Places Pointer - Why journaling is more powerful than you might think
Journaling, taking notes, keeping a diary. A similar act that is practiced differently by everyone.
Some like to structure their notes on their MS planner under each date, garnished with links and reminders. Others prefer to unjumble their thoughts down on a page with pen in hand; making corrections, adding extra words, and talking about things that have happened long ago or are going to go ahead in the future...
One thing is common amongst all note takers and organisers though –there are several benefits to be had that are powerful enough to impact our lifestyles. So much so that writing about your thoughts and feelings has been likened to a form of therapy and even been linked to providing patients with physical health benefits...
Here is a list of 3 ways that journaling can have a positive impact:
- Self-awareness–writing down details about our day, month, year can have a profound impact on our ability to identify and process situations. As with speaking something through with another individual, we can reflect in ways that offer different perspectives and be more informed of things. Getting notes down on a page works as a form of release.
- Stress regulation–much like being able to reflect, we can also process events in our lives that are making us stressed. The act of planning and tracking seems simple, but don’t let undermine the effect of prioritising responsibilities, managing ties, and keeping on track to the goals that de-stress us. It takes on the form of self-care by allowing dedicated time to slow down and bring attention to oneself.
- Improved mental health–as well as helping us to mediate our daily pressures, journaling can also show us what is lifting us up. Research has found that ‘Positive Affect Journaling’ (writing about positive experiences) effectively reduced stress and improved the well-being of patients with mild to moderate anxiety symptoms. Reliving good times through a page and offering the chance to plan for future ones. Trends might become apparent overtime that bring an awareness to what makes you feel good and promote us to do more of it!
So, whether you’re an old-school pen to paper-er or enjoy using digital –take a leaf out of our metaphorical book and give journaling a go! Start dedicating just 10 minutes every few days to write down whatever you feel like –not sure what to write about? A good place to start is writing down the positive things that happened at the end of your day and how you feel after performing your daily workout. Not only does it allow you to track progress but take notice of the small improvements we wouldn’t usually notice and remind us why it’s important to prioritise our health goals!
Sources: Writing therapy for posttraumatic stress: a meta-analysis - PubMed (nih.gov) | Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process (gruberpeplab.com) | Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing | Advances in Psychiatric Treatment | Cambridge Core | Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial - PMC (nih.gov)