If your life is stressful (and whose isn’t), you’ll be happy to learn that journaling can reduce stress and actually pave the way to health. The power of journaling has been known since we first started writing. It has only been in this digital age where we have gotten away from taking pen to paper.
Journaling, or keeping a diary, is not what you’ve grown up believing it to be. Journaling is not just relegated to the preteen girl writing her crush’s name in the margins of the paper as she laments about gym class that day. Famous men and women throughout history have kept a journal or diary as a way to write down history. While journaling is wonderful for keeping family history and national posterity, it also has many health benefits you may want to explore.
The Power of Journaling
- Reduces stress – Journaling reduces stress. Plain and simple. The act of writing, where one is forced to slow down thoughts so they can be jotted down on paper is meditative. One has to be mindful to move thoughts from the mind to the paper. Focus is necessary to accomplish the task so all the extraneous clutter is hushed during the writing process.
- Reach your Goals – Writing something down such as dreams, desires, wishes and goals all helps to solidify the thought into action. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint and you shouldn’t expect to achieve a dream without journaling your way through the ups and downs of the process. Writing your goals and dreams down help to make them real. If they aren’t written down they’re still just an idea out there for anyone to grab. Once written in your journal they become yours and much more attainable.
- Working through Problems – The art of journaling is the art of solving problems. Without fail I write more often when I am upset, angry, mad or frustrated than I do when all is going well. I write to explore my emotions and so I can work to solve the problems that caused me to write in the first place. When I write down my thoughts and feelings about whatever is bothering me I am able to see how my actions have set in motion the very thing that is upsetting to me. More often than not, the act of writing reveals the solution to me.
- Increases cognition – Writing is an exercise and like any exercise it strengthens the muscle that is being used. Journaling is a great exercise to stave off dementia, and other age related cognitive issues. Journaling has been shown to increase memory and comprehension. The old adage “move it or lose it” holds true for the brain, too.
- Better communication – The more you write the better communicator you become. Writing down one’s thoughts is a good way to organize those thoughts. Organized ideas and thoughts are much easier to communicate to others. The more you write the better communicator you become.
These are just some of the benefits that can be gained by journaling. And, the great thing about journaling is that is such an inexpensive form of therapy. All you need is a notebook and pen and you are on your way. We’ll have more on the power of journaling in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for more about this powerful tool.