There are many benefits to journaling as well as reasons that seniors might want to engage in this time-honored way of detailing personal memories and logging life events. Older adults that want to ensure they can remember some of the most important elements of life might consider journaling as an option, but this habit can also help people deal with anxiety or develop an outlet for creativity.
Whether you're considering journaling for the first time or want to get back to it now that you're settled into a fun retirement life at an assisted living community, here are five reasons to get started.
Seniors that are struggling with memory retention or are worried about remembering things in the future might find journaling to be helpful.
First, journaling provides a way for seniors to record events, thoughts and other important items as they occur. Second, the act of writing — especially by hand with a pen or pencil — triggers certain cognitive functions that can help with focus, problem solving and memory.
Writing something down might help you remember it. And if you don't remember it, you can look back on the journal entries later to remind yourself about them. Regularly reviewing old journal entries can help you safeguard certain memories.
Many people use journaling as a creative outlet, writing whatever comes to mind. That can include daily meditations and musings, poetry, personal essays or stories. But journaling doesn't have to be a creative pursuit. Some seniors might find that simply jotting down important information or what they did that day in bullet format can be helpful.
One method of doing this is called bullet journaling. This involves writing down tasks you want to complete, appointments you have and other notes in short phrases throughout the day to help you keep track of life. You can track anything you like, including your medical and social appointments, what you ate each day, whether you exercised, who you spoke to and any conversations of note, or what you're happy or sad about each day.
Some seniors may find journaling to be beneficial for therapeutic purposes. Sometimes, working through issues that may be traumatic or associated with life events, people or places is challenging. You might not really understand why you're upset about something at first, or, if it's a long-term hurt, you may not have the ability to confront the person involved or make amends yourself.
Journaling can be a way to work through things yourself, record your feelings or even communicate an apology that you can't communicate any other way in this life.
If you're interested in therapeutic journaling, here are some steps you might want to take:
• Invest in a notebook or journal that you enjoy writing in. When you like the notebook, you might be subconsciously more likely to put it to use.
• Decide on a writing instruction. Pick one that feels good to you and doesn't provide a texture or sound that might be annoying to you.
• Set aside some time to journal. Ensure you won't be interrupted and create a mood for contemplation with music or enjoyable lighting.
• Set a timer and start journaling. Don't stop until the timer goes off. If you're new to the practice, set the timer for a relatively short amount of time, such as 10 minutes.
Journaling can be an ideal way to set and achieve goals. Using a journal provides a reference point by which seniors can create a goal and stick with it.
First, journaling creates a written record of the goal. Did you know that writing something down increases the chance that you'll actually do it? By jotting down where they want to be in the future and how they might get there, seniors create a roadmap they can use for success.
Journaling can be used for both short- and long-term goals. For instance, seniors that want to realize long-term goals can set them and create a plan in their journal that can be revisited often. This lets them know how and when they get off-track and how to continue working to make their goals happen.
A written account also ensures that seniors know why they are making the changes they are and what they need to do in other areas of their lives to make their goals a reality. For example, if you want to lose weight, you could simply work toward that goal. But if you write a list of all the positive reasons you're losing weight and what you want to do when you meet your goals, you increase your motivation.
Break those goals down into milestones and a checklist in your journal, and you can celebrate each step in the process for increased motivation.
Whether you want to write your own memoir or are working on a piece of fiction, a journaling habit can help you get there. You could use your journal and journaling habit to get that larger writing project completed 15 minutes a day. Or, you might journal as a way to unload thoughts and get the writing juices flowing before you start working on another project.