When you think of someone who keeps a journal, a teenager or young adult might come to mind, but journaling can be advantageous at any age. Keeping a journal benefits seniors specifically in many ways you might not have thought of before.
How Keeping a Journal Benefits Seniors
1. Writing down experiences preserves them.
One of the basic premises of a journal is to preserve your memories and highlight the moments of your life. Whether you want to refresh your memory about a thought you had the night before or reminisce about your vacation in Europe 20 years down the road, it’s all right there in black and white for you to see.
Additionally, while most people consider a journal to be private, if you don’t mind sharing it, it can provide your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with meaningful or historical facts that will help them relate to their ancestors and heritage.
2. When you write something down, you’re more likely to remember it.
When you write something on paper, it helps you to remember it. The act of writing takes time, so you think about what you’re writing more thoroughly as you’re forming every letter. Seeing it on paper and reading it back to yourself helps you recall it as well.
3. It’s a stress reliever.
Mental health therapists often encourage keeping a journal because it allows you to transfer overwhelming thoughts onto paper. As a result, you won’t have to constantly think about them anymore, because those thoughts now live on paper rather than in your mind. Plus, as you’re writing down your thoughts, you can better organize them and see clearer.
4. The act of writing in pen improves coordination skills and keeps your brain sharp.
The more you use your senses, the better it is for your mind and body. When you write with a pen or pencil, you feel it in your hand, hear the strokes, and even smell the paper, and at the same time, you are thinking about what you’re writing. Additionally, gripping and maneuvering the pen can help you maintain or improve motor skills.
5. Using a computer to keep a journal instead allows you to learn more about electronics.
If you prefer to use a computer to keep a journal, you can use it as an opportunity to learn more about computer programs and the internet. You can even take your journaling to a whole new level by linking your favorite recipes, inspirational quotes, and virtually anything else you want from a site like Pinterest into the journal.
Keeping a journal electronically is especially practical for individuals who have limited mobility, as today’s technology features talk to text, touch keyboards, journaling apps, and many other options.
6. It boosts creativity.
A journal doesn’t have to be about your day-to-day actions and basic thoughts. It can be used for creative writing such as poetry, to compile photos, to write down recipes you’ve invented, to keep track of your favorite sports teams’ wins and losses … whatever you want. It can serve as your creative outlet, and once you get going, you never know what will happen.
7. It can be fulfilling.
However you use your journal, you can find your actions to be very gratifying, whether it’s due to the simple act of moving pen on paper, seeing what was once a blank canvas come to life, putting your feelings on paper, or rereading the inspirational quotes you wrote into it.
Inspiration to Get You Started
Keeping a freeform type of journal is fine, but sometimes having a bit of structure can keep you inspired throughout the day when it comes to planning your journal entries. Whether you’re new to keeping a journal or would rather branch out and try a new format, you may need some prompts to get you on your way. Consider these ideas:
1. Day-to-day thoughts and activities
- Write about current local and national news events and your opinions about them.
- Note when you felt happiest throughout the day.
- Reflect meaningfully on a personal issue that’s important to you.
- Keep track of any fun or unusual things you do every day.
2. Movies and music
- Write down the names of movies you watch, provide a brief synopsis of what happened in the movie, and talk about how you felt about each one.
- Jot down the lyrics to your new favorite songs or the classics that you love.
3. Memories and Wisdom
- Think about what made you happy years ago and what makes you happy now. If you notice differences, write about how and why things have changed.
- Create your own motivational quotes – a “wise words from me” type of list.
- Write down actual memories you have from your childhood or young adulthood in order to keep them fresh in your mind.
4. Just for fun
- List the things that make you laugh.
- Write down recurring dreams.
- List the things you would love to do sometime in your life, and follow up in your journal when you do them.
- Pick something and make note of it every day, such as the names of flowers you may have come across and where you found them.
In addition to all of the above, keeping a journal benefits seniors by allowing them to further identify and refine their interests and talents. At Waltonwood, we encourage continued growth through life enrichment, and keeping a journal can help you expand your horizons as well as organize your thoughts and relax your mind.