Why Journaling Is The Best Form Of Self-Care + 10 Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity

Photo: getty
Why Journaling Is The Best Form Of Self-Care + 10 Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity
Self

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself increasingly overwhelmed by the alarming news stories, horrifying statistics, and endless stream of cautionary tales from countries crippled by the effects of the coronavirus. The longer I spend cocooning in my apartment, the more I find my thoughts and mood entirely dictated by what I’m reading in the news.

I’ve been reconnecting via video calls with friends that I haven’t spoken to in years, and harassing my mother with images of my failed attempts at her baking recipes. Yet the one person I’m spending every second with is also the one personally I feel utterly disconnected with: myself. 

I’ve attempted to learn how to journal at various points in my life to help deal with a breakup, cope with stress in college, and to help me refocus my ambitions in my career.

But now, more than ever, I find myself reveling in the benefits of journaling, scribbling in the Moleskin that, up until a few days ago, had been lying at the bottom of my handbag under a pile of receipts and lip glosses. 

RELATED: 30 Journal Prompts To Soothe Stress & Anxiety

In times gone by, I used to write in my journal in neat calligraphy with the occasional daydreamed illustration in the margins. This latest writing venture started with a clinical account of my feelings towards the news, written in clear, careful handwriting.

For a second, I wanted to believe a historian would make use of it someday. However, it quickly deteriorated into a panicked stream-of-conscious style in which I questioned if my grandchildren would ever see the outdoors, or if I would ever even think it was ethical to have children. At least, I think that’s what I was writing; it was too illegible to read back over.

Messy journals seem appropriate given the state of disarray the world is in anyway. And while at first glance you might think I had only fed into my internal panic and exacerbated it, it has actually helped a lot!

After just one writing session, I felt like I was looking at myself in the mirror for the first time in weeks and thinking, “Where have you been?” I had been so consumed by the collective state of panic in the world that I’d forgotten to check in with myself.

Journaling was the closest thing to a breath of fresh air I’d gotten since the beginning of quarantine. 

Aside from the obligation we have to record this time for future generations, journaling might be one of the few ways to hold on to our sanity while we isolate. Psychologists and health experts have reported several surprising benefits of journaling for 15 to 20 minutes every day.

RELATED: If Want Your Dreams To Come True, Write Them Down (Says Study)

The benefits of journaling include:

  • It reduces stress-related illness. Studies have linked daily journaling to lower blood pressure and improved liver functionality. Isolation is taking its toll in many physical ways, so this could help reverse some of the damage.
     
  • It boosts immune function. Those who journal regularly also report strengthened immune cells and claim their wounds heal faster, according to studies. This can help prevent the contraction of illness while quarantining.
     
  • It keeps memory sharp. While we all struggle to pass our days with hours of mindless online scrolling, journaling can help keep us entertained and alert. It has been connected to cognitive processing and helps increase memory capacity. 
     
  • It helps regulate emotions. Expressive writing helps us manage adversity and encourages us to keep a positive perspective. This is so important right now to prevent becoming overwhelmed by the negativity in the media. 

Reconnecting with your goals and priorities is what I needed to stop allowing this situation to dictate every waking second. It has helped me feel re-energized and reminded me that I am my first priority. 

So, if you're struggling with journaling, here are 10 writing prompts to get you started:  

1. What would you do if you didn’t have any fears?

2. What are the 3 biggest lessons you’ve learned while in quarantine?

3. What was your childhood dream? What happened to it?

4. What did you learn from your most painful past experience?

5. What are you missing from life before quarantine? What will you change about your life after?

6. Who and what in your life are you most grateful for?

7. List all the things you like about yourself.

8. What do you think should never have been invented, and why?

9. What do you want to be remembered for when you die?

10. If you could do anything today what would it be? 

RELATED: 20 Best Notebooks For Writing, Planning, Drawing — And More!

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment and trending topics.

Author
Editor