We tend to think of journaling as an activity for famous politicians, angsty teenagers, and people who lived in the 19th century. But don’t let this prejudice prevent you from taking up this habit. Keeping a log of your thoughts and activities is an excellent organizational tool that will have a positive impact on your life. In fact, writing in a diary or journal every day is great for your health. We’ve listed the top health benefits of journaling to convince you to pick up the pen.
Help You Lose Weight
Keep track of your diet with a food journal. There’s a few approaches you can take. Some meticulously log every bite they eat and the macronutrients of their meals. But if you want something a little less intense, just keep a general record of whether you ate clean or indulged in junk foods. Try to recall and write down your emotions and mood before your decision. If you know what triggers you into reaching for the donut, you have power over that response and can control it in the future.
Anxious and stressful thoughts can stay pent-up in your head if you have nowhere to release them. Some choose to share their stresses with a friend or therapist. But journaling also provides an outlet to relieve anxiety.
Time starts blending together as you age. While you remember major events, little details start to blend together or slip away altogether. How do you reverse the flow of time and improve your memory? Journaling can help.
First, you have a physical log of daily details that tend to slip away. But findings in the APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology indicate that journaling can improve working memory, a huge help in day-to-day life. Researchers believe that journaling reduces negative thoughts about life events by committing them to paper. This prevents your brain from ruminating on them all day and frees up working memory to commit details down.
Healthier Personal Relationships
As we get older and take on more responsibility, it can be tough to maintain the personal bonds that are so important to our lives. Work through your problems on paper and you’ll find helpful patterns and emotional honesty that might not otherwise have come to you. Also, you can identify toxic people in your life and then think long and hard whether they are worth your time in the first place.
Life can be tough for those suffering from low self-esteem. Confidence helps us take leaps of faith to overcome new challenges and old habits. But if you have low self-esteem, chances are you undermine your own ability to improve.
That’s where journaling comes in. Just as people trying to lose weight should focus on food in their journal, those lacking in confidence should focus on their daily accomplishments! Write down a few positive things about yourself every day. Did your teacher says something nice about your work? Did you choose to read over watching TV? By keeping track of positive experiences, you are building yourself up and reinforcing the good.
Teaches dedication to get in shape
Struggling to slip into a regular workout routine? You’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to consistently set aside exercise time when they’re trying to get in shape. Get a jump-start by establishing a journaling routine. Setting aside 10-20 minutes a day takes dedication. But if you manage to do it, you’ll find it easier to keep up with workout routines. Once you start working out you will have an outlet to monitor your successes and write about how good you feel! Translating the positive emotions that come from a workout onto paper will encourage you to keep at it.
Improved Mental Clarity
All of your thoughts, dreams, and worries swirl around in your head. It’s good to sometimes sit still and think things through, but other times you need to focus. Journaling lets you channel the background noise onto paper so that your brain can problem-solve the here and now issues. This helps at work, in personal relationships, or just about anything else.
Meditation is the skill of focusing on one thing and tuning out everything else in the world. Doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center say that journaling, like meditation, has a positive impact on mental health. It can manage anxiety and help you cope with depression. For best results, journal every day in a calm and soothing environment. Drink a mug of chamomile tea and light a candle. Maybe diffuse some essential oils to combine it with aromatherapy. Carve out some time for yourself to collect and reflect.
Lower Blood Pressure
Because journaling lowers stress and anxiety, it can help manage high blood pressure. Dr. James Pennebaker claims that journaling strengthens T-lymphocytes, immune cells that fluctuate with stress and anxiety. Strengthening them boosts your immune system and helps keep your blood pressure low.
Strengthens Communication Skills
Some people are natural communicators. They have a knack for saying the witty or insightful comment, and can spruce up a boring report to make it shine. But not everyone has that talent. Journaling teaches you how to express yourself clearly and confidently. It gives practice writing everyday. After a few months of journaling, you might find it less stressful to send emails or to articulate your ideas at a meeting. This can have professional and personal benefits that benefit you in all areas of life.