Journaling is a key that helps to unlock an emotionally smarter version of ourselves and unfortunately, many people do not utilize this extremely useful key. We can win the battles that go on in our minds when we’re stressed or we’re overthinking by taking out those emotions and putting them down on a paper or a screen through journaling.
You don’t only have to journal when you’re feeling negative emotions. It is also useful to write down positive emotions and experiences. In essence, everything in your life can be journaled.
Journaling is defined as a personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis. (The Free Dictionary). The key word is reflections. The benefits of journaling come through reflecting on occurrences and experiences and not simply allowing them to direct how you’re going to feel. You can keep a physical journal (a book), or use the notes app on your phone. You could even put together some pieces of paper and make that your journal. As long as you’re pouring your thoughts onto something, you’re good to go.
Now that we have explained what journaling is, here are its benefits:
1. Helps to put things into perspective
Our minds have a way of making negative things seem larger than they actually are. In addition to that, the more we dwell on the negative in our minds, the more power we give this negativity. This results in us being in the wrong state of mind. Overthinking. Stressing. And nothing good comes out of these actions. The best way to escape this prison is to take all these thoughts out of our minds and onto a piece of paper or screen through journaling. Journaling helps to put things into perspective. Confronting and reflecting on how you’re actually feeling may result in you realizing that your issue is not as large as you are making it out to be. It also allows you to start coming up with solutions and not only focusing on the bad without doing anything about it.
It is important to be objective when we are facing problems, however, this is not always possible because our emotions usually take center stage. Journaling is a good way of acknowledging your emotions while still using objectivity to deal with the situation. Writing down everything in your mind has the power of making you exercise your objectivity. This objectivity is what usually results in us noticing that our minds have made the negative situations in our minds bigger than they actually are. It is also this objectivity that allows us to start looking for the solutions to the problems that we are facing.
2. Forces you to check up on yourself
So very often we go through our lives without ever checking in with ourselves and finding out how we are doing. This is not ideal. It’s important for us to continuously spend time with ourselves and find out how we are. There is no one in the world who is capable of taking care of you more than yourself. You owe yourself time to reflect on the events of your life and how you feel about them. Ponder on the things that have made you happy and do more of that. Think of the things that made you unhappy and stop doing those things.
Reflect on the people that have added to your happiness and be thankful for them. Eliminate those seem to always bring out the worst in you. Checking up on yourself regularly allows you to continuously adjust your path in life and make sure that you are traveling on the road that brings you happiness. There is no reason why you have to travel on a road that doesn’t serve you. But sadly, not checking up on yourself can make you continue to travel on that road without realizing it.
Journaling is all about putting your thoughts down. There is no need to overthink anything. You just write whatever you’re feeling and it stays with you. It’s not shared with anyone else. That truly allows you to be vulnerable, honest, authentic and raw. As much as it allows you to talk about things like your day and the fun things you got up to, it also allows you to confront some deeper issues. For example, as you continue to check up on yourself daily, you may realize some toxic traits that you have, and the first and most important step of dealing with any problem is acknowledging it. When you have acknowledged it, you’re already halfway there. All this can be done through checking up on yourself, through journaling.
3. Health benefits
Journaling has also been proven to have a number of health benefits. The first one is reduced stress. Stress creates a toll on emotional, mental as well as physical health. Through journaling, this stress can be managed, which in turn improves the emotional, mental and physical health that would have been caused by stress. A study has actually shown that expressive writing for 15-20 minutes a day three to five times over the course of a four-month period is enough to lower blood pressure and have better liver functionality (Mic). In addition to this, journaling improves immune function! It strengthens your immunity and those who journal have been said to have lessened symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (Intermountain Healthcare).
4. You always have someone to talk to
One of my favourite benefits of journaling is that you always have someone to talk to. Your journal! This includes both the small and the bigger things. There are small things that happen during our day (this includes the positive things too) and sometimes we may feel that we want to speak about it but the thought of divulging every detail about our day to someone else may feel unpleasant. In addition to that, other people could have a problem of oversharing. To overshare is to tell people too much personal information about yourself (Cambridge Dictionary).
Oversharing may be caused by a need to let out everything that you’re feeling and thinking. Therefore, the perfect person to overshare information with is yourself! You can write about every single thing that went on during your day. You can write about the surprising $10 note you found in your blazer or the barista who got your coffee order wrong when you were already late for work.
Journaling can also be used to write about the deeper and more personal things that are happening in your life and check your progress throughout your journey. For instance, if one finds that they have the earlier problem that was discussed in this post, oversharing, then may begin to write about every aspect of it. This includes things such as when they tend to overshare, and this therefore allows them to figure out their triggers. In addition to this, they may use journaling to really talk to themself and find out what might have started this oversharing problem, and in turn work on stopping it. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. And taking time to communicate with yourself allows you to acknowledge some problems and hence seek help.
Take control of your life!
Evidently, journaling is beneficial for a couple of reasons, the most important one being the fact that it allows us to take back control over our thoughts and emotions and use them to better our lives.
Physical pen-on-paper writing is especially effective when it comes to activating the “reticular activating system” region of the brain which is responsible for filtering and focusing information (Mic).
Happy writing! 🌟