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How to Create a Journaling Habit

Along with the many benefits of journaling, I’ve previously shared my personal experience of using writing and reflecting to change my behaviour while recovering from an under-active thyroid. Although you know this simple self-care practice could make a huge difference to your mental health, you’re probably wondering how to create a journaling habit. Here are a few hints and tips…

Be Prepared

If you’re not sure where to start or you find the sight of a blank page gives you writer’s block, you may benefit from a more structured approach. Based on my own experience and drawing on my professional expertise, I’ve created the CBT Journal, a step-by-step guide to self-reflection. As well as helping you become more aware of your individual patterns of thinking, feeling and doing, it also gives you the tools you need to change these patterns and improve your mental health.

Be Consistent

Set aside an achievable amount of time each day and create a familiar routine around your journaling practice. Whether it’s the first thing you do when you wake up or the last thing you do at night, it’s a good idea to establish a few gentle cues to keep you on track. Try setting an alarm on your phone or incorporate writing into your existing bedtime routine.

Make It Enjoyable

The minute something starts to feel like a chore, we’re less likely to make it a priority. As journaling can unearth difficult feelings and emotions, it’s important to make the experience itself as enjoyable as possible. This will look different for everyone. Things like listening to your favourite music, burning a beautiful scented candle, or creating a cosy space in which to write can all make a huge difference to your motivation levels.

Just Start!

It takes time to create a habit, but if you don’t try, you never will. Commit to journaling and just start – the words will soon begin to flow. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, this won’t motivate you at all! Remember, you won’t always choose the right option. It’s part of being human. You and I and everyone else is a constant work in progress and we all have good days and bad days.

The CBT Journal

The CBT Journal blends elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with the practice of journaling to make you more aware of how you think, feel and act. This process encourages reflection and enables change, helping you cultivate the best version of yourself.

It can form part of an ongoing daily wellbeing routine or it can be used as a short-term four-week project to help you understand your mind and improve your mental health. You can find out more and purchase the CBT journal here.

I love hearing from you, so do get in touch and let me know how your journaling practice unfolds.

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Sarah Rees

Sarah is a fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and mental health writer delivering Modern Mental Health for you and with you in Mind. Sarah is the author of ‘The CBT Journal’ which helps you write for your wellbeing incorporating CBT techniques. For more information and to keep in touch have a look at