Often times, when you talk about diaries and journaling, the first image that pops up is painstaking hours spent into writing about your day and feelings; it’s a chore, rather than a welcome break. It’s now often seen as outdated, a pen-and-paper method of cherishing experiences long forgotten. You might have a love-hate relationship with keeping a journal. Here’s the thing though, journaling is making a comeback and is no longer just for the older and the wiser. Journalling is more than just self-expression, it’s great for your mental and physical (yes, you read that right) health.
4 Ways Journaling Helps
1. Reduces stress
Unhealthy and overabundant stress can be detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Journalling helps to tone the anxiety down and lessens the impact of physical stressors on health. Expressive writing for 15- to 20-minutes a week thrice over four months has shown to lower blood pressure and improve liver functions. Journaling also lets you view stress patterns over the long term and learn how to negate or get over them in a healthy way since you can observe the long-term effects of stressors on yourself. Instead of seeing it as a chore, establish journalling as a de-stressing method to unwind. Don’t feel obligated or pressured to write a certain amount or in a certain way. Do it in whatever way you feel best.
2. Hones your memory
Journaling is great for your mind and its memory capabilities. It keeps your brain in top shape. Not only does journaling improve your memory and comprehension, but it also enlarges your working memory capacity, which in turn improves your cognitive processing of general problems and issues you may have.
3. Improves immunity
This was surprising to me, too, but journalling and expressive writing can actually strengthen your immunity and lower your chances of illness. Journaling strengthens immune cells! (Whoa! I know.) As mentioned before, it improves liver and lung functions too, since it manages stress and the physical strain on your body is negated by journalling.
4. Enhances mood
“It’s not a bad week, it’s a bad day. It’s not a bad day, it’s a bad moment.” Try as we might, the mantra is difficult to follow, especially if we don’t have an outlet to let out our feelings. Instead, we let them fester within us and ruin our days and moods. Journalling has proven to improve moods solely because it allows its writer to let out their feelings with no consequences or judgements. It’s simply a way to get your thoughts and emotions off your chest, and this often leaves you feeling lighter and more in control of your emotions.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. Journalling doesn’t have to be intimidating. There’s no one to impress, and it’s simply a process for you. Blank pages may be terrifying, but you can start with a simple single line. My friend started journalling that way. She wrote one sentence, to sum up, her day, and eventually started expanding when she felt more comfortable with journaling. Don’t worry yourself with the perfect punctuation, spelling, or grammar. Just write without censoring yourself. Remember, journaling is done by you, for you.