When you think of “journaling,” you might picture a tween girl, laying on her bed with her feet waving lazily through the air and writing about her crush in a diary. Journaling is not only great for girls and their crushes, but they are also becoming essential, and therapeutic for anyone who can express their feelings, and emotions. Effective journaling is any writing that results in a significant change in your way of living.
Journaling has been recognized as a noted asset to promoting good health. Journaling helps, among other things, stress reduction, cognitive performance development and functioning, strengthening the immune system, and many other functions of everyday living. Journaling helps one to analyze individual thoughts to a point where a new perspective can be viewed.
“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”
Journaling causes some of the functions of the brain to go to work. The right side of the brain, for instance, is more conducive to analytical conceptions, thoughts, tasks, while the left side of the brain, which can be recognized for being responsible for the more imaginative, powder puff side of the brain. Both sides of the brain are called to work as one’s mind begins to think about what to write and engage in adding together notations to their journal.
As the analytical side, and the imaginative sides of the brain begin to start working, many other effects are taking place throughout the body, which includes the adjustment of mood, self-compatibility is generated, negative thoughts and feelings are reduced, memory is enhanced, and anxiety symptoms and levels are lowered. Overall, Journaling is therapeutic and good seed for the brain.
Writing in your journal daily presents some very important tips that you may need to keep in mind:
1. Find a location that is private and free from diversions
2. Make it a habit to write in your journal every day
3. Be sure that you have your thoughts together about what you plan to write
4. If you happen to be writing about something traumatic that happened to you, please don’t hide from the event, but discuss how you felt before, during, and after this traumatic event occurred.
5. Write what you feel!
6. Ensure that ONLY YOU have access to your journal at all times. These are your innermost thoughts and reflections!
Always remember the acronym – W.R.I.T.E.
W – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT?
R – REVIEW OR REFLECT
I – INVESTIGATE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELING BEFORE WRITING
T – TIME YOURSELF AND ALLOW YOURSELF 5 MINUTES TO THINK
E – EXIT SMART, AND LEAVE YOUR WRITING
ENCOURAGING YOUR NEXT DAY OF WRITING (Koopman, Ismailji, Holmes,
Classen, Palesh, & Wales, 2005)
Some say that keeping a journal daily is often more popular than Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many mental health therapists insist on their clients’ keeping journals and being true to themselves about any situation they may encounter.
For me, writing is a way of thinking. I write in a journal a lot. I’m a very impatient person, so writing and meditation allow me to slow down and watch my mind; they are containers that keep me in place, hold me still.
According to psychologist Barbara Markway;
“There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down.”
Therefore, I suggest to you to go out and purchase a journal… they make perfect gifts, and they are not expensive.
Ackerman, C. (2021). 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. Retrieved from 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress (positivepsychology.com)
Koopman C, Ismailji T, Holmes D, Classen CC, Palesh O, Wales T. The effects of expressive writing on pain, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in survivors of intimate partner violence. J Health Psychol. 2005 Mar;10(2):211-21. doi: 10.1177/1359105305049769. PMID: 15723891.
Nortje, A. (2018). Journaling for Mindfulness. Retrieved from Journaling for Mindfulness: 44 Prompts, Examples and Exercises (positivepsychology.com)