5 Health Benefits of Journaling
"Journal writing is a voyage to the interior." - Christina Baldwin
Journaling is a great way to explore one's emotions. It's one of the best and most cost-effective ways to record memories or life stories. But that's not all! Journaling also comes with some wonderful health benefits for the mind, body and spirit. It's never too late to start making a daily habit of writing in a journal. If you need some convincing on why you should do this, then read on.
Trouble falling asleep is often caused by an over-active mind, stress and anxiety. Research shows that those who make journaling part of their bedtime routine fall asleep faster. Additionally, they sleep for longer periods of time and have better quality of sleep. Stress and worry keep the body from being able to properly wind down at the end of the day. The act of writing in a journal redirects the mind. Try focusing on positive things such as what you're grateful for or something you're looking forward to. Writing about these things can boost mood and calm anxious or intruding thoughts. If you're having trouble falling asleep because the following day is full of tasks and responsibilities, it may help reduce stress to write down a to-do list so that you know that you won't forget anything the next day.
Journaling is an act of self-reflection. If done regularly, we can look back on old entries for insight into how we've grown or what has led us to where we are right now. Writing out and processing our thoughts and feelings can bring much-needed clarity when we're about to make a big life decision or go through some kind of transition or change. When facing relationship conflict, writing out what we'd want to say to someone can also bring clarity and help us communicate our needs and desires more effectively.
Improves Emotional Intelligence
Forms of writing have been used to process emotions for as long as humans could draw. This makes journalling an ideal practice for developing emotional intelligence (EQ). High levels of emotional intelligence are associated with the ability to identify, understand and healthily deal with one's emotions. In turn, this leads to a strong sense of empathy for others and what emotions they're coping with. Journaling helps us make sense of our own life stories and ultimately ourselves. Having a high EQ then equips us to have deeper connections with others.
Dr. Tiffany N. Brown, a licensed clinical psychologist said, “Without words, feelings can feel chaotic and unorganized, but when you journal, it organizes your feelings and experiences, which makes them more manageable.” Being able to organize and manage emotions is key to reducing stress. When facing a stressful situation, consider responding to these questions in your journal:
What am I feeling?
Why am I feeling this way?
What triggered this feeling or lead to it?
From there, journal about what it is that you need and how you're going to care for yourself. Listing out tangible goals or to-do's can help. Alternatively, simply ending with something nice and positive can go a long way to relieving stress and tension in the body.
Journaling helps support healthy brain function. Research shows that when we write things down, we're more likely to retain it. Furthermore, journaling can increase working memory capacity and improve cognitive processing. Journaling can also help us focus on more specific things like achieving certain goals or becoming a more mindful person.