Journaling – Why You Should Give it a Try

Journaling...it's a practice that has well known health benefits.  It's relatively easy to do.  It is not expensive.  You can journal in as little as a few minutes.  However, journaling is a practice that is often overlooked.  For some reason, spending a few minutes writing down our thoughts seems like something only really mindful (aka...weird) folks take time to do.

I have started and stopped countless journals.  I would write periodically only to stop and pick back up another entry or two three months later.  This year, I decided to give journaling a legitimate shot.  I committed to following through, writing down at least gratitude, on a regular basis.  I've been journaling consistently for seven months now, and it has become a great addition to my self care routine.  Today, I want to share a few benefits that can be found in the simple act of journaling.

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Benefits

You can find study after study listing the benefits of journaling.  It is a powerful tool that we should all incorporate into our daily routine.  Even if you don't enjoy writing, I believe that by at least giving it a try, you can experience the benefits of journaling.   

Decreased Stress and Anxiety

The simple act of writing things down has a positive effect on your stress level.  Often, we have so much swarming around in our head that just the thought of everything going on stresses us out.  By writing things down, we are able to release these items and get them out of our head and onto paper.  

When you can see your thoughts, fears, stress, and anxiety on paper, it helps you to begin to deal with them.  You can organize your thoughts.  The physical act of writing things down can also help you identify stressful areas in your life. 

Increase Mindfulness

If you are anywhere near the health and wellness world, you have heard the word, mindfulness.  It is definitely a buzz word right now, and I'm sure you will continue to hear about it.  According to Merriam-Webster, mindfulness is "the practice of maintaining a nonjudgemental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis."

Journaling can bring you into a state of mindfulness.  Through your journal, you are able to write down past experiences that may be holding you back as well as fears about the future that are leaving you paralyzed.  So often, we are trapped by both our past and the anxiety of our future.  We allow both the past and the future to have so much power over us that we stop living in the present.

Taking the time to honestly look at what script is playing in your head, your emotions, and your experiences will help you embrace the present.

Enhance Mental Clarity

We live in a digital, fast paced world.  For me, this often means walking around with the feeling of living in a fog.  Many times, I feel like I really don't even know where my thoughts are.  I have 900 things to do and to think about, kids to run around, a job to make sure I am 100% on for, and a household to care for.  This chaos often leaves little time to actually clear the mind.  Journaling helps get the mind clear by spitting everything out on paper.  You can write down your goals, dreams, or just your thoughts.  It doesn't matter what you write down, but by taking the time to do so, you are clearing your mind.  You are actually thinking...crazy, right?

Strengthen Communication

The digital age has killed many of our communication skills.  One liners, emojis, and shorthand have become the way of communication.  The art of writing has gotten lost for many of us, and this has a direct reflection on our verbal communication skills.  Journaling will help to restore and improve your communication because every single time to put pen to paper, you are communicating, even if it is just with yourself.

Improve Creativity

Many of us have let creativity go out the window.  Sure, when we were younger, we were forced to sit down and come up with something to write a paper about.  Being creative is good for us.  However, it doesn't always come easy.  Sometimes, you just might not have a dang thing to write about.  So guess what?  You have to use your amazing brain and get creative.  Forcing your brain to work, to get creative gets easier and easier the more you do it.  Just write something down.  It doesn't matter what it is.  Just fill a page.  Write down any thought that comes into your head, then keep going.  You might just find a killer idea that's been trapped upstairs.

Reach Your Goals

I did a whole post on goal setting here.  One of the keys to effective goal setting is to write down your goals.  Journaling your goals, what's working and what's not will help you move toward your end destination.  If you don't have a written plan or map {a goal}, how do you know where you are going?  Write down your dreams, your goals, your ambitions, and then use your journal to help record your journey.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these benefits are enough to help encourage you to grab a notebook, a piece of paper, or even a calendar and a pen.  Check out this follow up post for tips to get started with journaling.  Until then, get writing.  Dedicate 10-15 minutes of your day to just let your mind dump onto some paper.  Don't be concerned with what it looks like or whether your grammar is perfect.  Just write something down.

Happy writing ~ KP

Kenzie Presnell

Loving life, enjoying the ride, and trying to live life as healthy as I can.

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