of the day.
Apps like Chiku makes journaling on the go convenient, quick and user-friendly for everyone. You can use a similar app-based journal anytime and anyplace.
What if you don’t like to write?
We live in an age of Instagram and SnapChat. So, no one can blame you, if you have lost the habit of writing. What if we told you, you can forego writing or typing altogether?
You can create a visual mental health journal. Apart from choosing themes that reflect your mood, you can add images instead of typing away. You can archive images from important incidents, photos of your friends, family and pets. It is an effective and secure way of safeguarding your memories forever.
Journaling is as simple as drawing something on the app, collection of sketches you have made or a scanned copy of a painting your child has made for you. Or, simply add a screenshot of a message you have found particularly moving on Twitter or Instagram.
Visual journaling is actually very helpful if you want to go back to reflect on a particular day or event, and make changes in your behaviour.
How to journal more efficiently?
Here are a few points for better journaling –
Be regular – update the journal at least once per day.
Keep it simple – use simple words. Remember, these are your personal notes. No one will evaluate your spellings or grammar.
Forget right and wrong – write poetry, single words, a story, three-line sentences or just use pictures. You can write and include whatever you want.
Use the journal as you wish – want to make a list of all the people important to you? Go ahead! Want to just jot down your feelings? You can do that too. It’s your private journal and you have the freedom to use it any way you want.
The take-home message
Unlike the notebooks and diaries we have used as teens, the modern self-care journal apps have options that let the users analyse their stories. You can find your mental health score, track your mood and manage your anxiety and stress effectively.
You can find out which events caused you the most stress, which situations precipitated anxiety and even find patterns in your depressive or euphoric episodes. So, even if you are visiting a psychological counsellor or a cognitive behavioural therapist regularly, you can aid their process by showing the results of the emotion tracker of your journaling app.
Journaling will improve your well-being. If you journal daily, you will experience a reduction in anxiety, stress, mental fatigue and even depression. The latest research shows that journaling can reduce symptoms of physical ailments as well as a result of gradually improving mental health. It can become an integral tool of your psychological counselling sessions.