Art Therapy at Home Journalling Journalling is a great activity children and young people can do at home to express themselves, explore their own thoughts and feelings, and create a go-to coping mechanism. We've outlined information below to see if journaling is right for you. Whether child or parent, journalling can be adapted to help all within a family, especially those coping with chronic conditions. Why not try it out? How do I journal? A journal is designed to be your own personal, safe place to put your thoughts. You don’t have to show it to anyone unless YOU want to. You don’t have to be a fantastic artist. Nobody else is going to see it or judge you for it unless you give them permission. Give yourself a little space to doodle every day, paste in some mandalas to colour in, create a collage of beautiful or inspiring images, paint or sketch, or just go freestyle –your choice! Before starting, think about what you want to use it for - writing, drawing, tracking, expressing, etc - and get started. Benefits of Journalling There is increasing evidence to support journaling has a positive impact on physical and mental health, and wellbeing. Research indicates that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, and decreases the symptoms of conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While this area is occupied, your right brain is free to create, feel and process. Gives a very clear sense of self. By pinpointing the things that mean the most to you and gaining a deeper understanding of the effect that your habits or environment have on you, then you will develop a clearer sense of who YOU are. A clearer direction for reaching your goals. Writing something down makes us accountable and it also gives us a place to chart out a plan of how it is that we plan on getting there. Plans start with ideas that must be taken step by step, and after having thought of it, figuring out how you’re going to get there is the next step. Track your progress. Perhaps we wouldn’t remember where we had begun or where it is we are going without a journal process. This can apply to goals that you may have physically, spiritually, mentally, or in your relationships. Especially when it comes to eating right, one of the first things you are asked to do with a dietician is to keep a record of what it is that you are eating. Half of the time we go about life not realising how our time is being spent. Remember the good times. Sometimes, on our dark days, we need reminders of the things that have brought us joy in the past as reading about them can give us a mental lift and a different perspective. Take time to think about your day. This is so often easier said than done but just writing a “One line a Day” or “My Day in Three Words” can help reduce anxiety, improve your mood or inspire you to do something different. It is also fun to see what you were doing on the same day all the years before! Writing your story can inspire others. Write with abandon. Write without any embarrassment or fear. This is a very brave thing to do. It is also very REAL and very INSPIRING. We all have good days, we all have bad days. Writing your story down may give you insight into how to help a friend, a child, or a family member by refreshing your memory of how you felt going through the same thing. Express yourself! Sometimes you just need to bash out those angry words on paper to get it out of your system. You can express yourself in a real way without having to (verbally!) pummel someone if all of those thoughts come out in a misdirected way to them. Or if you need to get those thoughts out to someone it helps you organise what you would want to say to them, in a healthy way. Writing a journal can be fun. The best part of writing a journal is that it is for YOU. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. You don’t have to show it to anyone or publish it anywhere unless YOU want to. Top Tips Commit to a schedule in a format that works for you and you will find that it will become a habit that you can strengthen just like a muscle gets stronger by working it. If you want to rip out a page, then do it, but don’t get hung up on what it looks like or trying to make it look ‘perfect’. Review it regularly – are there some pages you rarely use? If so, ask yourself why. Nothing has to be written consecutively. A journal serves its purpose best when you simply write any new information on the next blank page. Exercise your creativity with fun journal prompts If you want an organised journal, create an Index. It doesn't have to be fancy; it's what you'd expect, a list of page descriptions and their corresponding page numbers so you can find what you need when you need it. A bullet journal is great for organising. Keep your journal with you as you never know when inspiration may strike or you need an emotional outlet. Alex's Journal To give you a brief introduction to how Alex has used a journal, watch the video below. Creative Journaling Activities Wondering how you can fill your pages? Check out some of the creative journal ideas we've compiled to get you started. You can also view our art therapist videos to see what art activities you can incorporate into your journal. Also, keep an eye out for our video and activity guide for journaling at home that will be added soon. Create Your own Journal If you don't have a journal, don't worry, you can boost your creativity and make one yourself. There are a lot of tutorials out there to help you, but we like this one that reuses a cereal box. Don't forget, you can always make a digital journal as well if that interests you more. This link provides a downloadable journal and guidance on how you can use your own digitally. You can also explore these apps to see if journaling in this way will work for you. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find what is right for you and then commit to it! Additional Resources How Journalling Can Help Anxious Teens Health Benefits of Journalling 5 Ways Journalling Improves Your Mental Health Bullet Journalling for Beginners Overview of Bullet Journalling Bullet Journal for Mental Health and Anxiety Pinterest Boards about Journalling Get in Touch Remember, don't be limited by not being able to go out to the stores and buy a journal. You can always make your own, or create one digitally. If you are a service user or have used Teapot Trust services in the past, we may be able to provide you with one as well, so get in touch. Enjoy journaling!