Back to Basics: Visual Journaling Techniques

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Give visual journaling a try. It can be a powerful stress management tool.

When you were a child, you probably drew pictures showing how you felt about having a new baby brother or learning to swim. Now that you’re grown up, you can still use art to process your emotions and reduce stress.

Many artists and therapists use visual journaling techniques to help them with their work. Whatever your personal goals, see how images can be part of your strategy for moving ahead.

Benefits of Visual Journaling

  1. Articulate your feelings. When you’re struggling to put your emotions into words, it may be easier to sketch them out. The shapes and colors you choose could be revealing.
     
  2. Increase your willpower. Each time you update your journal, you remind yourself about the positive changes you are trying to achieve. It’s a simple way to create triggers that reinforce new habits.
     
  3. Manage stress. Protect your mind and body from the effects of chronic stress. A journal soothes you without any extra calories or extravagant expense. You may even want to carry it with you to the airport or dentist’s office.
     
  4. Stimulate your creativity. Any art project can trigger innovative thinking. You’ll discover solutions to longstanding challenges at home or work.

Visual Journaling Techniques

  1. Record your feelings. Let whatever you’ve been bottling up come pouring out. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. The answer may surprise you.
  2. Mark up a book. Find inspiration by searching for prompts in a children’s story or an advertising supplement. Alter the pictures or the text. Add your own illustrations.
     
  3. Doodle a little. Even if your time is limited, you can see what appears spontaneously when you put pen to paper. Your free form doodling may uncover your subconscious concerns about your health or your family.
     
  4. Assemble a collage. Browse through magazines for pictures or collect various types of items you can use. Paste them together according to your own design.
     
  5. Dream on. Park your journal on your nightstand before you go to bed. You may be able to capture a snapshot of your dreams while your memory is fresh.
     
  6. Add text. Maybe you want your journal to combine words and images. Invent captions or drop in some favorite quotes. Turn your adventures with dieting or dating into a graphic novel.
     
  7. Note the date. Try keeping track of the day and time that you update your journal. An ongoing log will help you to see changes or patterns that develop over time. You may also notice how your mood or energy levels shift from morning to night.

Techniques for Using Your Visual Journal

  1. Keep it private. You may decide that you want to keep your journal for your eyes only. Knowing that you’re the only person who will see it could help you to feel free to experiment and divulge your innermost thoughts.
     
  2. Browse online. There are many websites and forums devoted to visual journaling and art therapy. Look at samples on Pinterest. Participate in a community and exchange support.
     
  3. Collaborate with a friend. If you tell your friends and family about your journal, they may be interested in joining you. You could discuss each other’s work. You could also suggest themes or materials that you could both work on together.
     
  4. Show it to your therapist. If you’re already seeing a counselor or plan to start therapy, you may want to incorporate your journal into your sessions. Mention your projects to your therapist and follow their recommendations.

Creative expression is good for your health and wellbeing. Lift your spirits and clarify your thinking by keeping a visual journal.

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All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

Six Benefits Of Keeping An Exercise Journal for Consistent, Effective Workouts

There are many benefits of keeping an exercise journal for women who want  to add more exercise into their daily routine.

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So you bought a gym membership to exercise more for stress relief and to stay fit.  Congratulations. But the question is: Will you use it on a regular basis?

If you need help maintaining a consistent exercise routine for stress relief and fitness, an exercise journal can work miracles.

There are many benefits of keeping an exercise journal.  An exercise journal  is one tool for making your workouts more consistent and effective. For instance, take a look at the benefits of tracking your time on your treadmill desk for work.

