Trauma-Informed Organization: Self-Care Through Journaling

Posted on March 01, 2023


Self-Care Through Journaling

At CHS, we have a fundamental awareness of attending to the emotional, psychological and physical needs of the children in our care.

But as adults, it can be easy to overlook our own need for self-care. One great place to start becoming more in-tune with our emotions and mental needs is through journaling.

CHS Loving School Art Teacher Lisa Compton and her husband do just that for themselves, and helps others get started doing the same with their business, Bound to Journal. What started as an online platform to share interests and activities quickly became a creative outlet and epicenter of health and well-being.

For this article, Lisa was kind enough to answer a few questions on ways that journaling can work best for you and your lifestyle! Check out Lisa’s site for even more journaling ideas:

Q: Define journaling as you use the term.

A: To us, journaling is using words and related symbols to process your thoughts. The structure will vary, as it has with every culture throughout history. We call our journaling technique your “not so ordinary” journals. We run into so many people that want to journal, but after purchasing beautiful journals, they see a blank white page anddon’t know where to start. We like to use a mix of papers, journal prompts, images and pre-printed papers. The techniques we teach help participants find their own styles.

Q: How do you use journaling in your day?

A: Our professions have nurtured our journaling habits. My husband, Allen, journals throughout his day documenting dates, times and details of conversations. My journaling helps me prioritize projects and organize my thoughts but also sneaks into my artwork which stems from my training and teaching book arts at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. We have journals that stay in our vehicles for trips and journals around the house for specific projects. We end each day with gratitude journaling.

Q: What are the benefits of journaling?

A: There’s a long list of scientifically-backed benefits to journaling, depending on the method you’re using, time of day, location and consistency. The five main benefits are:

  • Reducing stress
  • Lowering anxiety
  • Relaxing your mind
  • Supporting and increasing memory
  • Improving your mood

If you’re doing gratitude journaling, the benefits magnify. There’s not only an increase in positivity, but there’s also an increase in clarity for life focus, increased job satisfaction and a decrease in depression. Medical research has proven some astounding findings that show you can actually reframe your negative experiences (creating new neural pathways) and improve your overall heart health!

Q: How can you make journaling work for you?

A: Make journaling fit your own style. A blank, white-paged book isn’t for everyone. Look at how you might already be journaling. Do you write in your books? Do you carry around a little notebook? Are you a sticky-note person? Do you journal during specific events or during difficult situations? You may already be journaling. We introduce several different techniques and use many different types of paper to help clients discover their individual styles.

Q: When should you journal?

A: What works for your schedule? Journaling first thing in the morning starts the day with positive intentions. Writing in a gratitude journal before bed is a powerful habit to reframe any negative experiences from the day. Many use their work breaks or lunchtime to reflect or regroup. Consistency is key. Your writing environment is equally important. Get creative, and have some fun!