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Journaling as a Health and Wellness Tool: Strategies for Effective Tracking

4 months, 2 weeks ago

3005  0
Posted on Feb 29, 2024, 4 p.m.

Journaling has become a powerful tool that many have adopted post-pandemic. While wellness journaling has always been around, it’s more impactful today than ever. That’s because life can get busy, and keeping organized is difficult.

But by getting things down on paper, it’s not only easier to keep track of things, but it also helps to clear your head. In the beginning, journaling can be a little overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, it helps to keep you on the right track to achieve your goals. Here we provide a few different journaling options to consider.

Benefits of Journaling

There are many benefits to journaling as it is a holistic approach to health. Let’s dive into a few. 

  • Studies have shown that journaling helps ease and lower anxiety. Much of this has to do with the idea of releasing what’s inside. It’s a way to vent and get things out. 
  • Journaling can provide structure to a busy lifestyle. When we feel like the wheels are spinning out of control, it creates panic and puts our health in disarray. Organizing clear thoughts that we can reference can help to combat this. 
  • A safe space is hard to find in today’s culture. Being completely open and vulnerable is difficult. When you know you are the only one who will see it, it’s really cathartic. It allows you to be completely true to yourself and your emotions. 

While there are many more benefits, much of the benefit is specific to the person; but all the benefits come from having the right strategy. 

Strategies for Wellness Journaling

When it comes to strategies, it is not a one-size-fits-all. Trying a combination is often a popular approach because journaling helps us grow. What may have worked when we started may not work a few weeks later. The entire practice is meant to be mindful. 

Mindful Moments During the Week

Journaling itself can be mindful, who knew we may have to schedule time for that? Without scheduling time to be mindful, it’s easy to get off track. Here is an easy strategy to think about. Set aside two different times during the week. The first time should be for journaling. This is your weekly time to get it all out without interruption. Here you can schedule important “me” time and write down any responsibilities and goals for the week. This is usually done best at the beginning of the week. The other mindful time to be put aside for the week is the actual activities of rejuvenating yourself. This can look different for everyone as someone’s mindful time may be reading while other people may enjoy walks in nature. 

Fitness Planning and Rewards

Physical fitness is enjoyable for some, but it can be very difficult for others to stay motivated. Regardless, at one point or another, some days need extra attention. Journaling with a reward system can help this. Creating a personal fitness log is another form of journaling that can help you track your process and identify issues that you may be having. Your fitness/exercise log can work hand in hand with a diet log to help you reach your fitness goals more efficiently. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Pair your fitness and diet goals together. For every vigorous workout you complete, reward yourself with a sweet treat or that salty something you’ve been craving. 
  • You could make a list of the things you’ve been wanting to purchase. For each workout that you do, put a certain amount of money away in a jar as a reward. When you hit the right amount, it’s time to make the big purchase.

Dedicated Space to Work

Our goals and responsibilities are an important part of the process. Responsibility doesn’t normally make people think about fun. Being clear about dedicating this time is important because color coding and blocking things out is important.

  1. The first step is to draw blocks or rectangles around the time-space it will take you to complete such a task. Shapes are easy for our brain to see and digest. This helps us stay on track because we feel committed or boxed into the activity. 
  2. Color coding these blocked-out spaces takes it one step further. If you use that Monday has a blue block from 2-3 every week, your brain will recognize that pattern. It allows us to be a little more on autopilot because if we forget, we can simply look back. 

When we feel like our responsibilities are organized, it allows us to feel creative outside of it. 

Creative Moments

One of the best parts of journaling is that there are no rules to doing it correctly. That may seem counterintuitive to everything we just said, but there is a time and place to let creativity be.

Having free time and a blank piece of paper to doodle or creative right can be very freeing for the mind. You could even create an inspirational entry or kind of vision board to look back on for reference.

Consistency Is Key

Out of everything you do, staying consistent is the most important. This will allow you to develop routines and long-lasting moments of clarity and happiness. Sometimes consistency can be derailed by trying too many strategies at once. This is where it can be overwhelming. 

Pick strategies that resonate the most with you and create realistic goals that are sustainable for the long term. If you are more creative, spend more time doing creative entries. If you are focused on your mental health and prioritize your time outside of work, taking it one step at a time in the right direction is great progress towards reaching your goals.

This article was written for WHN by Nicole McCray who is a free-spirited creative content word ninja, who has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who still loves spending her free time testing products and staying up to date on new fashion trends. On top of that, she’s a self-proclaimed health nut who loves to explore and write about holistic, healthy living.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/healthy-eating-physical-activity-for-life/clinical-trials

https://worldhealth.net/news/people-living-valley-are-longevity-warriors/

https://www.erincondren.com/inspiration-center-fitness-journal-ideas

https://worldhealth.net/news/you-can-gain-more-you-lose-when-losing-extra-weight/

https://www.lifehack.org/924277/creative-journaling-for-mental-health

https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/

https://www.purdue.edu/looking-for-a-way-to-help-reduce-stress,-anxiety-journaling-might-be-worth-a-try.html

https://www.journalmenu.com/workout-journals-the-benefits-of-journaling/

https://nutrition.org/the-benefits-of-food-journaling/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/202106/how-journaling-can-help-you-sleep



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