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Journaling is like having a diary, but let me ask you: when was the last time you’ve written your thoughts on paper?
Maybe at a younger age, you wrote in your diary about how great or how awful your day was and you kept your diary locked and hidden somewhere so that your family won’t read it.
But did you know that writing your thoughts or journaling is not just for teenagers?
In fact, experts have proven that journaling provides an array of benefits, not just for your mental health but also for your physical health.
If you have journaled before, can you recall the relief it provides? Or how it feels every time you finish writing for the day?
Journaling is a very healthy form of self-expression.
Think of yourself as an overflowing cup of water. Journaling is pouring out that overflowing liquid. This process is more helpful than you know, especially when it comes to stress, anxiety, and pressure.
In this article, we’re going to list both the short- and long-term benefits of journaling. We’ll also include suggestions and practices so you can start journaling today.
Journaling is an excellent stress reliever
It’s not a secret that stress can lead to a series of serious health issues if it is not managed.
Stress is one of the main causes of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other illnesses. Add this to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and more.
If you can compare yourself to a vehicle (for just a minute to illustrate this point!): when a car reaches a certain number of miles, you have to change the oil for it to continue to work properly.
You have to maintain your vehicle because when you don’t, problems will start to appear gradually. After this point, sooner or later, this can cause your car to permanently break down.
Think about journaling as one way to change your oil. You are pouring out your excess emotions so you can live up to a brand new day without toxic debris in your headspace.
Every day, you bravely face your responsibilities, your job, your family, your health, your career, and your personal goals.
Every moment of every day you are thinking, you are trying to achieve something. All of this can lead to stress. Journaling has been proven to be an excellent outlet.
2. Helps with immunity
How can expressing your thoughts help your body in fighting against illnesses? Here’s something you probably don’t know:
One of the immediate and long term benefits (if done consistently) of journaling is improved immune system functioning.
In separate studies, it was proven that people who are into expressive writing have less frequent visits to the doctor. Some studies reported that cancer patients had better physical health and reduced pain and discomfort when they’re into journaling.
3. Improves brain function
Like crossword puzzles, journaling is also a great workout for your brain cells. When you are writing you are thinking of words to say.
When you think about writing an essay, it has to be cohesive and it has a flow. Even if you’re the only one who can see your writing, you are still compelled to write with a flow from start to end. This process improves your comprehension and memory. Furthermore, it helps with cognitive processing.
Simply put, you can organize your thoughts freely and structure them, improving your logic and understanding of yourself and everything around you.
4. Keeps you in a balanced mood
According to one study, people who constantly journal have decreased depressive symptoms. It actually helps lift your mood. Better yet, journal in your garden or someplace that has lush greenery.
For sure, it will definitely lift your mood because nature or seeing the color green is also proven to elevate the mood as well.
Quite simply, a pen and paper can shift your mood from feeling awful to awesome.
Tips to help you start journaling
- Let go of judgment. Just write to your heart’s content.
- Think of the pen and paper as your non-judgemental friend.
- Determine your goal before you start. Are you doing this to de-stress? To express gratitude? To plan your day?
What will you write in your journal?
There are several approaches to journaling.
You can have a gratitude journal – Having a gratitude journal is a great way to count your blessings. This will shift your focus to the good things you already have instead of focusing on what you don’t. Start by just listing out the things you are grateful for and why. If you’re feeling down one day, just take a look at your journal and be reminded of how blessed you truly are.
A journal of emotions- One way to de-stress is to just let it all out. Something awful happened at work? Have an argument with your significant other? Write about how you feel. This is like your diary, where your goal is for an emotional release. This helps you understand and process your feelings so they’re not bottled up. It also helps you analyze your reactions towards a given circumstance.
Furthermore, you can also express your good feelings, not just the bad ones. When you write about the positive emotions you feel during the day, you will feel the emotion all over again. For example, journal about the moment your boss promoted you. You will feel euphoric all over again as you relive the moment in your head and write about it in your journal.
A personal planner- You can write your goals and accomplishments, your budget, and your to-do list. This type of journal is just a way to keep track of your tasks and what’s going on in your life.
If you’re a forgetful person, old school journaling might be the best way to do that. Yes, there are mobile phones and apps for that but there’s a high level of satisfaction that writing the old-fashioned way brings.
You probably didn’t know this but according to Forbes, writing may influence us to think more positively because it activates large regions of the brain that is responsible for thinking, language, and working memory.
Grab that pen and paper and help unclutter your mind. Be more organized this year and manage your stress through journaling.