A Gentle Introduction To Journaling
Using this 6-week introductory journal, you will discover how and why your child should start a Positivity Journal (click here for FREE ebook version).
What Is Journaling?
Perhaps it is easiest to explain what journaling is by clearing up what it’s NOT. Keeping a journal is NOT like writing a:
- To do list
Journaling is a private activity, but with young children, they will/may need the assistance of a grown-up. Each day, for example, they reflect on how they feel, what they thought and what they did. Alternatively they can keep a journal of ideas, dreams, places they want to go or things they want to do or become. It is a time and space dedicated for private reflection.
Different Types Of Journal
As you can see from above there are all kinds of journals. You can even keep exercise, diet, business and family journals. The common thread through all of them is the act of writing down your thoughts. Kids can use notebooks of any size and personalise them, decorate them, make them their own.
There is of course Kiki’s I CAN Journal, which helps children start this healthy daily habit from a young age (ideal for 4-7). This 90-day activity journal nurtures your child on their way to a positive mindset whilst cultivating their self-confidence.
Journaling with pen and paper requires the application of the analytical, rational left side of the brain; while your left hemisphere is occupied, your right hemisphere (the creative, touchy-feely side) is given the freedom to wander and play. This allows your creativity to flourish and expand and can make a big difference in your daily well-being
What Are The Benefits Of Journaling?
We find it is an extremely useful tool to help children through big changes or challenging times; e.g. pupils transitioning from primary school to secondary school. All big changes affect us in different ways. Ways we sometimes do not see but that can manifest over time into worry, stress and then physical ailments. Positivity Journaling gives your child the opportunity to identify negative emotions before they become pent-up, keep them in a more positive frame of mind, and help them build a greater sense of self-awareness and perspective on life.
Journaling can be effective for many different reasons and help us reach a wide range of goals. It can help you clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Overall, journaling has been found to:
- Boost your mood/affect
- Enhance your sense of well-being
- Reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam)
- Improve your working memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005)
How Can Writing Make Us Feel Better?
You might be wondering how writing in a journal can have a significant impact on your life. After all, it’s just putting some words on a page—how much can that really do for you? It turns out that this simple practice can do quite a bit, especially as you strive towards a cultivating more positive attitude.
Writing a journal can make us more aware (and self-aware) and help us detect unnoticed and/or unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviours. It allows us to take more control over our lives and puts things in perspective. Furthermore, it can help us shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one, especially about ourselves (Robinson, 2017). All this because we:
- Carve out time to pause.
- Observe thoughts, actions, feelings–allow these to flow from our pen without thinking.
- Pin our observations and free-floating thoughts down on paper.
Now we have created something tangible. this feeds back to the brain. Now it is real, we can deal with it (problem), enjoy it (happy memories), understand it (hidden emotions),
The reason why writing is more effective than simply thinking or speaking these thoughts and/or emotions is because it is a physical act that engages the brain and the body. The physical act of writing with a pen slows the thinking process down, giving your child the opportunity to unravel their thoughts. When we think, our thoughts simply spin around in our head, always in motion. Journaling pins them down for us to read and learn from and inspire us and motivate us.
What Is a Positivity Journal?
It is the positive aspect we shall be looking at with your child as opposed to free-flow journaling. This way they get into the good habit of journaling and develop a more positive attitude (additional exercises are available in the manual). The entries in their journal will take approximately 5-7 minutes a day.
Writing down all the positive aspects in your life is such a simple way to learn about your thought processes and track your progress as you undergo a period of change.
The areas your child will explore in this Positivity Journal are general enough for your child to feel comfortable sharing with you and their teachers and friends. This was done deliberately to get you all used to the idea. However, if they choose to continue their journaling practice once the 6 weeks are over, we/you must respect their privacy.
Various aspects of positivity explored in this introductory journal:
- Good Things
- Giving Back
Your child will have their very own Positivity Journal in which they will enter their thoughts and reflections every day as explained in the 6 respective sections. You may also wish to encourage them to carry a “gratitude stone”, make a “thank you” bracelet or something similar as a trigger to help them stay focused on the now, instead of worrying about what might be or dwelling on past worries.
I hope you will support your child throughout this exciting new journey. Naturally, I am happy to provide you with any research or information that supports or exemplifies this undertaking. Or you can purchase the exercise manual that contains fun craft and written exercises for each of the 6 areas above.
Review From Harrogate Ladies College
“The gratitude journals that Francesca created were incredibly beneficial for pupil wellbeing and they were particularly useful to help support pupils who were transitioning from year six to year seven. This is a crucial time in a young person’s life and therefore to start the PSHE year using these journals really reinforced some key themes that are necessary for development and managing the ‘self.’
Our schools are champions in the field of mental health and these journals really helped us to develop our unique approach. The positivity journal was written so that it developed every week, maximising pupil progress, both academically and emotionally. There were themes such as mindfulness, giving back and gratitude – something which helped them develop as a person and they took what they had learned in lessons and incorporated it into their everyday lives, with many going on to continue journaling after the lessons.
All the resources and supporting material was provided by Francesca, with clear and concise teacher notes, this meant that teachers were organised and had a clear vision of what to achieve by the end of the six-week course. The lessons were varied in style and activity and the pupils enjoyed engaging in the creative nature of the journals.”
– Laura Brookes, Director of Wellness, HLC
The best way to fully understand and empathise with your child’s learning and journey is of course to start a Positivity Journal of your own! If you have any questions, please contact me.