First, a confession. I have a bit of a problem – well, two problems – with the word “journal”. First, I grimace when people use it as a verb. I know, I know: language changes and I’m perfectly happy about that. I just can’t quite get used to this particular one. “Journaling” sounds too much like gurgling, churning, hurdling, burbling, jumbling. Second, the spelling of the participle with a single l….Noooooooo. I’m a British-English speaker and the preferred spelling for two-syllable words ending in -al and -el is to double the l before -ing: travelling, labelling, journalling. But it’s OK – I’m a grown-up. I can deal with this.
So, what is the big deal about journaling anyway?
Journaling (I did it!) – the regular act of setting your thoughts down in words or pictures – can have benefits for lots of people. This article, 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety and Stress, is a very useful piece about what journaling is and what the benefits can be, and includes some research references. Do read it.
It’s not hard to see why spending a few focused minutes where you process and record your feelings about what’s going on around you can be helpful. However, just as mindfulness is over-hyped and over-recommended and can actually be unhelpful (and perhaps harmfully so) for some people in certain circumstances, so perhaps with journaling. (See this link from Psychology Today for a balanced view and apply it to yourself to decide whether it would be likely to help you or not.)
For many people simply wanting to raise their mental resilience, reduce their stress and improve their quality of life, journaling can be a great tool. And, of course, if you don’t enjoy it or feel a benefit, you can stop at any time! But for many people it becomes an important daily act of checking in on their feelings and state of mind.
What if the blank page makes your mind go blank? HappySelf Journal has the answer for you! They’ve been producing very popular and rather beautiful journals for children and teenagers for a few years now and they’ve just brought out an adult version. Even better, I have one to give away! See below. (Thank you, HappySelf!)
If you like the sound of journaling, do sign up to the HappySelf newsletter. You’ll also get access to some parent guides that I and other professionals have written for them. There’s a happy community of HappySelf journalers on Instagram, too: @HappySelfJournal
How to win an adult journal [NB now ended…)]
- Just add your pick me comment below by 5pm BST) on Aug 5th
- Names will be given numbers and put through a random number generator on Aug 6th to select the winner
- If you win, you must be able to give me a UK address to post your journal
- Each person can only be entered once
Good luck! Oh, and since I’m sending it myself, I’ll throw in some of my postcards if you can use them. Schools and youth groups will certainly enjoy them but anyone is welcome.
[EDITED TO ADD: The lucky winner is Denise Lawrence! I have emailed Denise. But I’m happy to send postcards to ANY/ALL of the people who commented by the Aug 5th deadline. Please contact me with the address to send them to and let me know if it’s for school use or personal, just so I know whether to send more or fewer.]