Journaling is a record of pictures and words of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Creating a family journal helps you preserve and cherish your family memories, learn new skills, organize, deepen relationships, and inspire imagination.
The Benefits of Journaling
Journaling has many health and emotion-based benefits. For example, according to a Harvard Business School, people who wrote in a journal at the end of the day had a 25 percent increase in performance at their work. A control group that did not use a journal did not see this increase in performance. Another study in The Journal of Experimental Psychology stated writing a journal before bedtime decreased cognitive stimulus and worry, allowing people to fall asleep faster. A good night’s sleep is essential to good health and journaling can help you have more energy to be with your family. In a Stanford University study, the cognitive benefits of journaling are clear with helping with better writing skills and therefore better communication skills. Communication skills are essential for stable relationships in your family.
Journaling Emotional Benefits
Journaling has several emotional benefits. Writing a journal can help you prioritize your life. Journaling is useful to clarify your thoughts and feelings about situations. When you write in a journal, you can identify what issues are more important to your family, and act to deal with the most important issues facing your family. For preserving memories, family journals can highlight those treasured moments and put those moments in the context of your family history.
Journaling Types and Benefits
Different journaling types can benefit you in different ways. Journaling is not a one size fit all family activity. When people think about journaling, they think of keeping a simple diary. Journals come in different types for various benefits and needs. Some journal types are:
Artistic family journals can be beneficial to encourage creativity. As a collaborative process, your family members can access the same online journal, giving them the ability to add their ideas through digital or scanned art. The advantages of a digital art journal are not having to store paper art that can become lost or damaged, being able to share the art with relatives far away, and organizing the art with hashtags. Another art journal idea to spark the imagination is combining your art journal with your travel. Recording your written, drawn, and video impressions of when your family visits museums or other cultural places and events will make lasting memories in art and serve as references for future creativity.
The dish you baked last month was delicious, but where did you misplace the recipe? The benefit of a food journal is you can organize your recipes. Not only is this a convenient way to keep favorite recipes organized, but to a great way to write notes about the occasions you shared with your family. Writing mini-reviews of your favorite restaurants, adding photos of foods you have enjoyed, and noting food trends are great for food journaling. An added benefit of a food journal is the journal can help you track the nutritional value of what you eat, helping you reach health and fitness goals.
Relationship journals can be beneficial for you and your partner. You can use this journal to work on conflicts, write about your goals, capture memories, and post pictures. Another beneficial relationship journal you can use is a friendship journal. While friends are not family, they are near and dear, supporting our families emotionally.
When your kids are older, they may wonder what books you read to them when they were younger. A reading journal is useful to record the books they had read to them or the books they first learned to read. For you as a parent, writing about parenting books you have read or other books that have influenced your family life can give you memories and future references. Overall, the benefit of a reading journal is to encourage literacy, writing, and communication.
Travel journaling is a record of the places you have visited as well as your impressions from your travels. Your emotions, how you perceived the places you traveled with your senses, and the photos you took all create strong, lasting memories for your journal. Understanding the world has the benefit of expanding your family’s knowledge about various cultures. This is an important skill and benefit in a global economy and connected world.
Teaching children about how to care for the Earth is an essential part of their education. Gardening journals benefit children with learning science, and this is important for their STEM learning as they grow older. Creating a garden or raising houseplants allows your family to celebrate the greenness of the environment around you.
Pregnancy is an amazing experience and having memories of your pregnancy is wonderful. Moreover, recording what occurs daily with your pregnancy can be useful for your OB/GYN healthcare practitioner. Recording when the baby moves, your emotions, the food you eat, and your sleep patterns can be beneficial for your healthcare practitioner to know. For yourself, recording your emotions, what plans you have for the baby’s room, and names helps you be more emotionally prepared for parenthood.
The benefits of a project journal are for home-related projects you do with your family or for your family. Whether the project is crafting, such as a quilt, or a bigger scale project, such as renovating a room, your project journal can be a guide. Record the materials you use, share plans such as patterns or blueprints, and create a family record of the process with photos and updates. Tagging and sharing can make the project seem real to those involved in the project. A project journal is beneficial for planning and structuring your project-related activities, but also creating lasting memories.
When to Journal
People think of journaling as an activity you must do every day but, realistically, busy family lives are more important. While it’s nice to create a consistent habit of journaling, writing a journal is about lessening your and your family’s stress and enjoying your experiences as a family. An online app such as ByteLyfe makes it easy to capture special memories on your schedule.