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Beth Ann Scruggs Posted by: Beth Ann Scruggs 2 years ago

With the new year in full effect, it may be a great time to pick up a new daily habit: journaling. Starting a journal can help to improve your wellbeing and quality of life, particularly for seniors. Regardless of the quality of the content that is produced, there are many benefits to choosing to keep a personal log.   

Managing Stress 

Journaling provides you with the opportunity to express your feelings and thoughts about stressful situations. It also supplies you with the opportunity to brainstorm solutions. Journaling may serve as an invaluable tool to process events by analyzing and freeing any negative feelings involved. Using your journal as a place to record elements of your life that you are grateful for or listing your goals may also provide an outlet for stress relief.  

Preserving Your Memories 

Using your journal as a personal memoir will refresh your memory and help you relive fond past experiences. Journaling boosts memory in several ways.  Not only does reading old entries help trigger memories, it also reminds us of events we may have forgotten.  And the very act of creating your journal entries helps improve recall.  And lastly, you can look back and bask in your unique adventures, and future generations will be able to enjoy getting to know you through your writing. You can include ticket stubs, photos, postcards, or any other small souvenir that will help to provide an engaging experience for the reader.   

Establishing a Creative Outlet 

When you decide to use your journal for something other than recording your daily activities, it becomes a breeding ground for creativity. Research has shown that creative activities help reduce feelings of depression and isolation.  The act of engaging in creative projects helps with positive feelings of accomplishment.  Whether it be composing a poem, responding to fun prompts, or finally writing down a family recipe that you have memorized, there are no limits on what you can indite. Don’t limit yourself to simply creative writing. Incorporating doodles, painting, or cutting out magazine pictures for a collage can all be different forms of journaling. 

Create a Memory Book 

For seniors who may be in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be especially valuable to build a memory book.  A memory book is cross between a journal and a photo album. Use photographs that capture significant memories, or images of people who are important, and place one image on each page.  Then below each image, add text describing the image, the moment, and the individuals pictured.  This is a fantastic way to spur conversation, remind us of memories, places, and friends and family.  The reciprocal benefit, the memory book can be utilized as a tool when our loved ones visit.   

When you find yourself contemplating which New Year’s resolution to pick up, consider one that will help you relieve some tension while tracking your memories. It is okay to get to know yourself. 

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour