Everything You Needed To Know About Journaling, Super-Moms!
A friend of mine once commented, ”Motherhood, is like driving on a bumpy and slippery road on a rainy day.Not only do you have to be a good driver to drive on such a road, but, you also have to have your car (read ‘yourself’) in pretty good condition as well.You just cannot let your car breakdown on such a journey!!”
Being a mom myself, I too, like many of you, am driving on the bumpy road.
Experiencing the road first hand, I know how the journey is.
“Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” – Maria Shriver
Taking up this job, voluntarily or involuntarily, stresses out every mother.
Every day we are under pressure to do everything right for our family. The fear of being blamed for our children not turning out proper, or not doing the right thing, can be as scary as being convicted as a murderer.
And only a mother would know such fear!
The stress created by motherhood, sometimes ruin our experience of being a mother. To do everything right for others, we put ourselves low on our priority list.
Soon, we develop mental health issues like stress, anxiety, depression, etc. As a result, we, along with our family, suffer because of it.
Like most mothers, I too, have been quite ignorant about my car and put it’s maintenance quite low on my priority list. Very early on my motherhood journey, my car broke down in the middle of the road,one day.
The incident forced me to look at my life and reflect on it.
And I had to set out on a path of recovery and healing. On my journey to recovery, I read this quote about journaling somewhere.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior” – Christina Baldwin
The quote ignited my curiosity about journal writing and I started researching it.
I found that journaling is a very powerful tool for recovery.
The more I researched, the more it made me realize, that unless I keep my interior in good shape, driving on the road would become harder.
Immediately, I adopted it. And, I can say that it took me farther into my path of recovery than many other things I tried.
For those who are not aware of this tool, let me share some of the things you need to know.
WHAT IS JOURNALING?
“Am I a good mother?”
“Am I doing it right as a mother?”
“What am I supposed to do if my son/ daughter lose their way in life?
“I do so much for my family, yet no one cares!”
“Why did I even get married? I should have stayed single. My life is a waste!”
“I wish I could run away from this mess right now. I can’t take it anymore!”
“No one loves me!”
“I don’t want to live anymore!”
Mommies, does it sound familiar? I’m sure you have found yourself thinking in exasperation on a messy day.
– Believe me, you are not alone!
Every mother (I mean every mother) goes through their share of struggles and frustrations while playing their part. They would often find the voice in their head, uttering such words of frustration…
Every day, our minds are bombarded with stressful thoughts.
We, as moms, go through our own train of thoughts and emotions that can sometimes be quite destructive to the body and mind.Most times, our pattern of thoughts become quite hard to break. This leads to mental health issues like stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), mood swings, etc., which can really disrupt our daily lives and cause havoc as well.
This is where journaling can help you. Let me elaborate.
“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” Robin Sharma
Journaling is about recording our thoughts and feelings. They can be either our stressful thoughts or our happy thoughts.
By putting our thoughts on paper, we give them a space, and that in turn helps us to organise them and put them to the right use.
Journaling also helps us understand ourselves better and develop a meaningful relationship with our own self.
Scientific research shows that journaling helps to break this train of thoughts. By being aware of our thoughts and the emotions that they create, we are able to understand where we need to intervene and change our thoughts.
In fact, journaling is quite commonly used in treating mental health issues.Sometimes, our deepest thoughts and emotions negatively affect our lives without us being aware of them.
The thoughts in our subconscious mind play a bigger role in how we feel and act. Journaling helps to bring them out and then put them into perspective. It’s a slow yet very effective process that helps in healing.
DIARY WRITING and JOURNALING
Have you ever written a diary?
Most of us may have. In fact we were encouraged to do it when we were young. Sharing our small and big secrets with this invisible friend gave us the mental and emotional release that we needed. However, with time, more interesting things took up our attention and our diaries were forgotten.
Diary writing and journaling may seem to be quite similar, but they are different in many aspects.
Diary writing is based on an experience, a scene, a description or a narration of an event that a writer wants to remember forever. Every record has an emotional value to the writer. Of course, sometimes writing about daily mundane routine becomes a part of diary writing as well.
“Journal writing gives us insights into who we are, who we were, and who we can become” – Sandra Marinella
In contrast, journaling is about consciously recording thoughts and feelings that are related to an experience, a scene, a description or the events of our lives. It is about creating a relationship with ourselves and getting to know ourselves deeply with the help of our thoughts. It can be used as a stress- releasing tool as well. The more we understand how our mind works, the easier will it be to find solutions.
HOW TO START JOURNALING?
Now that you may have an idea about journaling, let me tell you how you can start your own journaling journey.
- To start journaling, you first need to consciously decide that you want to do it.
It’s a habit that you have to build. Journaling as a habit can contribute a lot to your wellness.
However, you cannot take it up as a hobby that you do,only when you feel like..
You have to decide that in spite of whatever happens in your life, you will journal every day and that you will allow your thoughts to flow as freely as possible. Journaling starts with a decision and then you take the next step.
- You buy yourself a diary or a notebook. Be sure to make it a special one for you. Keep it near you as much as possible.
You may also use devices to create the journal. ‘Notes’ app in your mobile, tablet, or laptop can be used for journaling. By using a device, you can record your thoughts on the go.
Whether its paper or a device, choose the one that you feel comfortable with.
- The next step, which is a very important step, would be to start writing.
You may choose a particular time to write; either morning or night. Or, you may choose to do it every time you feel like letting it all out.
Some people prefer to wake up and start writing their thoughts that they woke up with. It is called the ‘morning pages’. It gives them an insight into how their subconscious mind is functioning and the thoughts that they need to change.
