Journaling as a Transformative Tool: the Benefits

July 30, 2020 4 min read No Comments
Image Credit: @journey_to_wellness

There is evidence that journaling, or expressive writing, can have long-term mental and physical health benefits.

In terms of mental health, a consistent journaling practiced can:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Manage anxiety
  • Cope with depression
  • Reduce symptoms of PTSD
  • Enhance overall sense of well-being
  • Improve working memory

Recently, research has even linked journaling to physical health benefits as well:

  • A stronger immune system and faster recovery from certain diseases
  • Reduced blood pressure,
  • Better sleep

In my personal experience, journaling has been the greatest tool for healing my anxiety and becoming a more calm, grounded and centered person. Since I started being consistent with writing I am much more self-aware, focused, clear on my goals, and inspired. These have been the greatest benefits I have experienced through journaling:

awareness, Reflection, and Clarity

Overcoming anxiety requires a lot of self reflection and awareness. Journaling has been a great tool for figuring out who I am, what I value and what my beliefs are.

Get to know yourself! What would your perfect day look like? What does happiness look like for you? What kind of legacy do you want to have? What are your goals? What are your greatest skills and attributes and how can you utilize them more? What challenges are you facing? What are some things you need to work on?

It also helps uncover thought and behaviour patterns and allows you to track your mental health. Monitor your feelings throughout the day, both positive and negative. Take a good look at how you speak to yourself internally. Track your mood and reflect on why certain emotions came up for you. Explore your triggers and how you react to certain events. Get clarity about how certain people and situations make you feel. Look at your energy and productivity levels throughout the day to try and figure out how you can best work around them.

Goal Setting

Once I gain clarity around my goals I use my journal to break them down into smaller steps, ensure that they are S-M-A-R-T, and explore the different ways I can take action. I do any necessary planning and work through potential obstacles in advance.

Writing down my goals consistently helps me prioritize my time better and avoid overwhelm as well. I generally feel more focused, motivated, and on track when I know exactly what I’m working towards.

Journaling is also a good way to track your progress and celebrate your achievements.

Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to accomplish them compared to the people who just thought about them.

Calming and Grounding

Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper is incredibly therapeutic. If you are feeling worried, upset, stressed or overwhelmed it’s helpful to break down exactly how you’re feeling, what’s bothering you, and work through it. It helps your get stuff off your chest in a healthy way and clear any emotional blockages that are affecting you.

In my experience, overthinking makes my anxiety much more intense. When I write down everything that’s on my mind it feels like a huge release and I generally feel less stressed and overwhelmed. I journal every morning to help me show up for the day more calm and grounded.

Problem Solving

If I am dealing with a problem, conflict, or some uncertainty I will usually write about it. This removes a lot of the emotion behind it so I can look at things clearly.

Instead of trying to solve a problem through the analytical left-side brain writing engages the creative and intuitive right-side brain. Journaling might help you see things in a new light and find solutions to your problems that you might have otherwise not considered.

Mindfulness

Journaling is a form of mindfulness and it helps me practice being in the present moment. I notice that when I incorporate more mindfulness into my day I am much more patient, in control of my emotions, and am able to respond instead of react.

Inspired & Creative

Journaling is a creative outlet and form of self-expression. I never considered myself to be particularly creative but that changed when I started getting into writing and journaling. It’s a healthy form of self-expression and I feel most inspired when I do it consistently.

A POSITIVE MINDSET

One of the greatest benefits I have experienced since I started journaling is my confidence. As I gain more self-awareness, improve my emotional regulation, and make progress towards my goals I feel more confident in myself. I have so much clarity about who I am and what I want, I am more present, I handle stress a lot better, and I am not afraid of my anxiety or negative emotions. Writing has also made me feel more confident in my ability to articulate and can express myself to others.

I have had huge mindset shifts and have adapted a more positive outlook on life as well. I try and look for the silver linings, the lessons, and opportunities for growth in almost everything I do. I’m not as hard on myself and I give myself encouragement. I focus on the things I am grateful for and everything that I have in my life instead of focusing on lack and the things I don’t have.

Further Reading:

Types of Journals

How to Start a Journal and Stay Consistent

What are some benefits that you have experienced from journaling?

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