28 Jan The Positive Power Of Journaling On Children’s Mental Well-Being
Journaling is an incredible skill for young people to develop that will have long lasting effects in their lives by helping them to positively express their emotions while improving their mental health, confidence and resilience.
My mum insisted I start journaling when I was 11 years old because she could see that I was beginning to experience tough times at school and at home. She wanted to give me a tool that would help me with my confidence, my mental well-being and the ability to bounce back from challenging circumstances.
Trust me when I say at first I resisted. I didn’t want to journal but my mum told me it wasn’t a request and I HAD to write two pages every day. After some early pages filled with complaining about journaling, I actually came up with things to write about – my emotions, my parents’ divorce, my friends, my day, the deaths of my grandparents, my dreams and what I was grateful for.
By sticking with journaling I have learned to express my emotions, be present with my thoughts and clear my head – a habit that can benefit every young person as they develop into adulthood.
Journaling Has Some Pretty Powerful Outcomes
Researchers are finding that journaling to better understand yourself and learn from emotions has many positive effects on mental well-being including:
- Strengthening the immune system and lowering stress helping to increase health and reduce depression and anxiety.
- Learning healthy ways to release emotions. Over time, young people that use journaling to reflect on their emotions learn to become less reactive.
- Clarifying and achieving goals. A study showed that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them and feel less stressed.
- Creating empathy and understanding by allowing them to see their emotions and recognize that everyone faces challenges.
- Developing self discipline by sticking to a positive habit.
- Allowing them to get to know themselves thereby increasing self confidence.
- Helping them to bounce back from challenging circumstances.
- Increasing gratitude when they see the positives in their life.
Tips to Help Your Young Person Get Started with Journaling
Tip 1: Make it non-negotiable to write at least 1-2 pages each day
Your child may complain and that’s ok. Tell them to journal about it. It can feel hard to “force” your child to do something they don’t want to do. Try to keep in mind that just the act of setting a boundary helps them with their confidence and resilience. There will be many things in life that are good for them but might feel hard at first.
Tip 2: Make it easy for them
Set a time for them to journal before they are allowed to get on devices or watch TV – perhaps before dinner or immediately after. By creating a schedule, you’ll help them to develop the habit.
Tip 3: Journal with them
Journaling with your child will have all the same benefits on your mental health while setting a positive example and creating a healthy ritual together.
It may even create opportunities for positive dialogue. Remember that their journal is their place to express their emotions so please restrain from asking them to share unless they volunteer.
Tip 4: Write whatever comes to mind
They don’t have to write about anything in particular, especially to start. As the habit develops, you can encourage them to reflect on their emotions, write about what they are grateful for and what they want to create in their life.
Tip 5: Suggest they spend time journaling when they are having intense reactions
While you want to tell your child it’s not ok to take out their negative emotions on other people, it’s especially helpful if you can give them a tool to help them release them. In difficult circumstances, tell them to spend 30 minutes journaling before trying to address them again. This will give them a cooling off period.
Tip 6: Get the UPower Journal
Sometimes the thought of writing in a journal can be daunting to both parents and children: Where will I begin? What will I write? That’s why I created the UPower Journal to help young people learn to express their thoughts and emotions while building confidence, resilience and mental well-being through the exercises, quotes, personal stories and blank pages they will find inside. In this journal they are the author!
Do you journal? I’d love to hear your experiences with it. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org