What is journaling? Journaling is the act of keeping a record of personal experiences, reflections, thoughts, and feelings. This record does not have to follow any specific rules or format; it can be handwritten or typed —whichever is more comfortable. It is a private record, where words flow freely, and free from judgement of others. capped. Journaling can be done anytime during the day. Most importantly, journaling allows you to express yourself, set time aside to de-stress, and make sense of your thoughts.
According to an article published in Intermountain Healthcare, journaling has been shown to improve individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being
of individuals. It is also one of the easiest and cheapest self-care practices. Its benefits are endless and can vary from person to person. Here are some of the most common ways in which journaling has helped others:
- Journaling allows for self-reflection.
Self-reflection is essential for self-awareness and discovery. Journals allow you to develop and confirm your personality, identity, beliefs, likes, dislikes, roles, purpose, and values away from societal influences. You can make sense of what goes on around you and formulate your opinions on matters without others’ direct influence. This helps you set your priorities in a way that makes you happy.
- Journaling helps you organize thoughts and feelings.
When you put all your thoughts and feelings into words, they may seem more straightforward than you previously thought. Even if they are not, writing thoughts and feelings helps you notice patterns and can act as the first step in reducing the chaos in your mind. Moreover, according to an article by Rachel Grate of Mic, studies show that this kind of expressive writing reduces stress and improves immune function.
- Journaling allows room for growth.
Since journaling helps you identify patterns, it allows for personal growth and improves your problem-solving skills. Once you place an issue that needs to be solved, you can journal to brainstorm solutions, determine its advantages and disadvantages, and its consequences. Journaling can also act as a reminder of your mistakes and help you find ways to avoid repeating them. It can be a way to reflect on good and bad memories, appreciate the things you are grateful for, analyze problems you encountered and solved, notice patterns and habits, and determine personal goals and priorities. Your journal will remind you of these reflective moments, and you will steadily learn from them. Through journaling, you will notice what worked for you and what did not. For example, this can involve study habits, friends, relationships, eating patterns, anxiety triggers, and mood changes.
- Journaling can act as a source of inspiration and motivation.
A journal can also be a space to store inspirational quotes or notes from all kinds of media, such as books, TV shows, and TED talks. It can be a place to write affirmations, sketch freely, and just be creative. Ideas, plans, dreams, and visions for your future can be written down as well and can remind you of your interests, goals, and purpose. Your journal can be a source of motivation, especially if you imagine yourself looking back at your journal years from now and seeing improvement in your lifestyle, thinking, writing, and behaviour patterns.
Journaling is one of the most helpful and de-stressing kinds of writing for your mind and body. While it is not necessarily for everyone, you should give it a try and see how it works for you; its benefits are numerous!