Journaling is a way to self-reflect on your day-to-day experiences. Similarly to how you think about what you want to say, you will need to think about what you will want to write; your thoughts will no longer be caged in your mind. This form of self-expression can bring you many health benefits that engage your mind, body, and soul.
- Boost Memory
Have you ever, in the same day, forgotten what you ate for breakfast? Although this is a small scale example, it is a reminder that we cannot remember every detail of our life, let alone every detail in our day. If there is a major experience that you want to remember for the rest of your life, journaling can help you preserve the fine details of moments like: the weather, what you were wearing, how it make you feel, what were you thinking at the time, or what you plan to do next.
- Achieve Goals
A visual reminder of your goals may increase your chance of following them through. For example; Kaylene, in her blog, “New Years Goals: Visual Reminders” wrote, “If you really want to achieve your goal, you need to have it at the forefront of your mind. Otherwise you won’t remember that your goal is to lose one pound a week until you’re halfway through a full bag of chips.” The continuous reminder will keep the goal in your mind so you cannot simply forget; it will keep you on track!
- Work Through Problems
Day-to-day problems that you face often require you to have an opinion, leading me to the question, do you make judgements on emotion or on facts? While both avenues have their benefits, it is better to take a moment to decipher through your thoughts and emotions to come to an opinion you feel confident in. This form of writing is critical thinking. The National Council for excellence in Critical Thinking defined it as,
“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness”.
Applying this method of thinking is not always easy. However, it will positively impact your analytical skills.
- Emotional Healing
Similarly to critical thinking, working through your emotions can allow you to understand yourself, as well as receive closure. After you write down your feelings, explanations, and reasoning you can take a step back to read it through as a bystander to picture an outside perspective. By doing so, you may see your hard reality; you may not always be thinking level-headedly. The closure of difficult emotions can be a stress reliever.
- Reducing Stress
Ultimately all of the benefits of journaling lead to stress reduction. In the time you are writing, you are at one with yourself. It is your time to be in a judgement free environment to talk about what you want to discuss, and to feel how you want to feel.
If you are interested in undertaking this challenge, I encourage you to start small. Start by allotting time to write as frequently as you can. You must first make the action of writing a habit in your schedule. Over time you will connect with yourself and experience the benefits of writing on your health. For more advice on how to get started see Maud Purcell’s Article, “The Health Benefits of Journaling”.
P.S. If you are worried someone will read your journal without permission either write with invisible ink, keep your digital journal on your personal flash drive, find a bomb hiding place, or invest in a lock and key.
Until Next Time… Write Passionately… and Carry On.
Sources: located as hyperlinks within document