I am one of those people who believes in journaling.
When I am upset or stressed out, I use a journal to help me cope with it. When I was struggling through a significant time of grief and loss in my life, my journal was like a lifeline for me. I would sit and journal and pour out my feelings onto paper. Writing down my feelings really helped me to sort out my emotions and get it all straightened out in my own head. I have written in a journal for as long as I can remember. I do NOT write every day, in fact, when things are going really well for me I rarely feel the need to journal. My journaling is very inconsistent, but I think it is one of the most valuable things that I can do for myself. I did some research and I was not at all surprised to learn that journaling has been proven to be helpful.
From an Article in the professional journal Advances in Psychiatric treatment, Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing,
“Over the past 20 years, a growing body of literature has demonstrated the beneficial effects that writing about traumatic or stressful events has on physical and emotional health. …‘writing about earlier traumatic experience was associated with both short-term increases in physiological arousal and long-term decreases in health problems’ (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986: p. 280).
It is wonderful to see medical science affirm something that I have always known and personally experienced, it helps to write about it. Whatever struggle or challenge you are facing, sitting down to write your thoughts in a journal can really help.
There are many benefits for keeping a journal:
· There is just something about seeing your thoughts in black and white. It helps clarify your thinking and allows you to put things into perspective.
· Writing it down allows you to express your feelings and not keep them bottled up inside.
· Writing things down also has the benefit of allowing you to see how far you have come. When I was overwhelmed with grief it was hard to feel like I was making any progress, but reading previous journal entries showed me how far I had come. It was very affirming.
· Writing things down helps you to see not only where you have been, but where you are going, it allows you to identify the next logical steps you need to take.
· Writing your story can possibly help others. Think about the value of Anne Frank’s famous journal, telling your story can have value to others facing the same struggle. Using my journal and blog entries, I wrote “The Misadventures of Me and My Uterus” with the goal of helping other women who were facing similar health struggles.
I realize journaling may not work for everyone, and I do have to admit that as an emerging author & blogger it is clear that I like to write, but you don’t have to be an author to use journaling. I wrote down my feeling long before I ever published a book. My journals are some of my most prized possessions. They are a reflection of me that is very real and very personal.
The next time you are facing a struggle, or feel overwhelmed, you might want to try picking up a journal, it can really help.