Chia Life

Seven Ways to change your life: Part 5 – Journaling

Someone once said that journaling is like whispering to yourself and listening at the same time. Studies have shown that journaling is linked to decreased mental distress. How and why this occurs is no doubt related to the fact that we’re getting onto paper, what’s keeping our minds occupied.  These are the thoughts, often not good or helpful ones, that are swirling around in our heads, impacting our bodies in ways we seldom notice until we’re forced to.  Remember this:  our bodies are the theatre of our minds. What we think, believe and repeat constantly, we embody.

Today, as our 5th in the series of tools and practices to change your life, it is journaling that we offer you, a release from the thoughts that keep us struggling, or the emotions that we try to keep contained.

It’s important to understand, for those who’ve not practiced journaling (and yes, this too requires daily practice), that it’s not the same as keeping a diary, making lists, or strategising, albeit that journaling can offer clarity towards these.  Journaling, like most important things in life, begins with a pause, finding some stillness by turning inwards.  Then, give permission for your pen to pour onto paper, without inhibition, the feelings, emotions, and intuitions that arise at that moment.

Not convinced yet?   A research study in 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes writing about their thoughts and feelings for three consecutive days, two weeks before a medically necessary biopsy, were fully healed 11 days later.  58% of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that even one hour of writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce stress.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

William Wordsworth

How to begin journaling: 

  1. Buy a journal 😉
  2. Make it an intentional decision and carve out the time.
  3. Decide when you will journal (first thing in the morning is usually best as your mind is clear of the day-to-day‘ stuff’.)
  4. Start writing.   Ideally, for 12 minutes every day – time yourself. If you have the time, you may want to just keep writing.
  5. Try some of these prompts:  “Today I am feeling …”. Or “That feeling I get when…”.  Whatever arrives on the paper is what is meant to be there. Become aware when your cognitive thinking approach is interrupting the flow.  This is the sense-making side of things – consciously moving your thoughts “to your breath or your heart space to avoid overthinking.
  6. Tip:  Try not to concern yourself with neatness or perfection.  Journaling in your worst handwriting with no punctuation can provide a powerful purging of emotions.

Some like to type, but that’s up to you, although research shows that writing by hand activates more parts of the brain, forcing you to engage more deeply.  Whatever way you decide to do it, we strongly recommend you switch off all notifications during the time that you’re journaling.  Distraction will interrupt the stream of thoughts.

Friends of Journaling: Checking in, connecting with self, centering, storytelling, listening, setting intentions, gratitude and measuring – personal growth and change.

Benefits of Journaling:  Journaling helps to reduce anxiety. It can contribute to preventing depression and other mental conditions, including managing stress, monitoring your mood day-to-day and helping you see the patterns in your life… both the healthy and unhealthy ones.


If you’d like to connect, ask questions, or dive a little deeper, don’t hesitate to reach out to us: or