The benefits of journaling
The humble ‘Dear Diary’ most of us wrote at some point in our childhood has taken on a new form over recent years. Journaling, whether by topic, such as travel, food or gratitude, or style, bullet, daily log or deep journaling, is gaining in popularity. With scientific research endorsing the benefits of journaling and increased sales of paper-based diaries and journals (who doesn’t love choosing a new journal from the inspirational array available) it would appear that more of us are taking pen to paper.
There are many mental health benefits for journaling. The simple act of putting some time aside to write offers a way to focus on our thoughts and feelings. It can also help you start noticing any habits or patterns that you have as well as help set and achieve goals.
Scientific evidence supports the benefits too. The act of writing accesses our left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create thus enabling you to use all your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.
Five ways journaling can help your mental health
Clarify your thoughts and feelings.
Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
Know yourself better.
By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and relationships, important information for your emotional well-being.
Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
Solve problems more effectively.
Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
Resolve disagreements with others.
Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, you will be able to look back on previous dilemmas that you have since resolved.