Journaling is an effective practice that can help you achieve your short-term and long-term goals for several reasons. Journaling offers many health benefits.
Most importantly, it helps you keep a clear mind by getting thoughts from your busy mind onto a single piece of paper. It can also help you recognize some important connections between your behaviour and feelings, which can help you make some positive changes in your life.
In this article, we will look at the health benefits of journaling in your daily life to inspire you to pick up a pen and develop this beneficial habit.
Health Benefits of journaling
- Mental Health
The main claim about journaling is that it improves your overall mental health. A study published in the JMIR Journal of Mental Health compared the mental health effects of people who kept a diary and those who did not. Those who practiced self-care experienced greater mental flexibility, less stress, and a better quality of life. What’s really cool is that study participants saw benefit from keeping one journal three days a week for four weeks. “Journaling allows us to understand the source of stress and anxiety and then gives us the opportunity to find strategies to deal with the stress and anxiety at its source(s).
- Personality and emotional improvement
According to the University of Rochester Medical Centre, the practice of journaling may seem awful, but it can improve your overall personality. That’s because it provides an outlet for negative thoughts and feelings that can linger in our minds.
People also tend to write notes to make themselves feel better. The desire to take care of yourself is evident when you journal. Reminding yourself that you’re a caring person can lift your mood.
The beauty of journaling lies in the fact that you can express things in your journal that you might not be able to say anywhere else or to others. Uncontrolled emotions can be released by expressing them.
- Enhanced self-confidence
The best self-awareness is knowing that others will see you and who you are. Self-awareness is a skill set that can increase friendships, love, and well-being in life, and you can develop and maintain it in a number of ways, including receiving therapy, practicing active listening skills, and re-prioritizing your mindfulness routine.
Self-confidence can also be developed through journaling.” “Journaling encourages you to be curious about yourself and others, and it can also help you step back and think about what others think about a situation.
- Better sex
In particular, journaling can be very helpful for people who actively explore their thoughts and feelings. For couples, you can try keeping a couples’ sex journal. It is a tool to help (and celebrate!) your partner’s sex life. It uses communication skills, motivational quotes, intention-setting exercises, and thoughtful written instructions to help couples have open and honest conversations about sex. (Also read how to keep a health journal )
How to get the most out of journaling
- Do this every day. The benefits of journaling can be impressive, but to break it down, you actually have to journal—preferably every day. Experts often recommend daily journal. Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty if you miss a day or two.
Journaling is a way to meet your emotional and spiritual needs, but there are several other ways to meet those needs. So if you don’t feel it, you don’t have to force it.
A 2018 study found that writing for just 15 minutes a day, three days a week, can still help reduce anxiety and give your brain a positive boost.
Journaling prompts can help you get back into the habit and inspire you to write. According to Cangilla, if that doesn’t work, ask yourself a few questions to find the most important points:
What makes me start journaling now? What got me excited about journaling? What obstacles do I expect to encounter in journaling regularly, and how do I overcome them? How do you feel about rewriting your diary? What can I do this time to make the process more comfortable so I’m more likely to stick with it?
- Put it on your schedule. For those who struggle to maintain a daily journaling habit, try to do it at exactly the same time every day. It will be easier for you to get used to it when you make it part of your routine.
Heck, if you’re really committed to learning how to journal every day or maintaining your journaling habit, you can set it up as a recurring event on your Google calendar.
Including it in your schedule along with everything else can remind you that journaling practice is an appointment worth keeping.
- Don’t get stressed. Your journal is not the place to show off your punctuation skills. Instead of focusing on grammar and punctuation, you should focus on words. Editing every spelling and grammar can actually hinder your ability to communicate with yourself because it forces you out of your emotions.
Most people find it easier to avoid editing when you’re actually writing on paper, so if you’re revising your work as you write, consider switching to a physical journal and using a pen instead of a pencil to avoid the temptation to go back to remove or fix the errors.
- Ask yourself questions as you write. Of course, you can spit out your board, or take it a step further (and get more out of journaling) and ask yourself questions about how you feel to get a clearer picture of reality.
Consider it an interview with yourself. In some cases, the answers can really help you decide or identify the changes you need. To get some ideas, consider the following questions:
- What exactly do I hope to achieve?
- What can I do to influence the results?
- What can I do to accept it?
- How can I prepare for potential obstacles in the future?
- What excites me about this?
- If I find myself in this situation, how can I help myself?
- Try different journaling formats. Some people like to keep a list of tips. Others prefer to use graph paper or bullet journal. When you first start journaling, try exploring different formats to see which ones work best for dealing with your emotions and situations. Some persons do better with a simple checklist and information, while others benefit from writing for themselves.
Some people like to draw pictures of content. Regardless, the goal should be to keep your journaling practice smooth, fun, and creative.