The Magical Benefits of Journaling
Our teenagers are more stressed than ever.
As a Mum of two, that thought terrifies me.
In 2017 the Irish Examiner reported how two thirds of Irish teenagers described their mental health as average or poor.
Social media, exams and the pressure to perform are leaving our young people frazzled.
Your school days are meant to be the best days of your life, but sadly for so many teens that’s simply not the case.
I began to wonder, what as parents can we do to help Generation Z (children born after 1995) enjoy this precious time in their lives?
The BIG Idea
It was something that myself and my sister Marie-Anne, also a mum (of three), spoke about a lot.
We started looking for some sort of solution.
We knew we didn’t want another app or online tool. We wanted something away from social media.
Something that would help our kids communicate better, feel less stressed and inspire creativity.
One day we had a eureka moment.
We both loved to journal and doodle when we were younger.
We still do.
It was our safe haven. A place to explore our innermost thoughts, vent our frustration, get creative, explore our minds, or talk about who we fancied.
In this article we’ll plunge in a little more deeply and explain:
The Benefits of Journaling for Teenagers
We really do believe journaling is magical.
For us, there is nothing better than putting pen to paper.
The proof is in the pudding.
There is tons of research explaining how journaling can help reduce stress, increase happiness, improve memory, boost productivity and encourage your teen to communicate with you!
How Journaling Can Reduce Teen Stress
Our teenagers are always ‘on’ and constantly bombarded with information.
Generation Z are spending up to 4 hours every day on their phones, being prompted with updates and consuming content.
The majority of us, teenagers in particular, use social media to relax or destress.
However, studies have shown that the longer we spend on social media, the unhappier we feel.
Journaling takes our teenagers offline - even if only for a couple of minutes a day.
It’s a safe place where there is no comparison or judgement.
Nobody needs to ‘like’ what you put down to paper.
Journaling encourages your teen to focus on one task at a time. To immerse themselves in a single activity, like writing, making lists, drawing or doodling.
Studies show that doing this can significantly reduce stress and increase productivity.
A journal is a place for teens to become more mindful. A place where no other is viewing, interpreting, commenting or judging.
It’s where we can explore life in the present moment, instead of feeling dragged in different directions by the currents of others – something that often happens online.
Journaling can Help Your Teen Express Themselves
Today’s teenagers are never bored.
Social Media, YouTube, Apps, Gaming, Netflix all see to that.
In a world that is so noisy and distracting, it is often extremely difficult to listen to the voice within.
Having that time is crucial. For connecting to yourself and what moves you.
Journaling allows teenagers to unplug from the chaos and get to know themselves.
To form their own opinions instead of relying on their peers, parents or wider community.
It’s a place where your teenager can be completely honest , away from the glare of social media.
In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a blank page to inspire your teen to get creative.
Personally, I’ve been amazed by my own daughter’s personal creations and ideas. And by how that makes her feel.
It seems to take weight off her shoulders and feel more at ease with herself in the world around her.
How Journaling can Encourage Your Teen to Talk To You!
At times, it can be a struggle to communicate with your teenager.
Trust me, I know!
As a mum it can be a worry not knowing what may or may not be going on inside your teenager’s head.
If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you or their friends, who CAN they talk to?
A journal can become that special confidante; a no-judgement space where your daughter or son can pour out their innermost thoughts and feelings.
It can lighten the load.
A friend of mine told me about the impact journaling had on her relationship with her daughter.
She was going through a tough time but simply couldn’t find the words to express herself to her parents.
She wanted to tell them how she was feeling but didn’t know how.
A face–to-face sit down conversation was just too intense.
My friend gave her daughter a journal and asked her to write down how she was feeling.
Then, if she felt comfortable she would leave the journal outside her room at night for her parents to read.
After reading what her daughter wrote, my friend wrote messages back, offering answers, further questions or solutions to the problem.
The results were incredible.
It truly opened up the conversation in the family and turned everything around.
Your Teen's First Journal
Writing in a journal may sound slightly alien to Generation Z.
Especially when everything they do is on a computer or tablet, and online.
Journaling is becoming increasingly popular with millions of people all around the world who truly see the benefit of putting pen to paper. It’s something we want to keep alive.
They’ve given me a place in which I can figure myself out - Emma Watson, Actress
I think society in general is becoming more aware of the drawbacks associated with an over-reliance on screens.
Journaling is an easy and accessible way to provide some balance.
I am not suggesting for one minute that your teen ‘gives up’ social media. (You’re never going to convince them to do that anyway!)
But for me, and from what I have seen happening around me, journaling is a helpful tool that has many uses and positive effects.
For your teen, having that space offline which allows them to vent is a good thing
And yes, it just so happens to be offline and seemingly ‘old school’ (remember opening up your own journal?).
Social media posts are instant and even if deleted they are still out there in the universe. It’s far from the perfect and private, safe place to explore.
Journaling allows your teen that bit of breathing space, to really think about how they feel as opposed to blurting something they may regret later online.
Or to blurt, without that going public for all to see.
Do you remember your first journal or diary?
What did you write about?
Share that story with your teen.
Opening up about your own teenage experience might help connect the dots and encourage your teenager to get started.
Remember journaling is not an assignment or homework – it’s fun!
There are no rules or ‘right’ way to journal. Anything goes. And it’s private.
It’s a tool your teen can use whatever way they want.
How to Get Started
Getting started is often the hardest step.
Luckily, there are many fun things your teen can journal about!
We’ve taken inspiration from the teenagers in our lives who shared their favourite journal topics.
Below is a snapshot of their ideas:
Remember, your teen can start small.
5 minutes of journaling –simply putting pen to paper– per day is a great way to build confidence and form a new habit.
If your teen is struggling about what to write about, there are some fantastic prompts to get the creative juices flowing.
So there you have it.
Your crash course into how journaling can be a powerful tool for your teen.
I truly believe in the power of journaling and love watching my own children experiment with theirs.
The best thing about journaling is you don’t need a whole lot to get started.
You also don’t need to be the greatest writer or an amazing artist because journaling is unique to you.
Journaling became a huge passion project for both myself and my sister Marie-Anne, so much so that we decided to create our own journal specifically for teens.
We called it the NOSO Journal and put our heart and soul into the project to make it the best tool for teenagers.
We love it.
For us, it’s more than a journal. It’s your teen’s confidante, teacher or best friend.
For me, there is no other gift like it. It’s something special to give. Something your teen can cherish.
We would LOVE to hear from you! Tag us in your teens journal creations and we’ll share them across our social platforms to share the joy and purpose of journaling.
We love seeing ideas come to life!
Jannetje van Leeuwen , Co- Founder NOSO Journal
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