It is simply writing down our thoughts and feelings so that we are able to ascertain what they are and understand them more clearly. It is particularly helpful if one struggles with stress or anxiety. It can help us to gain control of our emotions and mental health.
I have kept journals since I was able to write. There is something magical about the connection between holding a pen or pencil in my hand and creating words on a piece of paper. Something resonated with me then and has stayed with me since. I loved the feeling of relief and escape that writing gave and created. I remember using writing a way to express my happiness, sadness or even anger. I used it to as a hiding place to plan birthday surprises for my siblings or present to my school friends.
Not so long ago, I found a stapled makeshift book that I wrote when I must have been about 10 or 11 years old! My mum kept it for years before giving it to me. It’s a beautiful treasure to behold and it brings back memories of not just my love for stories and books but also of writing.
Today, I still write – journals, lists, actions or plans! In recent years, I find that I need to do this more than ever before. We live in a chaotic world with information mostly conflicting, coming at us from all directions, and it can be overwhelming. One way to help cope with the influx of this is to write the needed town. It helps to focus my mind and thoughts on what is necessary. Writing for me brings clarity and focus.
Journaling in particular is an amazing practice, one that serves so many different purposes. It provides a great tool to help clear the mind and create head-space to make those important connections between thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and emotions. It is also a great tool for reducing the effects of stress. When I feel that my mind is becoming jumbled up or clustered, I write. I how I feel, what I think the issue is and possible ways to resolve them.
If you have been following us for a while you will know that we are big on gratitude. Journaling has and continues to help to make this a constant in our lives. The use of a gratitude journal, challenges us to take our minds off the negative and focus on the positive. As mentioned journaling has many benefits, but in the light the past week being mental health week, here are a few benefits of journaling to our mental and indeed holistic health.
Some Benefits of Journaling:
Journaling reduces Stress. The weight of stress can be crippling. It’s proven, writing things down is an incredible stress management tool. Numerous studies have shown that expressive writing (like journaling) for only 15 to 20 minutes a day, three to five times over the course of a four-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver functionality. Personally, I have found that writing about stressful experiences has helped to managed them in a healthy way. Why not try establishing journaling as a pre-bedtime meditation habit, something to help you unwind and de-stress at the end of the day?
Journaling acts as an essential act in self-care. The act and process of journaling serves as a companion that will allow us to process tangled thoughts and emotions. The act of writing things down helps us to work out our thoughts and emotions to bring about clarity. Why not give it a try, start with writing a few sentences about your day and planning forward and see how you get on.
Journaling empowers us to manifest our goals. The connection between writing down our goals and going over them somehow helps to embed them within our subconscious minds, and keeping them very much in focus. Writing dreams, actions and plans down somehow increases our chances of achieving them because they are foremost in our thoughts.
Journaling helps us to employ a creative and focused approach to problem solving. Scientists tell us that by writing our problems down, we activate the right side of our brain – the creative side. This in turn helps us to think about solutions to problems in unconventional ways to solve complex problems
Now that you are aware of the benefits journaling can bring, here are a few pointers on how to get started.
- Write by hand and on a piece of paper. According to top scientists and proven by many best seller novelists, writing by hand helps the brain! Writing is good for keeping one’s grey matter sharp and helps us to think and focus.
- If you can, write in the morning. It is not always possible in our fast-paced world, but if you are able to, the best time to write is first thing in the morning. It is when our mind is most quiet and free from external influences. It is best to write before we pick up our mobile phones, watch TV or start engaging with others.
- Make time and write every day. This might be a difficult one to get right at the start for most of us because we usually get up and hit the ground running. However, to make journaling a constant, time, every day or very often needs to be set aside to actually write.
- Not sure what to write to start off with? Don’t worry, simply start with what is happening in your life or day at that point in time, or look for journal prompts and use these.
Journaling does not have to be daunting but it can also be great fun; it can be a fun time of self-discovery! There is nothing more fulfilling when you look back at your journals and see how far you have come in growth – this could be in your personal life, career or family.
Thus, as part of your self-care amour, why not take up journaling today. It is truly a discipline that serves to help us become the best we can be.
Until next time, happy journaling!
Much Love, Remi