Written by Rachael Willis
If you’ve ever talked to a therapist or counselor about managing stress and anxiety, you’ve probably heard them mention journaling as a great coping skill. Whenever I see a new therapist for my anxiety, I patiently await the question, “Well, have you tried journaling?” Like many, I have tried journaling, but after a couple of failed attempts, I determined that it just wasn’t for me. Writing down my thoughts and feelings every day ended up feeling like a chore. I felt frustrated. If journaling is supposedly this holy grail coping mechanism, why do I feel like it’s making me more stressed? Recently, I have decided to revisit journaling, and I have actually started enjoying it. If you have also struggled with journaling, read on for my top journaling tips for people who hate journaling!
Step 1: Stop writing in complete sentences.
Sentences are overrated! Bullet points allow you to get the same point across with half the words. A few days ago, I made a list of all of my anxieties in my journal, and it was much more relieving than writing paragraphs about my day. Writing in complete sentences requires you to think about grammar rules, whereas writing in bullet points is much less restricted. The freedom of writing in short, sweet bullet points will definitely make journaling much less of a chore.
Step 2: Set a focus for your journal entry.
When I start a new journal entry, I try to set a purpose for my writing. Usually, I aim to mitigate my anxiety and stress. I began to tailor my journal entries towards stress relief. My previous approach of writing detailed summaries of my day didn’t align with my new goal. In fact, I felt that my approach to journaling was making me even more stressed. Setting a focus for journaling can help you tailor your approach to your individual needs.
Step 3: Experiment with different journaling styles.
Most people think that journaling consists exclusively of writing. What you may not know is that there are a variety of different journaling styles, from art journaling to gratitude journaling. With a little bit of research, you’ll see that journaling can be whatever you want it to be. Embrace your creative side, and try out a different type of journaling! Maybe you hate the traditional daily summaries, but you may fall in love with brain dumps or prompt-based journaling.
It’s commonly agreed that journaling is beneficial for mental health, but many people struggle to reap the benefits. This is because when we think of journaling, we think of writing down a detailed rundown of our daily lives. What we fail to realize is that your journal is your safe space, and you can fill it with whatever you want. If you’ve ever tossed a journal aside, I encourage you to give it another shot. With the right attitude, you may find yourself becoming a journal fanatic!