Why journaling is good for you
Why journaling is good for you
There have been a whole bunch of studies done on the power of writing out your thoughts. Try googling it.
But let me tell you about why I do it to see if that speaks to you. I’m as busy in my dreams as I am in my day. And I remember pretty much every morning what I’ve dreamt the night before. And because of the way dreams work it often triggers stuff that I need to work through. I write it down. Journaling clears my head and structures my thoughts. Once it’s out on paper it all feels better or more manageable somehow.
5 reasons why you should give journaling a red-hot go:
1. Journaling taps into the creative part of your brain:
The art of writing – even a few poorly structured sentences – every day is a deeply creative endeavour. Often, you’ll think nothing very exciting has happened worthy of documenting but somehow, you’ll end up on a tangent to the original thought and suddenly you’re brainstorming a problem or dreaming up a new development for your work or family.
Journaling encourages problem-solving as opposed to problem-storing, and in our world where we’re constantly bombarded with information and demands on our time and resources this is especially important.
2. Journaling has mental health benefits:
Feelings of overwhelm are almost an everyday event for many juggling the complex demands of home and family life. Journaling helps you get the stuff out of your head. Once the thoughts and feelings are out on paper it somehow satisfies your mind. The trick is to write down both thoughts AND feelings.
There have been many scientific studies in recent years backing up the benefits of journaling, including this one. For anyone processing trauma or stressful life events, just 15-20 minutes of journaling 3-5 times can make a significant difference to recovery. Similar statistics have been shown for those suffering chronic and life-threatening illness.
I’m a big fan of self-care. The more we can do to look after ourselves, the better – all of the support that our physical and mental health needs is not only expensive but also super time consuming. Journaling is the cheapest kind of therapy going – all you need is a piece of paper and pen and you’re good to go! There are no complicated processes to follow, you can choose when and where to do it…and more importantly there is no judgement attached. Your thoughts, your feelings and just for you to see.
3. Journaling can help you achieve stuff:
Through journaling you write about the things that matter to you – the things you feel strongly about. In so doing you are connecting to the deeper stuff of your soul and by regularly connecting to them, you are more likely to live out a purposeful life, closely aligned to your values and beliefs. And this important because the more closely we live a life aligned to our core values, the happier and more fulfilled we are.
Journaling in this manner also helps keep you on track. If you’re a goal-setter, or like me an intention-setter, you might be reflecting on how those intentions are tracking. It’s not about being accountable to your journal, more that you are likely to connecting with your intentions every time you journal and therefore more likely to make them happen.
4. Journaling can help you track stuff:
Having a written-down record of things – achievements, disappointments, curveballs, dead-ends and even U-turns are all useful for growth and development. It’s also incredible to have that record to refer to, to be able to go back and see how you got to where you are now – whether to remind yourself so you can replicate successful behaviour or as a tool to enable you to consider an alternative approach for future endeavours.
Imagine having years’ worth of journals to be able to turn to. Imagine all that personal history just sitting there waiting to be learned from, perhaps bettered.
5. Journaling helps you know yourself better:
It’s all about self-reflection really. Whatever you write about it will be an exploration of self. A journal is simply a reflection – a personal reflection – of your life’s events. Regardless of how you phrase it, how verbose you are, how full and flowery your choice of vocabulary, your journal is detailed story of your life. Whatever, and however you write about it is impossible not to grow and know yourself better as result.
My journal methodology
I’m not going to tell you how to journal because I think it’s a pretty personal business, but I will tell you that my current journal is a beautiful, lined notebook from Europe, with lovely high-quality paper so I don’t smudge. (But I went through a phase of using Kikki K notebooks) I also have a particular fountain pen that I always use. Remember I love to ritualise things!
I don’t write every day because I try not to be too rigid about things, nor do I have a particular time of day that I journal – again flexibility is key. I write the date and time and if I’m tracking something (like at the moment I’m taking a break from alcohol and observing how that makes me feel) I write a note of how many days I’m on.
Then I have a little mental process I follow, even though now it just flows:
- What am I feeling in my body? (Physical sensations)
- What emotions go with those physical feelings?
- What do I need, and who do I need to get support from?
- What thoughts need working through?
And then I write. And write and write until I’ve got all I need out of my head and onto the paper. Sometimes it’s a few lines and sometimes several pages.
If you’d like to explore your mental health in session with a member of our team, please reach out to us at Thea Baker Wellbeing: email@example.com / 03 9077 8194.