5 Reasons You’ll Want to Start Journaling
I can still remember the very first diary I was given in 1991. As a teenager, I was so excited about its arrival and couldn’t wait to write in it. It had a lock with a key and everything!
While it was really helpful for me as a teen girl who was trying to figure out who she was and deal with all the various emotions I was going through, journaling has been equally as helpful to me as an adult.
There are several reasons why most people don’t journal…they don’t know what to write or they don’t have time. They’re afraid someone will read it or afraid they aren’t doing it right. Or they have the belief that they are not good at writing.
Here’s the truth. You can write about anything. Just dump out whatever thoughts your brain is having. It doesn’t have to be in story format and you don’t need to have good grammar. If you’re afraid of someone reading it, hide it. And yes, you do have time. It doesn’t need to be an hour long process. Just 5 minutes of journaling can be helpful.
So, why should you bother journaling anyway? Here are 5 reasons you’ll want to start journaling now.
Journaling is known to decrease anxiety. Not only has it been researched, but I can attest to this personally. Anxiety is caused by sentences in our brain that causes chemicals to be released, creating physical sensations in our body…tightness in the chest, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, etc.
Journaling your thoughts can help to calm and clear your mind and decrease your worry. It also allows you to release all your pent-up feelings and let go of the negative thoughts. Writing can also enhance your awareness about what tends to trigger your anxiety and eliminate the rumination so you can start taking action.
Anytime I feel anxious, I write. Even if it’s only a few sentences. It gets the ruminating thoughts out of my head and onto paper so I can just let them go. This is especially helpful if you are one of those people (like me) who tend to have a million thoughts going through your mind when you’re trying to sleep! Write them all down, then go to sleep. They will all still be there for you in the morning.
Journaling is also excellent for managing stress. It can help you explore your emotions and relieve some tension. It helps you examine your thoughts and perhaps shift your perspective to something much less stress-inducing. You can also get really good at identifying the main sources of your stress so you can take action to diminish them.
There is also research that shows that journaling to manage stress can decrease symptoms of different health conditions and strengthen your immune system. It can also improve your cognitive function and gives you the opportunity to recover from the daily stressors that are inevitable so you can focus on the more important things in your life.
Better Manage Suffering
If you are going through a difficult season in your life or suffering through the aftermath of a traumatic event, journaling can help you find the good in life again. It can help you to see tiny rays of light in your otherwise dark world and can help boost your overall sense of gratitude. In time, journaling can even help you see how it is all happening for you rather than to you.
Writing is also effective in helping people manage their depression. Of course, it’s no substitute for professional counseling when the depression is severe, but it can complement treatment or help you manage mild forms of depression.
Having experienced depression for a few years in the past, journaling was especially helpful in getting me to recognize my patterns of thinking and decrease the amount of ruminating that my brain was creating. It allowed me the opportunity to express more gratitude for the little things in life that I had been difficult to see and helped me release pent-up negative emotions so I could keep a more positive frame of mind.
Even if you don’t experience anxiety, depression or chronic stress, there are still great benefits to journaling regularly.
Writing has been really helpful for me in defining and reaching my goals…and anyone who knows me knows how much I love goals! It can also promote and enhance your natural creativity. Believe it or not, we all have a creative side that begs to be explored…yes, even you. With regular practice, writing helps you to learn more about yourself so you can grow to become your highest version. It propels you on the journey to creating the life you really want and helps you identify things that you otherwise wouldn’t notice, such as patterns in your thinking, feelings, and behavior.
It also leaves you with a written record of your experiences and personal growth over the years and is a reminder of precious memories. I still have my very first journal as a teenager and it’s quite entertaining to go back and read….my teenage daughter even thinks so.
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