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by Julia Hebaiter (aka Julia Svoice) (subscribe)
Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food
Published April 23rd 2010
Did you know that the simple act of writing down your thoughts and feelings is very therapeutic? Writing therapy, more commonly known as 'Journalling' is "…the oldest and most widely practiced form of self-help," according to Wikipedia.

It basically involves writing whatever comes to mind (or stream-of-consciousness writing) without restriction in a personal journal, ideally on a regular basis at a set time of day. Writing does not need to be structured in any way – and it's the one occasion where spelling and punctuation don't matter.

Studies have shown that journal writing improves moods and promotes a more positive outlook and greater physical health by improving the immune system. It has been found to have a whole host of mental and physical health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to helping heal a broken heart.

Dr James Pennebaker, who pioneered research into the link between writing and health, has some simple guidelines to help get the ball(point) rolling.

It has been discovered that after writing a page and a quarter, you reach the crux of the matter, or clarity on whatever it is your writing about. Neat!

Your journal is the only place in the world (unless you go to some remote, deserted spot or pay for a therapist) where you can vent, dream or express anything you want to without inhibition, without harming anyone and without criticism. It's your own personal space.

A small investment in some nice stationary is recommended, but not essential. Computers are generally not ideal for journalling. There's something very connecting about the act of applying ink to paper (and many of us already spend lots of time in front of the screen).

My favourite pen (and I've explored dozens) is the Uni Laknock 1.4mm (not 1.0mm – it's too fine). So obsessed am I with these pens that I request them for Christmas presents and hate writing with anything else! They cost between $3 and $4. This pen flows on the page effortlessly, creamily and dreamily!

An attractive, hardcover notebook is a good idea too, as it stops pages from becoming dog-eared and is a pleasure to use. You can pick one up in a discount store for around $4 for an A4 size.

Writing organisations, libraries and community centres sometimes run courses on journalling, so keep your eyes open if you want a little extra motivation.

If you want to learn more, simply Google "Journal Writing" for loads (and loads) of hits. If you prefer a book to the internet, some of the best are by Stephanie Dowrick, Julia Cameron, and Tristine Rainer. (These links will also allow you to select your particular state to see if the books are held at a library near you.)

Happy Journalling!
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Why? For a happier, healthier life - without a bill!
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere
Cost: A few dollars for stationery
I love that kind of pen because they write so smoothly and it makes your writing look so perfect. I really miss the days when you wrote on paper, now that everything is on the computer you forget how your real writing is like. I have problems when I do uni exams that go up to 3 hours because of the pain in my arms and cramps.

I noticed that everyone at uni has become like that because after every 10 minute break I take for my arm and hand to get it's feeling back, I check around the classroom and I notice everyone doing the same thing. So writing out your thoughts and your emotions with your hand and refelcting as you go is a very good idea. Nice review!
By Lil Uni Girl - senior reviewer
Saturday, 1st of January @ 05:06 am
Lovely writing, there are some great texts on journalling, that can take it to another level.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 23rd of February @ 12:01 am
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