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Getting Started with Journaling

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Getting Started with Journaling

Journaling, or expressive writing, has many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. It can improve your mood, help keep your memory sharp and strengthen your immunity. There's no one right way to journal — the process can be as unique and individualized as the journal-keeper.

Even seniors who don't consider themselves to be writers can quickly learn to love journaling. Read on for some creative ways to incorporate journaling into your daily life at the Autumn View Gardens assisted living community.

W.R.I.T.E. From Right Where You Are

The Center for Journal Therapy offers five easy steps to help beginners discover the joy of journaling using the acronym W.R.I.T.E. The quick-read guide also provides aspiring writers with eight suggestions and 14 techniques. Inspire your creative muse by incorporating some of the center's ideas that capture your imagination.

Feel free to find your own style as you experiment with journaling. Once you get a sense of what works best for you, switch it up a bit to keep your experience fresh and vital. The following are some additional ideas for keeping journaling interesting:

  • Time yourself. Make it a goal to write for 30 minutes daily one week, and then limit yourself to 60-second journaling sessions the next week. Be sure to set a timer.
  • Journal before you even get out of bed in the morning for one week, and then do it before you go to bed the following week. Jotting down your thoughts and feelings at day's end can be a positive addition to your bedtime routine.
  • Write only in bullet points, up to six per day. By making it a quick and easy task, you might be more inclined to keep it up when motivation lags.
  • Keep a dream journal. Many people, including Christians, believe dreams can often contain divine revelations and inspirations. Befriend your dreams, and learn from them.
  • Express appreciation in a gratitude journal. Counting your blessings each day can help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude that enhances all areas of your life. You might sleep better, enjoy improved social relationships and experience less stress.

Selecting the Right Journal for Your Writing Journey

You can use a college-lined spiral notebook or an app on your smartphone to reap the many positive benefits of journaling. But for some people, nothing compares to having a beautifully designed journaling guide to lead them through the experience, day by day. Here are a few options you might consider.

1. Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel: This bright, lively and uplifting interactive journal is designed to nurture your creativity, mindfulness and self-motivation. The colorful hand-lettering and images lend whimsy to the process in a positive, upbeat manner. Inspiring quotes from writers such as Dickens, Emerson and Rilke, artists, and other visionaries are paired with open-ended questions and prompts to get you thinking and feeling. There's plenty of room on each page of this full-color book for recording your own reflections as you move through it.

2. The One-Minute Gratitude Journal by Brenda Nathan: Turn your ordinary moments into blessings with this simple and understated journal. Each page lets you record the date of entry and provides a lined half-page on which to jot down the things you're grateful for. The gratitude journal includes inspirational quotes, lovely drawings and blank pages for your own artwork that make the giving-thanks process even more fun and rewarding.

3. Prayer Journal for Women from Paper Peony Press: This beautiful spiral-bound journal for Christian women is thoughtfully laid out, offering the perfect blend of structured elements and open elements. There are distinct sections to record prayer requests for yourself, family and friends as well as your senior living community neighbors. A small box on the lower right section offers just enough room for listing three items you're grateful for on that day, and the lined page above it is ideal for recording other thoughts and reflections. The author suggests this prayer journal may be used for:

  • Bible study notes
  • Answered prayers
  • Sermon notes
  • Bible verse memorization
  • Inspirational quotes

If you're looking for a meaningful Christmas gift for a family member, dear friend or favorite neighbor at Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville, Missouri, this prayer journal for Christian women is sure to be a cherished possession for years to come.

4. 365 Journal Writing Ideas by Rossi Fox: This isn't a journal, but it is a wonderful resource that can guide your practice. The book is full of ideas that can help you fill your journal with self-reflection, memories and creativity every day for the next year. You can use the writing prompts, questions and 52 weekly actions in the undated journal sequentially, or choose them at random to help you deal with a case of writer's block. Fox offers tips and tricks on how to:

  • Find the time to journal
  • Organize your writings
  • Make your journal visually interesting
  • Set goals
  • Create a memoir or life journal keepsake

The helpful book also includes a collection of over 400 quotes and proverbs ordered by subject designed to be used as an extra source of inspiration, wisdom and starting points for your journaling adventure.

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