Keeping a journal is thought to be good for our mental and physical health. Find the right kind of journaling for you with our simple guide.
Journal keeping has been found not only to reduce stress and increase happiness but even to improve our physical health by supporting the immune system (most likely as a result of reducing stress). With so many different styles of journaling out there, we look at the benefits of each to help you find the right outlet for you.
Expressive writing: This most classic method of journaling, where you simply write down how you are feeling, has been found to reduce anxiety and boost performance. Next time you’re stuck in a negative chain of thought try writing it out to see if it helps.
Gratitude journal: There is research to suggest that keeping a record of the things you are grateful for may produce a greater improvement in mental health than recording your thoughts on negative or stressful events. So try writing 3 to 5 things you are grateful for a few times a week.
Visual journal: If the written word isn’t your thing, the good news is a visual journal – where you use art as the focus - has also been found to help reduce stress. Try using sketches or photographs.
Go digital: If you want to feel the benefits of journaling in the moment – but don’t want to feel self-conscious at work or when out or about – there are lots of digital journal apps you can use on your phone. You can find some suggested diary apps on the website of mental health charity Mind.
So however you prefer to record your thoughts and feelings, there’s almost certainly a style of journal keeping to suit you. Why not give one a go this week and see if you can feel the benefits?