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Refill Your Cup with Self-Care

Genuine, sustained self-care is an art.
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Journaling as Self-Care

Posted by Michele Crawford - Health

How many of you have kept a journal at some point in your life? A journal can take many forms including a diary, a gratitude journal, daily affirmations, or simply a space to work through life challenges or celebrate success. Committing to writing in a journal on a regular basis can be a great way to practice self-care as journaling encourages self-awareness, mindfulness, self-confidence, and healing.

Exactly how you might ask? Let's break each of these self-care benefits down:

  • Self-awareness – having a safe, private place to explore our needs, fears, accomplishments and obstacles teaches one a lot about themselves.
  • Mindfulness – Journaling can help you get to that place of being in the present moment. Simply writing down frustrations and anxieties takes the edge off and brings that wandering mind back to attention of the right here, right now.
  • Self-confidence – Journaling about successes and positive experiences reaffirms our own strengths and abilities when that voice of self-doubt is speaking. Having a written record of the good times makes it easy to refer back to when we are finding ourselves stuck in the negative.
  • Healing – Dr. James Pennebaker has written extensively on writing as a route to emotional, physical, and psychological healing. Studies have shown benefits including improved immune function, better sleep, as well as lower rates of stress and anxiety.

If you have kept a journal before, you know it can be tough to start and stick with a journaling habit. If you are interested in getting started or brushing the dust off that existing journal, there are several sources available for journaling prompts. Check one or both of these out:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/09/27

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/journal-prompts/

Watch Julia Cameron, author of the Artist's Way explain her "morning pages" method here:

http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

If you don't journal already, I hope you will consider adding journaling to your self-care toolbox!

If you find any of these methods helpful, or have another method to share, please post a comment or email me directly at mcrawfrd@illinois.edu



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