At some point of time in our lives, mostly in our teenage years or childhood, we’ve probably been guilty of having a personal diary where we poured out our feelings about a secret crush or simply introspected about the day and life in general. For quite some time, writing a diary was simply viewed as an act that had no real value, it was just something for young people still trying to figure out their identity while dealing with raging hormones and middle-school or high-school drama; however, there is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on emotional, mental, and even physical health.
According to James Pennebaker, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, writing about stressful events helps one come to terms with them, acting as a stress management tool, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on one’s physical health. When we journal, the act of writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain which is rational and analytical, while the right hemisphere is free to create and feel. Thus, journaling helps one remove mental blocks and allows a person to gain a better understanding of themselves, others, and the world around. Journaling helps one gain clarity over their thoughts and feelings by helping them quickly get in touch with their internal world. Journaling about difficult feelings like anger, jealousy, sadness helps to release the pain caused by these emotions and reduces the intensity of these feelings. This enables an individual to feel calmer and more positive about the present. Journaling also allows one to track patterns, trends, improvement and growth over time. Studies have shown that the emotional release from journalism lowers levels of anxiety, stress, and induces better sleep.
While journaling can result in many positive outcomes and improvements in daily life, effective journaling is not simply about putting words on a page. As a counselling psychologist with almost a decade of experience, the advantages of journaling were never unknown to me. A good journal can be an empowering tool that helps one meet their goals along with improving the quality of life, and even though there are so many studies and articles that mention the benefits of journaling, when I looked around, I was surprised to find not even one good journal in the market! There’s definitely more to journaling than writing in a pretty notebook or diary with one’s favourite pens, but I was surprised to note that there was really nothing available. That’s how the Lights On! Journal was born!
Lights On! is a self-help journal series created with a lot of thought and care to help individuals on their journey to become the best versions of themselves. The journey with Lights On! began in 2018 where I released one journal exclusively for adults to help them stay inspired throughout the year with empowering quotes, small activities and writing prompts. It received a lot of positive feedback, and I had strangers reaching out to me in a matter of time asking me for a copy as well. Unfortunately, I was sold out for it had been a limited release, and back then, since I was doing everything on my own – from writing the content for every page (the designing was outsourced) to marketing the product to packaging and couriering to fulfil all orders – while having a full-time day job where I counselled people with trauma and issues like anxiety, eating disorders and depression, I was obviously overwhelmed. The dream, however, was to continue empowering more and more people to become the best version of themselves, and it was with this prayer in mind that I met Imran Sherwa, the founder of Ignimind.
Imran and I knew each other from some healing workshops we’d both attended in the past. He was one of the people who missed out on owning a copy of my first journal, and a random meeting with him became the key to unlocking my dream. It was Imran who dared me to dream big. This year, Lights On! is releasing a total of ten journals:
- The Lights On! Journal for Kids is a series of four journals for children between the ages of 6 and 11 years. Each journal explores different themes and, while complete in itself, builds on its predecessor to enable children to be more mindful, more compassionate, and more at ease about experiencing life and all its challenges with confidence. The vision is to build a world where children feel good about being who they are, love themselves immensely, and use that as a blueprint to love others and cultivate meaningful friendships and relationships. The journal also empowers children with effective skills of communication, goal setting and teaches them, in its own unique ways of stories and engaging activities, how to overcome obstacles to growth, resolve conflicts and work through difficult emotions.
The Lights On! Journal for Adolescents is a set of four journals for tweens and teens between the ages of 11 years and 16 years to enable them form and develop their identity, teach them skills to communicate, cooperate and collaborate, and help them not just realize their hopes and dreams, but also explore the limitless possibilities of turning their dreams into reality. Adolescence is a transition period between childhood and adulthood, and transitions aren’t always easy because changing from one state to another requires more energy than usual. The Lights On! Journal for Teens also addresses concerns around addictive behaviours, body-image, peer pressure and empowers readers to develop into healthy, wholesome, confident beings with love in their hearts and passion in their souls, burning with the desire to create a world that is safe, beautiful and joyous, while at the same time, maintaining boundaries, practicing assertiveness, and taking responsibility and accountability for their own behaviours and decisions.
The Lights On! Journal for Adults is a set of two journals that helps individuals plan their lives better, be more organized, while helping them explore their own ideas around love, abundance and freedom. The purpose of this journal is to help individuals recognize their own, infinite potential, let go of blocks and limiting beliefs, heal from pain and other difficult emotions, practice gratitude, and live well-balanced, fulfilling lives where they love themselves and the world around, and celebrate life with all its magnificence and varying flavours.
Initially, the idea of coming up with ten journals made me wonder if I was being very, very ambitious, but it was Imran who motivated me. Inspired by the very mission of the Lights On! which is to remind people that perhaps the light they seek outside of themselves actually exists within, and all they need to do is turn it on, Imran backed this project completely by taking over the printing, sales and marketing bits of it. For the designing part, I was very fortunate to have Jishnu Bandyopadhyay onboard. I met Jishnu when he was still in school – he was a participant at one of the workshops I was conducting in my hometown, Kolkata – and he had successfully managed to purchase the first copy of the Lights On! journal that I’d released in 2019. Back then, he had told me that if I ever create another version of it, he’d like to design it. As a student at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, a strong mental health advocate and someone who knew me and the goals I stand for, I knew Jishnu would do an excellent job at designing the journals, and he didn’t prove me wrong!
Regular journaling promotes and enhances creativity, propels us towards our goals, offers us a daily opportunity to recover from the everyday stress that life throws our way, boosts our overall sense of gratitude, gives us a chance to process our emotions and record our everyday experiences of life. It boosts mental health by helping us be our most authentic self. If you’d like to give journaling a shot and wish to purchase a copy of your very own Lights On! journal, do visit www.ignimind.com.