My personal experience with journaling is pretty short because truth be told I didn't start journaling until I had the idea for the postpartum journal. It wasn't that I never considered it or didn't think it would help. It was mostly because I just never took the time to start the process and make it a habit. Once I had the idea for the postpartum journal I figured I should try it personally before developing a journal for other people. And as it turns out, all the hype is for good reason.
If you google 'journaling,' you will quickly see a list of reasons journaling is good for you backed with studies, research, and personal anecdotes. I mean who doesn't want to have less stress, a sharper memory, and a better grasp on their emotions, right? When I decided to start journaling, I bought a plain black Moleskine and just started writing. I sort of dove right in and tried my best to write every day. I noticed a difference in how I was feeling almost immediately. I spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking on my feelings but taking the time to write them out with intention gives me a different feeling of clarity. It allows me to see the jumble of thoughts running through my head and to make better sense of the direction I'm heading. Also, it just feels really great to vent sometimes, am I right? I'm fortunate that in my life I have several people I can talk to about things. But sometimes when I'm going through something or having a bad day, I don't feel like talking. I may not have my thoughts together enough to put into words just yet, or I'm really angry about something or towards someone, and I know that I should wait to have the conversation until I've calmed down. Journaling helps with all of that. I quickly got burnt out on writing every day, and instead of feeling like I was failing I tried to readjust my expectation of what I could do and considered once a week a good goal for me. I still keep to once a week now. Sometimes I find time to do more, and on the flip side, I occasionally miss a week. Overall, I feel really happy as long as I am keeping up with the habit.
So you're convinced of the benefits, now what? Whether you are new to journaling or have tried before with no success, it doesn't matter. You can always try again. No big investment needed and you don't have to buy some fancy journal. I would start with a simple notebook, or just by writing on scrap pieces of paper. Set your writing goals to be something realistic for you and your time constraints. If you know you won't be able to write every day then settle for once every three days or once a week. Lastly, take the time to see how it makes you actually feel. If you don't think it's helping or isn't for you, then don't feel like you have to stick with it. Not all of the 'good for us' things that everyone is always talking about will be right for each of us. A 'good' habit is only good if it's helping you to live a healthy joy-filled life. For me, journaling has become an essential part of my life. It helps to keep my emotions and anxiety in check and keeps me focused on what is important to me. So what about you? What does your relationship with journaling look like?