Do you remember the last time you sat down with a pen and a paper to write something down? What did you write in the last few days except Instagram captions, tweets, Facebook posts or work-related stuff? Do you remember how it made you feel?
The best answer to the first two questions can be, “Yesterday, for around 15 minutes”, and we are going to tell you why.
According to the experts, writing is good for all of us, not only because it allows us to unleash our creativity, but also because it also has a lot of benefits, both psychological and physical, that can improve our day to day.
We cannot expect this to be the solution to all our problems but it has many benefits that is why we are going to give you tips to cultivate this healthy habit.
What is Journaling?
Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a journal that explores the thoughts and feelings surrounding the events in your life. There are several ways to do this.
Journaling, as a stress management and self-exploration tool, works best when done consistently, but even the occasional sporadic journal can relieve stress when the practice focuses on gratitude or emotional processing.
Benefits of Journaling
Keeping a journal of this type is about not only unleashing creativity but also giving clarity to the mind. Following are some of the benefits that various studies have established.
- As per a study by the University of Victoria, journaling can increase IQ as it empowers the area of the language of your brain.
- The University of Virginia study tells how journaling can help you reach a state of mindfulness.
- The action of writing your goals as "important actions” and your active reticular system (ARS) - a part of the brain that controls wakefulness – marks them as must complete actions.
- It allows the brain to gather ideas and trains it to be more organised (as per a note in The Wall Street Journal).
- American Psychological Association states that it trains minds to prioritise tasks.
- In addition, some studies show that people, who have suffered a traumatic event, when writing about it for 15 minutes a day, achieve better health results than those who do not write.
- In a research published in the psychology journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, therapeutic writing also helps people suffering from anxiety, depression, and OCD, among others.
Apart from the given benefits, there are many other benefits of writing a journal. Some of them are as follows:
Clarify your ideas
It will help you clarify your ideas by writing about what you think and what you feel. The simple fact of putting your ideas in writing makes you much more aware of them, and also of what you feel at a certain moment or how you feel about the events of the day.
You will discover patterns of behavior and thoughts that direct your life
When you have been writing for some time about your emotions and your way of seeing certain situations, you will discover that you have patterns of thought and behavior. The simple fact of realizing the way you react will make it easier for you to make the change because you can direct your efforts to react automatically and control those impulses of habits that you have been doing continuously in your life.
You will be able to develop a more positive attitude
You will notice when your way of thinking stays in the negative and destructive patterns, and this is how you can change them. Remember many of the things we do today we simply do because we have been doing them for a long time. You will discover that you think more negative than you had realized and you will know what situations or what moments lead you to do so.
You can focus on adopting new, healthier and more positive habits
A journal allows you to keep a record of activities and that is where you can include habits that you would like to develop and that are more positive than the ones you currently have. Remember that little habits can lead to a totally new and different lifestyle.
Log of important situations and notes
You will keep a log of important situations and how you were able to get out of trouble (that is, you will be able to keep a record of your lessons learned). This is how you will be able to realize what you have changed, what you have learned and this is where you must not limit yourself or judge yourself. When you are free to write what you think and what you feel it serves as an outlet and to manage your emotions.
Develop your emotional intelligence
As I told you in the previous point, managing your emotions makes you more aware of them and allows you to handle them properly. This will help you develop your emotional intelligence and make you more aware of what you feel during the day.
This development in your consciousness will allow you to manage your emotions not only when writing your journal but during the day. You will also see that you will be able to understand the people around you much more and you will be able to react more equably to situations that arise.
Help develop your creativity
Allow yourself to write for a moment without thinking or reasoning, just write the first thing that comes to mind. This makes you develop your creativity and unlock your ability to be more flexible and without setting limits.
Improve your self-confidence
By including practices such as gratitude and your positive experiences, as well as what you continually learn will help you to have more confidence in yourself and in your ability to achieve good things.
Tips for journaling
If you don't want to invest in a diary with a defined structure, and you prefer to start freely, here are some tips so you know what you can include in it.
- Reactions I have to personal situations or world events
- Motivational phrases or phrases that help you get inspired
- Things you are grateful for
- Ways I can take care of myself and love myself
- Ways I self-sabotage
- Things I'm good at
- Things I like about myself
- Goals for today, a week, a month or the year
- Ways to improve my life
- Things in which I have been successful in my life
- Things that stress me out
- Things I would like to do
- Fears that I have right now
- Qualities in myself that I am proud of
- Things or qualities that I value in life
- Judgments or beliefs that I have
- Things that take me out of my harmony (that make me angry, that make me sad, that disappoint me)
- Things I love
- People I love
- Things I can do during the day to feel better
- Habits that I want to adopt
- Important tasks I need to do during the day
Janie Kelley is an enthusiastic academic writer working with Grow With Grades. She loves to provide assignment writing tips to college students and mostly writes on topics related to college life. If not reading or writing, she will be found playing with her cat Misty.
http://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/WPLC/article/viewFile/5160/2132 https://med.virginia.edu/mindfulness-center/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3055423/ http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518 https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower-self-control.pdf https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Kicking_In_the_Wall/kuKvl2_7AGQC?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover