Writing down your every moment of every day seems so, oh I don’t know, high schoolish. Doesn’t it? But what if I said that it’s a proven fact that writing in a journal can actually reduce stress and improve other aspects of your life. Here are a few reasons as to why to journal and help reduce the stress in your life.
Forces you to unplug and unwind
Turning off the computer, the phone and all other electronic devices can help to make you focus on the now. Some times there is nothing better than a busy mind that turns off everything and just lets go with what ever comes to mind. Recent studies have found that even with the advent of social media, increasing number of teen girls are choosing to unplug and enjoy the benefits of keeping traditional diaries
Writing in a journal can reduce stress
Organizing ones’ thoughts in a journal can help facilitate problem-solving and therefore reduce the stress of negative thoughts and troubling situations. Research on college students has found that many turn to journal-writing following times of emotional hardship — rather than other types of writing — as diaries have commonly been used as a form of emotional release.
Journaling can throw away negative thoughts
According to a study published a few years ago in the journal Psychological Science, writing thoughts down and physically throwing them in the garbage can be an effective way to clear your mind. The study, conducted on high school students in Spain, found that in the case of the teens who wrote down negative body-image thoughts and threw them away, the negative thoughts did not later impact their body image
Health Benefits of Journaling
Contrary to popular belief, our forefathers (and mothers) did know a thing or two. There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressers on your physical health.
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world. Take that ADD mind and slow it down. Once you feel calmer, your outlook on life can be simpler.
- Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
- Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
- Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
- Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict. Ive been know to write a letter or two to someone who I am having a difficult time with, and I then begin to see someone else’s side through the letter.
How to begin
Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. Privacy is key if you are to write without censor. Write quickly, as this frees your brain from “shoulds” and other blocks to successful journaling. If it helps, pick a theme for the day, week or month (for example, peace of mind, confusion, change or anger). The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.
Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend. And she may provide the cheapest therapy you will ever get. Best of luck on your journaling journey!