The Benefits of Keeping an Exercise Journal

  1. Maximize awareness. When you write in an a diary your mindfulness increases and awareness improves. You’ll have very accurate information about how many times you visited the gym last week, and exactly what you did when you were there, how you felt before , during and after your workout, and much more. At the same time, you’ll feel empowered and accomplished, and you will be much better able to relax and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that you’ve accomplished your exercise goals for the day and that you documented the necessary information. 
  2. Set realistic goals.  If you set unrealistic exercise goals you risk missing out on the fun of being fit.  You can’t transform yourself into Superwoman and you can’t lose 50 pounds in one week to fit into your jeans no matter how hard you try.   Instead, aim for reasonable targets like taking 2 inches off your waistline or losing 2 pounds per week.  Small, realistic goals will give you more victories to celebrate. 
  3. Build in accountability. You’re less likely to skip your work outs when you know your exercise journal diary will become lasting evidence of that fact.  Keeping a journal leads to build it accountability because you’d rather do those sit up that have to read in your exercise diary that you skipped them.
  4. Recover from lapses.  Events, sickness, and circumstances can sometimes get in the way of your exercise routine. That happens to everyone.  Events like holidays and weddings interfere with the soundest of exercise plans. Taking a long term view will show you how to bounce back from a few hectic days quickly instead of using that as an excuse to slack off on your workout permanently.
  5. Keep Track of important data. Imagine running a business where you neglect to keep records about your customers or finances. Data is just as essential when you’re trying to figure out how to walk ( or run) a faster mile. 
  6. Manage medical conditions. An exercise journal may be especially useful if you’re living with a chronic condition. Lifestyle adjustments could reduce the symptoms of diabetes or arthritis.

How to Keep an Exercise Journal

  1. Create your format. I am not a techie, so pen and paper works fine for me.  If that sounds like you, invest in an exercise journal with a pretty cover. If you are a gadget lover, you can organize your data with a mobile app on your phone.  
  2. Define your scope. You can decide how much or how little you want to write in your journal. You have the option to track just the basics or keep a detailed diary of each workout. At the very least minimum, try to document what time you worked out ( morning or afternoon),  how long your workout lasted, the level of intensity and how you felt before, during, and after the workout. 
  3. Evaluate your feelings.  This is really important for many women who want to know how their emotions affect their fitness plans. It’s  empowering and inspiring to document how a half hour of cycling, or walking, or jogging enhances your mood. On the other hand, if you leave a Cross Fit session feeling drained, it could be a sign you may be overtraining and need to lighten your workout sessions. 
  4. Include fun, relevant images and quotes. Pictures say a thousand words and inspirational sayings can give you that extra motivation to stick to the routine. So include pictures and quotes to  make your exercise journal a fun p[project that you enjoy going back to every day.  
  5. Make scheduled entries.  To get the most benefit from your exercise journal,  you have to write in it every day. Making daily scheduled entries shortly after your workout helps to ensure accuracy. Try different options and see what system works best for you. For instance, you may need to take your journal to the gym with you or if you work out at home, you may need to take 5 minutes after cool down to write in your exercise journal. Another option could be to write in your exercise journal just before going to bed. 
  6.  Be flexible and change your routine. Our bodies adapt to any familiar movement so walking a mile will soon require less effort than it used to. If you want to advance, you’ll need to make things more challenging. Many experts suggest that a 10% weekly increase in weight, intensity, or distance is usually a safe guide. 
  7. Examine your records. Use your journal to reflect on how far you’ve come. Maybe you’ve worked your way up from 5 pushups to 15 over the course of the year. 
  8. Collaborate with others. Reserve your journal for your eyes alone or share it with your health team. Your physician or personal trainer can give you more detailed recommendations when they learn more about you.

Write your workout program down on a piece of scrap paper or a custom-designed template. Either way, you’ll be more likely to reach your fitness goals when you monitor your progress with an exercise journal.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. Have you ever used an exercise journal?
2. Did you find that it helped you? What did you find most useful when writing in your journal?

 

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All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

How to Use Journaling for Stress Relief–One Word At A Time!

Did you know that research has proven that people who write about their stressors for two weeks feel relief from the stress they experience on a regular basis? That’s the stress-busting potential of journaling. The great thing about journaling is that there’s no one way that’s best – it’s just whatever works for you!

So the question is: How to use journaling for stress relief?

When you journal, it can sometimes help you see a different side to things that you might not have been open to during moments of extreme stress, such as during the middle of an argument.

You don’t have to have a real diary to journal your thoughts down – you can start a Word document on your computer and type your thoughts in. Feel free to delete it at the end of each day if you’re concerned about someone else finding it.

Or, go to your local bookstore and pick out a journal that fits your personality. Invest in a better pen than the one you normally use, and use your journaling time as a true source of relaxation, turning off all electronics and distractions so that you can focus on your true feelings.

If you find it hard to get started, pick a situation that upset you and in your own words, write down what happened. But don’t stop there. Continue on by trying to find a lesson in what occurred or how you think you can handle it better next time. Try to write a little bit each day, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes. The more you write, the more stress-relieving benefits you’ll gain!