Now that summer is here, some of you will probably opt to take a break from at least a few of the in-depth school subjects for the season. There is outdoor fun and other adventures to take advantage of during this time. And this also might be a perfect opportunity to experience new projects or activities that were not accomplished throughout the school year. One particular activity that comes to my mind is journaling. Maybe journaling is already a habit in your life or it might be something you have been thinking of implementing but haven’t taken the time to do it. This summer might be a great time to embark on this new venture.

Some of you might be asking, “Why would I want to journal?” Journaling actually has many benefits. By physically writing your thoughts or experiences on paper, as you reflect on your day or the previous one, you begin to clarify and simplify your thoughts. This exposes your true emotions and feelings, allowing you to become more aware of your actions. Sometimes it might be uncomfortable to write what you are really thinking, but it can be a therapeutic exercise as you process and objectively look at your negative feelings or experiences. Then you can move on to have a more positive and healthier mindset, building your self-worth. It is also an excellent way to keep emotions and feelings in check with your values.

Maybe some of you have thought about journaling but do not know how to get started. First, always remember to date every journal entry. Next, you might want to write down at least five things you are thankful for on a daily basis (this exercise helps all of us stay more positive). Then you can move on to whatever comes to mind including feelings, senses, daily activities, or prayer requests. Writing will also quickly eliminate the difficulty of “brain fog” and getting in a rut with not knowing what to write. The more you journal, the easier it will become. Some entries might just be coloring or doodling and that is perfectly fine. The important thing is you are creatively expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper.

The benefits of journaling are not only for adults, but can also be enjoyed by children. They can also get creative by coloring, drawing, or pasting pictures and stickers on their pages. This does not even need to be an everyday exercise or become legalistic. Let them journal as they feel compelled. Journaling will then become an enjoyment as they write about their favorite book, a fun trip, nature walks, or just their everyday life. This will be a wonderful exercise to teach your children when they are young that they will always benefit from in the future. It will also be something fun to reflect back on as they grow older.

No matter what age, journaling can not only be a fun way to record memories but also a therapeutic way to process through thoughts. There are so many methods or styles to journaling; the key is finding what works best for you. Why not give it a try this summer?