Your questions about journaling

Q & A about journaling by hand: Pen & Hand journaling courses

Why do you recommend I write by hand?

Most of us spend hours on digital devices each day. But when we open an old-school notebook with pen or pencil in hand, our minds and bodies know we’re no longer at work. What a great way to set the stage for relaxation, introspection and healing.

Also, we have to slow down in order to write by hand. This measured pace helps align our thinking with our writing. There’s much less temptation to edit, which is helpful in creating a flow of ideas onto the page, leadin to important insights that live beneath our everyday thoughts. 

Can journaling really improve my physical health?

Journaling helps heal our bodies in amazing ways. For example, research has shown that writing helps boost our immune system, reduces blood pressure, improves sleep and much more. 

Studies also show that writing by hand can activate our brains to remember more. It sparks the reward center in our brains connected to body movement, giving us many of the great feelings we get from a physical workout. 

Is journaling only helpful if I'm navigating a crisis?

Even in times of relative calm, journaling pays real dividends. It can help you manage everyday conflicts and see the patterns within your closest relationships. As you record the times of your life, good and the not-so-good, you achieve what mental health experts call self-continuity: the ability to understand the full web of your own experience. Insights gained can literally help you become the author of your own life. 

What if I don't want anyone to read what I write?

Privacy is a big concern. Most of us want to feel 100% free to get difficult thoughts and feelings out of our system without someone reading what we've written. That’s why we spend time in all Pen & Hand classes talking about how to keep your journal safe. There are many good strategies for protecting your private thoughts. Talking them over gives you the chance to learn from everyone in the group.

Why do I need a class? Can't I just start writing?

You absolutely can. But you can also benefit from a welcoming group that will help you:

  • Ease doubts that can block you from writing freely
  • Believe in the power of your words to create change in your life
  • Decide when, where and how to write (so it becomes a healthy habit)
  • Try out different writing prompts and strategies to see which work for you
  • Ask questions, contribute your own thoughts and find mutual support

Ira Progroff, who created popular journaling courses in the 1970s, explained that although writing is done on one’s own, the group creates an encouraging space that helps individual writers get the most from their from their journaling activities.

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