Are you looking for an effective way to manage stress? Have you ever wondered how you might be able to improve your quality of life? If your answer was, "Yes", then writing a journal could be a solution. But there could also be other benefits to journaling which you may not have anticipated.
Typically speaking, journalling involves writing out your thoughts or feelings. Put differently, it's a practice which enables you to explore life events and the surrounding emotions and thoughts relating to them.
Because of its nature, you may find you write about things you'd ordinarily take to counselling, for example. As a result, journal writing, can be both strategic and therapeutic, whilst simultaneously forming part of your personal learning journey.
Journaling can be done in various ways, but will usually involve writing in a notebook, diary, or on an electronic device. Writing a journal, even periodically, can be a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness. That said, it can also be effective for other things including goal setting.
How journaling is done will differ from person to person. However, the focus of developing a healthy relationship with your mind remains the same. And it's here where journaling comes into its own, because writing facilitates clarity of thoughts and feelings, thereby helping you to gain insightful self-awareness.
Journal writing can also be effective for problem-solving. Quite often, the simple act of writing about a problem is enough to ease anxiety (Smyth, 2018). It can also help to highlight solutions. Additionally, knowing you're addressing a problem eases stress. Therefore, writing a journal can also be considered a helpful stress management practice.
So, in addition to stress management and problem solving, what are some of the other benefits of journaling? And, just as importantly, how can writing a journal be helpful for improving your quality of life?
To answer this, here are five proven benefits of writing a journal, followed by three writing practices which you could use to get started.
All too often we expend energy on perceived lack. For example, you might catch yourself talking about lacking time, money, or motivation. Through writing a gratitude journal, you'll focus more on what you have in life, rather than on what's missing. Consequently, just noting what you have to be grateful for can do wonders for your wellbeing.
Interestingly, one study found that journal entries focused on positive outcomes, resulted in reduced emotional distress. This supports the idea that giving attention to what you have, can prove effective in improving your wellbeing.
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The practice of journal writing will increase your sensitivity to the voice within. Simply taking moments to pause, notice and reflect on what's happening, will also develop your discernment and trust. For example, when making major decisions, you'll become more understanding of, and more responsive to, your needs.
Along with becoming more sensitive to your voice, consistent journal writing can also help you to find it. In this sense, regularly writing begins the process of developing your creativity. More specifically, how you articulate and express your inner voice.
However, it's worth noting where this could be a potential obstacle if you struggle with perfectionism. So, when journal writing, try not to become overly concerned with any peripheral concerns or your prose. Instead, focus on accessing and expressing your thoughts and emotions.
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