If you follow me on Instagram or if you are one of my clients, you know I am a huge fan of journaling! It’s no secret that writing can be therapeutic, but did you know that it is one of the most a powerful habits you can acquire? Journaling allows us to clarify our thoughts and feelings, express them when we are not able to, problem solve, and explore our ideas. Often times journaling about a traumatic event helps us to process the event by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved. By engaging both hemispheres of the brain in the process of journaling we allow our experience to become fully integrated within our mind. Journaling is also a great tool you can use to focus on specific areas of your life that need more of your attention, for example a self-love journal or a gratitude journal, both which are examples of journaling methods that focus on cultivating certain emotions, thoughts or feelings you want to have.
Journaling, as a stress relief, self-reflection and self exploration tool, works best when you make it a habit. There are many different ways to practice journaling and ways to incorporate journaling into your life. The method you chose really depends on your needs, your schedule, personality and preference. For many setting aside time for reflection works best in the early morning hours or right before bed. Some like the old school paper and pen others may prefer to use the notepad on their phone, whatever works best for you, do that. I’d love to share more journaling methods and journaling tips on the blog and Instagram, but for now let’s focus first on some benefits of journaling when it comes to health & well-being!
- Cultivate Mindfulness – Mindfulness refers to a state of mind characterize by awareness and attention in the present moment, and by an accepting, curious, and nonjudgemental attitude. Journaling brings you to that state of mindfulness; your past frustrations and future worries lose the importance you place on them in the present moment. By focusing on writing, the wandering mind begins to actively engage with your present thoughts as you right. Become more present with yourself by journaling daily.
- Achieve Goals – Journaling often times includes expression of our big dreams, goals and ambitions in life. Journaling helps us create blueprints to the map the path to our future goals. Writing down our goals and ambitions sends signals to our brains “this is really important!”. All of your goals and dreams are not only a reflection of your subconscious thinking but they are also mediated by our Reticular Activating System. What’s that Shayda!? Our reticular activating system (RAS) is the part of our brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It is like an office sorting system, that evaluates the incoming information and then prioritizes the information in the form of messages that need your attention. It’s the only way we can deal with the everyday information that floods into our awareness demanding our attention! Basically writing about our ambitions and goals often, increases the likelihood of us achieving them!
- Manage Emotions – Journaling is a great outlet for processing emotions and increasing self-awareness. When you have a lot on your mind or if you are working through something, writing it all out often times can helps to let go of the anxieties you may be holding on to. If you struggle with unhelpful thoughts, journaling can help your reframe those thoughts by giving you space to explore their underlying reasons behind the unhelpful thoughts. Helping you explore questions like: Is this thought/belief serving my highest good? How would my life be different if I let go of this thought/belief?
- Improve Communication – Journaling is a form of written communication. Research in the field of writing finds critical connections to speaking. If this is a goal at the time of starting a journal you could aim to expand your vocabulary, finding new words to express yourself! Writing our thoughts down can also make it easier for us to vocalize them. The subvocalization of our written thoughts naturally translates into our speech.
- Heal Yourself – Expressing yourself through writing can be healing, emotionally, physically and psychologically. Studies have show that the emotional release experienced from journaling lowers anxiety, insomnia, stress and low mood. Writing messages or letters to people whom have hurt us or that we have lost, is also a therapeutic release of emotions or feelings that one may hold on too. By slowing down our thoughts during journaling we have a chance to be candid with ourselves, opening up, processing and getting honest with ourselves & our feelings.
- Identify Patterens – Journaling allows us to identify patterns in our mood, thoughts and over all life. If you take time to read past journal entries you will see patterns emerge. Whether it’s in relationships, thoughts or behaviors, identifying patterns can help you get honest with yourself or help you see where you may need to make changes. Or it may help you to see what works or does not work for you.
- Cultivate Gratitude – If you find yourself complaining or rarley in a positive mood, and really don’t like the way it makes you feel, journaling can help with that too! Focusing on the good can change your life for the better. Journaling about what is going right, or what you are grateful for can help you to cultivate feel good emotions. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggressions. There are many studies connecting gratitude to fewer reports of health issues and better mood. By writing down a few sentences each day about what you are grateful for can transform your life and be on the path of creating a positive internal & external environment.
Journaling is life changing for many. Writing allows us emotional release, healing, personal empowerment, and peace of mind. However, it is not for everyone. If you found this article helpful, drop a comment below and let me know! If you’re interested in starting a journal you can buy one almost anywhere! Bookstores, the mall, & online! Options are endless! I’ve linked a few of my personal favorites below! Check them out!