Light incense – or make a drink. Or do both. Take a breath, grab a journal, and just start writing. There is something raw about writing down your thoughts in a physical journal as opposed to a blog. Ideas spill on to paper and there isn’t an easy way to punch a key to delete them. What you write is real, it’s tangible, and you can even see the emotion in the manuscript depending on the mood. If you’re angry, you may notice the pages curl from furiously pressing your pen down. If you’re excited, maybe your words appear rushed because you can’t contain what you’re feeling. So why should you start this simple act? The benefits are huge. Let’s look at how:
1. Helps Achieve Goals
Writing down thoughts and ideas forces you to visualize what you want from your future self. It provides a timeline you can measure and track day by day. Reviewing your progress is as simple as flipping through the pages and seeing your goals transform into reality. It holds you accountable and reminds you that yes, there will be days you fall but there will also be days you succeed. You learn to take the good with the bad and that it’s just a part of the process.
2. Improves Relationships
Have you ever said something to a friend, family member, or significant other you deeply regret? Word vomit is real and a journal is the trash bag we so desperately need. Instead of instantly reacting when something happens, take time to write it ALL out on paper. Write out what happened and how it makes you feel. Even write out what you hate about the person or situation. It may sound harsh, but it allows you to express yourself in private, gather your thoughts, and come up with something constructive to say so feelings aren’t hurt and resolutions are achieved.
3. It’s a Stress Reliever
According to the Journal of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, spending 15-20 min. a couple of times a week can greatly reduce stress and emotional events. It allows you to focus on what you’re thinking and helps you recount the event so it becomes more clear, more like a narrative – and less of a cloud of emotion.
4. Encourages Gratitude
Due to our 24-hour news cycle and fast-paced lifestyle, we hardly take time to reflect. There’s a lot going on in the world and we constantly have negative things being thrown at us from every direction. Taking time to write out just a few simple things we are thankful for can make us feel warm and fuzzy instead of bogged down and helpless. It really is the little things in life that keep us going.
5. Removes Judgment
We are always connected. Whether it’s through social media or an article online, our society is constantly spitting out information, waiting to be chewed up by a human behind a screen. A journal is a space where you can completely let go and be yourself. You don’t have to worry about someone judging you for an opinion or mocking you for a belief. It’s a way to build up your confidence and self-esteem from within, instead of through a list of “friends”.
You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you. – Dodinsky
Have you seen benefits from journaling and writing down your thoughts? What do you like to write about?