Journaling: Not Just Another Hipster Trend
15 to 20 minutes of journaling about emotional events in your life has proven results to improve your physical and mental health, says this study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. Imagine achieving better allover health without putting on a sports bra? I’m in.
As part of my New Year’s Resolutions I wanted to start journaling. As an emotional teenager I kept a lot of journals but when life became “too hectic” I cut it from my routine. But as more and more Bullet Journals began to filter into my Instagram feed, I became curious to give it another go. My research of course let me to some pretty amazing discoveries about the health benefits of keeping a journal.
Your Mental Health
Keeping a journal is like having your own private “mind palace” as Sherlock would put it. It’s a safe, personal space for you to explore your thoughts, emotions and experiences but in a new light.
You’re allowing yourself a safe environment in which you can relive and experience events without stress or pressure. Journaling helps you process all sorts of bizarre, head flipping emotions, traumas and stress. Journaling has proven to be so profound that there is even a Center for Journal Therapy in Colorado, America.
Imagine one of those super complex math problems from school with all the letters. Now imagine trying to solve that problem on the spot, in your head. Beginning to sweat yet? Then you take a pencil and some paper and start plotting out methods to solve with problem until you eventually do. That is what journaling does!
Journaling also gives you a newfound boost in self esteem. You’ve figured out how to tackle a particularly stressful situation, maybe you’ve figured out how you really feel about a certain social experience. You have a sense of clarity and confidence to tackle anything.
Utilise Your Creativity
Not only does regular writing betters your language abilities but it also helps you learn to process and communicate complex thoughts competently. Through journaling, you can increase your success and satisfaction in understanding complicated scenarios, unfamiliar concepts new vocabulary.
Regular practice of writing promotes the brain’s focus, boosting memory, highlighting manageable problems, brainstorming new ideas and give time for reflection.
When you sit down to write regularly, you are opening up a whole spiderweb of thoughts, ideas and memories every single time.
Journaling In Other Forms
Journaling takes other forms. For example:
A work diary to track experiences, successes and failures.
A food diary is great to find likes, dislikes and allergies as well as developing a healthy attitude towards food.
A mood diary helps identify positive patterns and negative habits, allowing you to adjust your life accordingly to make it better.
Seeing your own mistakes before they are pointed out to you by someone/thing else is a great thing! It’s also important to document and reflect on your achievements. This makes sure they won’t be overlooked.
How to Keep A Journal
It’s pretty simple, really. Set aside some time in your day to sit in peace and quiet, free from distractions. You can start off with 5 or 10 minutes to give you a feel for it but ultimately take as much time as you need. If you don't want to use a notebook and pen then opt for an app like Penzu or Evernote.
The key is to focus on what you thinking and feeling rather that just emotions. This is your opportunity to open up and tell your own personal story, from your point of view.
Last night I opened up and spilled my guts to my journal and I swear, I had the best night’s sleep. I woke up feeling refreshed, motivated and excited to start a new day. Will you take up journaling in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments!