Benefits of Journaling for Over 55 Communities in Ocean County, NJ
Journaling is a beautiful hobby to take up, especially when we are all social distancing. Instead of plugging into a computer or the TV, writing is a nourishing act that helps you stay in touch with yourself. In fact, journaling can have tremendous benefits for over 55 communities in Ocean County, NJ, including elevating mood, balancing emotions, and exercising the brain and hands.
Staying at home at Barnegat 67 can be a very fulfilling time. In this article we’ll talk about some of the ways in which journaling is beneficial for over 55 communities in Ocean County, NJ, and then dive into some ideas for getting started. Finally, we’ll leave you with a selection of prompts to get your inner writing flowing!
What are the Benefits of Journaling?
As it turns out, the benefits of journaling are far reaching. It not only improves emotional well-being, but even improves physical health. Writing also improves cognitive function, can clear the mind and unblocks creativity.
As we age, stiffness and arthritis can set in. Using hands regularly helps keep the joints flexible and strong. Even the act of gripping a pen and writing can be good for the hands.
- Balance the emotions and reduce stress
Journaling is a wonderful tool for processing difficult emotions and stress management. Journaling can help with anxiety, depression and an also be a means of releasing traumas. Putting feelings and thoughts on paper is a way to blow off steam and find perspective. It can even help you notice negative thinking patterns and behaviors. It is also a great way to practice positive thinking and self-talk.
For example, if you find yourself upset about something, you can write a few pages ranting and raving to get it off your chest. Then you can transition into shifting the perspective by writing down the positive aspects of this situation or life in general.
- Improves physical health and healing time
Numerous studies have indicated that writing can actually improve physical health throughout the body, including immune health, arthritis and asthma.
The writing must be of an emotional nature—such as reflecting on traumas or disappointments in life—in order to induce healing. For example, one such study published in psychosomatic medicine journal, did a trial on 49 adults aged 64 to 97.
One group was asked to write about daily activities and time management, while the other group was asked to write expressively about upsetting life events. Then, small skin biopsies were taken. The wounds of the group that wrote expressively about upsetting events healed much more quickly than the group who wrote about unemotional topics.
- Fights dementia/ improves brain function/strengthen cognitive abilities
Writing is a very engaged mental activity. Studies have shown that those who read and write have a slower decline in mental function as they age. Think of writing as a workout for the mind. Writing expressively and/or creatively works out the part of the brain that thinks abstractly and creatively.
- Gain clarity
Journaling is also an excellent problem-solving tool. When swimming in a sea of thoughts, writing helps to clear a path in the mind. Find clarity by transferring all your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper—you may find that the answer comes easily, or else that the “problem” isn’t as pressing as you’d thought. Regardless, you’ll be surprised by the tremendous amount of internal space that is created by writing out your thoughts.
- Creativity & Inspiration
Writing triggers inspiration. You may begin to notice common things in a more special way. That’s because you are exercising the poet’s brain—even if you aren’t specifically writing poetry.
Writing has a way of unplugging creative blocks in all areas of life. So when you begin writing, watch out! You may just begin spending more time creating beautiful meals too. Or you may find yourself with a paintbrush in hand!
What’s the best part of journaling for over 55 communities in Ocean County, NJ? It’s fun! Even if it’s difficult to begin writing, once you’re in the flow, it is a rewarding pastime in and of itself. Just seeing the way words form on blank paper is a pleasure to behold. The fact that you can take thoughts, or feelings, and translate them into a piece of written material that exists outside of yourself, is the miracle of creativity.
How to Get Started
If you feel intimidated to begin your journal, or find yourself dragging your feet, here are some suggestions to get over the hump.
- Pick out a journal that you really love. You want a journal that feels good, both to look at and to write in. If you love the look and feel of your journal, you will be much more attracted to spending time with it.
Consider: Do you want lined paper or blank paper? Do you want a classic mole skin journal, or a more sparkly alternative? Browse your local bookstores to find the journal that calls out to you. It could even be a regular, lined notebook!
- Next, carve out some time. First thing in the morning is a great time to journal, because it can clear the head and prepare you for the day. Some people even like to make an evening routine of it, for the same reason—it’s nice to process the day before bed. But anytime is great—perhaps during the afternoon siesta is perfect for you.
- If you’re comfortable just diving in—fantastic! If you’re not sure what to write about, there are a couple tricks that can be helpful. The first thing is freewriting. This is a classic means of unblocking creative flow.
Freewriting means that you simply put your pen to the paper and don’t lift it for 15 minutes, or until you’ve filled 3 pages. You can decide the exact metrics, but decide before hand so you don’t get distracted during the exercise. During the allotted amount of time, just write. No matter the content. You could write “blah blah blah” for half a page. Just don’t pick up your pen.
The idea is that at some point thoughts will start to form and build up and eventually, they will simply burst forth onto the page.
- Another helpful strategy to get the writing juices flowing, is to have a list of journal prompts to respond to. Having a prompt can be tremendously helpful in writing because it makes you feel more directed and focused, instead of floating in space. There are literally thousands of different kinds of prompts. They can range from deeply personal questions, to really lighthearted—even silly—questions.
A prompt could also be a suggestion to write in a certain style—such as a poem, or a fictional story. We’ll end this article with a list of journal prompts to get you started.
Below are just some suggested journal prompts for over 55 communities in Ocean County, NJ. It’s often a good idea to choose the one that inspires you the most, and the one you feel the most resistance to. You can also use these as seeds for brainstorming—come up with a list of your own questions! Or surf the web for some suggestions.
- Gratitude List: List at least 3, but as many things as you want, that your grateful for today.
- Do’s and Don’t’s List: What are the Do’s and Dont’s to live by?
- What scares you?
- Dear Past Self: Write a letter to your past self.
- Dear Future Self: Write a letter to your future self.
- What are the things you love about your favorite people?
- What do you need to forgive yourself for?
- Write a letter to someone you need to forgive.
- What is your most outrageous/secret desire?
- Some of the things that make me happy are…
- Describe your first love.
- Describe a favorite place from childhood.
- Imagine yourself as an animal: What kind of animal are you? What does it feel like to be you? What do you eat? Where do you sleep?
- Write down a line from a poem, then continue the poem.
- Write a poem from the perspective of a hawk, a willow tree or a great boulder.
- Write a haiku (5-7-5 syllable count)
- Here’s a prompt by Natalie Goldberg, from Writing Down the Bones:
Take something you feel strongly about, whether it’s positive or negative and write about it as though you love it. Go as far as you can, writing as though you love it, then flip over and write about the same thing as though you hate it. Then write about it perfectly neutral.
- Create a super hero out of your favorite traits and a super villain out of your shadowy side. Give the hero a weakness and the villain a relatable, vulnerable side.
There’s No Right Way to Write
If you feel called to journaling, remember: there’s no right way to write. You may have a completely abstract style that makes no linear sense. Or you may write exclusively about memories. Do what feels good.
Luckily for over 55 communities in Ocean County, NJ, Barnegat 67 has lots of great writing nooks: sit by the fireplace in the clubroom or in the fresh air at the rooftop lounge. Get comfortable, open up your journal and let your pen flow across the page.