Journaling this Summer and Beyond

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Mindfulness, emotional intelligence, achieving goals, communication, healing, creativity, the list goes on and on. There is a plethora of surprising benefits associated with journaling for people of all ages.

Perhaps you’re looking for a healthy way to manage stress associated with the demands of your job. Maybe you’d like to devote some time this summer for reflecting on the 2018/19 school year while preparing for 2019/20. Or maybe you’re interested in improving your self-awareness or working towards a long-term goal. Journaling can serve a myriad of purposes.

There is no right or wrong way to journal – the options are nearly as plentiful as the benefits of journaling. However, if you’re wondering how to get started (which is often the hardest part), a few suggestions are provided below.

  • Practice Gratitude

Psychology Today outlines proven benefits of being grateful, including improved physical and mental health, resilience, sleep, empathy, and relationships. Reflecting on and making a list of the people, places, things, experiences, etc. that we are thankful for every day enhances those benefits as we remind ourselves of all the good in our lives. This is my preferred journaling method as it helps me maintain a positive attitude and helps keep things in perspective. Every night I jot down what I am grateful for (usually this includes 5 bullet points). Sometimes I include special moments from the day, life lessons, or conveniences that I often take for granted (such as running water).

  • Create a Visual Journal

Don’t feel like writing? Whether you’re artistic or not, draw or sketch your feelings, dreams, or ideas instead. Or create a collage of images and/or words that resonate with you. Your collage could also include meaningful items such as ticket stubs, photographs, or pressed flowers. Journaling invites us to be creative with no boundaries.

  • WRITE.

If you’re looking for a more traditional approach to journaling, the Center for Journal Therapy provides the acronym WRITE as another way to guide us:

W – What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How are you feeling?
R – Review or reflect on it. Begin with statements such as “I feel…” or “I think…” or “I want…”
I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing.
T – Time yourself. Aim to write for 5-15 minutes or whatever works for you, just try to be
       consistent.
E – Exit your journaling sessions by rereading what you wrote and reflecting on your words. Jot
      down any action steps you will take.

Once you get started this summer, you might choose to incorporate journaling within your teaching practices in the fall. Like adults, students benefit from journaling in many ways including:

  • Identifying and managing difficult emotions and feelings effectively
  • Enhancing literacy and communication skills
  • Effective and responsible decision-making
  • Reflecting on difficult situations
  • Keeping life events in perspective
  • Having an outlet for sharing feelings that are difficult to verbally express

Consider giving students the opportunity to explore different ways of journaling to see what works best for them individually. This article outlines several suggested ways that journal writing can be incorporated into the classroom.

Whether you choose to write, type, or draw I hope journaling provides you with peace, happiness, and good health this summer and beyond.

 

Sources:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-journaling_n_6648884
https://journaltherapy.com/lets-journal/a-short-course-in-journal-writing/
https://blogs.psychcentral.com/everyday-creativity/2016/06/7-different-ways-to-journal-to-help-you-create-reflect-and-explore/


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Jill Rockwell
Jill has over 13 years of experience as a licensed teacher in the areas of Special Education, Reading Education, and Health Education. She embraces diversity and has worked with students in grades K-12 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Jill completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls while teaching full time. She fully understands the soaring demands of today’s teachers. Her courses are designed to maximize the time of all educators by providing engaging, meaningful, and applicable activities which can be used to enhance teaching practices. She focuses on research-based best practices and technology integration throughout her own instructional practices. Together with her husband and two young boys, Jill enjoys traveling, biking and the changing seasons of the great outdoors in Wisconsin.