Others may prefer to do it at night, and make a note of all the thoughts and emotions that they had during the day. That too gives them an insight as to how their mind works and responds to certain situations.
Whatever time you choose, it has to be according to your comfort level.
- Next, you also have to make sure that you are in a peaceful environment, to let the thoughts flow unhindered by distractions. Distractions may impact your thoughts and clarity would be lost.
- Choose a place for yourself that calms you down and make you comfortable enough to let go. The setting is an important element in your journal writing journey.
“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” Jen Williamson
Do remember, it is a habit.
So developing it will take time. But it has to start with a decision.
BENEFITS OF JOURNALING
Once you start journaling, you will start to notice changes in yourself which will in turn bring a lot of changes in your life.
Let me share some of the benefits.
- Journaling improves your immune system
- Journaling helps your injuries to heal faster
- Journaling helps in reducing stress, anxiety and also helps in recovering from depression
- Journaling helps you sleep better
- Journaling helps you to increase your memory
- Journaling helps to improve your mood.
- Journaling helps you to solve problems better
- Journaling helps in recovering from PTSD(post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Journaling helps in making you feel more grateful
- Journaling helps boost your self- esteem
- Journaling helps you heal
- Journaling helps you to communicate better
- Journaling, done right, can have similar effects like meditation
“A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to become. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” Brad Wilcox
That writing about our thoughts and emotions can have so many benefits, is unthinkable.
No wonder, it has become such an essential part of healing and recovering from various illnesses.
IMPORTANCE OF JOURNALING
Now that we know how journaling is beneficial, we can easily deduce its importance to our well-being.
1.Through journaling, you can keep track of your thought patterns, any improvements that you make and also the changes that are needed to be made.
2.Journaling helps you declutter your mind and creates a feeling of well-being, which in turn helps you with your mental health issues.
3.Making it a part of your life can empower you by bringing in clarity to your thoughts and thus, help you take better decisions.
“Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not” – Martina Navratilova
TIPS FOR JOURNALING
Journaling has changed my life immensely. Let me share a few tips with you that might help you with this journey.
Like I said earlier, journaling is a habit that we have to develop.
Of course with different kinds of challenges coming up in life, doing it daily can be difficult. But if you determine to journal every day, you will soon see it becoming a part of your life, in spite of all challenges.
Moreover, you reap the benefits of journaling the most when it becomes a habit.
Remember, it is the ME-TIME that you give yourself.
Think of it as a special time you spend with your best friend.
Keep aside a few minutes for this special time each day. Choose a time that suits you.
Make sure you are not among distractions. This time needs to be special for you; give yourself the attention you deserve.
Since it is for your eyes only, let everything flow naturally.
“Your journal is like your best friend. You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel” – Bukola Ogunwale
Do not worry about the structure or your handwriting. Write whatever you want, whatever comes to your mind. The purpose is to give your emotions a release.
If you are visual person, you can add pictures, drawings or doodles as well. Instead of words you can use drawings. You can make your journal look pretty and beautifully decorate it even.
It is your life story recorded there, so it is special. Give it all your attention!
Make it your own and enjoy your own company.
Even if you are writing about something traumatic, let it all come out. Just know that the less the clutter in your mind, the better you would be able to function every day. You need yourself to function properly. Your family needs you to function properly. Your life needs you to function properly.
TYPES OF JOURNALS
Journaling can be a life-changer. You can bring changes to different areas of your life by taking up different types of journaling. The various types of journals that you can keep are :
- Money journals – to monitor you spending and also making a note of your wealth goals
- Relationship journals – to explore you inner world and how it is affecting your relationships
- Gratitude journals – to keep a list of things you are grateful for
- Food journals – for keeping a note of what you eat and drink daily
- Writing journals – for your reflective writing
- Exercise journals – to keep a record of your physical activities
- Pregnancy journals – to record your 9 month journey
- Travel journals – all your travel memories would find their place here
- Prayer journals – to keep your list of your prayers and how many have been answered
- Time capsule – a journal which is meant to be read by people in the future
- Bullet journals – to keep a note of the to-do- lists
“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. This, you are more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” Hal Elrod
There are many more to the list.
In fact all the areas of our lives can have its’ own journal. And that would mean, we can have the opportunity to explore each area deeply and help find the troubled areas.
DISADVANTAGES OF JOURNALING
Although I have been telling you about how journaling can positively impact your life, I would like to add a few words of caution.
It has been found that people with learning disabilities find it difficult to journal and can adversely affect their minds. So in order to prevent that, you need to start it small and then slowly build on it.
Your writing will not be put up for public display. So do not put much attention on the structure and handwriting. Don’t let perfectionism come in the way of your flow of writing.
The journals are a part of your life alone and not somebody else’s. So, If you become cautious about other people reading them, you will be cautious about what you write. The whole purpose of journaling will be defeated in the process. Find a suitable place for them to store, then relax and let your thoughts flow.
“For me, writing is a way of thinking. I write in a journal a lot. I’m a very impatient person, so writing and meditation allow me to slow down and watch my mind; they are containers that keep me in place, hold me still.” Ruth Ozeki
As I come to the end of my blog, I can tell you this – learning how to journal has changed my life.
After having dealt with all kinds of struggles myself, having been beaten down by life so many times, I was a nervous-wreck. The day I decided to take control of my life is the day that life showed me various ways to do it, one of them being journaling. It is a form of therapy that has brought so many changes in my life.
“Writing eases my suffering. Writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence” – Gao Xingjian
I hope that I have been able to convince you to take up journaling.
Being a mommy myself, I am on the same road as you are. I would love you to enjoy the journey as much as I am doing.
So, pick up that diary, notebook, phone, tablet or laptop and let your healing start.