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Journal app helps Apple users with mental and physical well-being
After much anticipation since its announcement in June, Apple finally unveiled its new Journal app on Monday. Initially bypassed during the iPhone 15 series launch in September, the app is now available to users with the latest iOS 17.2 update.
"I have been looking forward to it as I have been journaling since Covid-19 and I know men and women both, especially millennials and Gen Z consider it a part of their daily routine," says Hala Sulaiman, 28, a Saudi personal fitness trainer in Jeddah.
"Journalling is the best way to set your goals and follow them. To me journalling is a guide that helps me get through life,.
The power of keeping journals
Keeping journals recently peaked on social media during the outbreak of the pandemic.
"It really was a tough time for humanity, and journalling helped us stay calm, stay afloat and honestly gave us hope to keep going," Ghadah Eyaad, 39, a life coach in Jeddah, tells The National.
"Youth especially took journalling very seriously since, as it was all over Instagram, and I remember writing my goals during the pandemic.
"It helped me mentally and physically as I stayed true to the goals I set for myself."
Many social media users from the kingdom told The National that they took to keeping journals as a way to stay positive, grateful and motivated.
It has helped people to deal with anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues.
It has also improved emotional well-being and helped people to attain their goals.
"I mean, we know that even Anne Frank used to journal," says Samira Bakr, 40, a Saudi resident of Jeddah.
"So if you think about it, no matter what period or era you are in, this has been a powerful escape, a means to alleviate one's suffering or depression, and it is a tool that helps us to express ourselves.
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"That's the most powerful aspect of journalling to me. I am so excited to use Apple' released the app which more users can now benefit from globally.
Apple's Journal app helps users with reminders, options to easily insert pictures, audio recordings, locations, news articles, music, podcasts and videos.
"It's a more interactive, useful 'journal of the times'," says Omar Hashem, 24, a Saudi digital artist. "It's not true that men or boys don't journal; journalling is not limited by gender.
"So many of my friends and cousins use it as means to calm their anxiety and for me journalling comes before meditation during the day.
"Journalling keeps you organised, so once you have a schedule, you're disciplined, achieving goals and in a good mood. It has positive psychological effects."
Users can set the app to remind them to write in their journal. A screen in Journal asks users to set a schedule for a set day and time.
"It helps me keep on top of things, makes me feel like I am in charge of my life and goals," says Farah Idrissi, 23, a Saudi fitness enthusiast.
"I love the app and new health features of the iPhone. I journal every day and I used to carry a diary everywhere.
"But with this being available on my iPhone, it's going to save me so much time."
Noora Allaf, 39, a Saudi teacher in Riyadh, says keeping a journal is a "healthy habit" that helps her pupils to become more confident and ambitious.
"It was really interesting to see my young students talk about their huge interest in journalling," Ms Allaf says.
"Journalling helps me as a teacher, a mother and an individual, to channel my thoughts, to be able to clearly plan my schedule and keep up with my personal goals.
"It helps me find my centre. It is very therapeutic."
How Apple is pushing for greater mental health inclusiveness
The Journal App is an interactive way to get users comfortable.
The app uses prompts called Reflections that help guide users on a personal well-being journey with statements such as: "Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy."
“Journal makes it easy to preserve rich and powerful memories, and practise gratitude by intelligently curating information that is personal to the user, right from their iPhone," said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing.
"And we’re making it possible for other journalling apps to offer the same personalised suggestions while maintaining the highest level of privacy."
The Journal app offers personalised suggestions to "inspire journal entries, and customisable notifications", along with third-party journalling apps that can also suggest moments for users to write about.
Most importantly, privacy is key to using the Journal app.
"No one but you can access your journal – not even Apple," the company says online.
All entries in the Journal app are encrypted. Users can also choose to enable secondary authentication and lock the app with their passcode.