It might be surprising in today’s digitally dominated world, but Journaling has become incredibly popular these days. In fact it’s actually being recommended by health professionals as a scientifically proven way to help cope with the stresses of modern day life.
It can be incredibly impactful especially in the unprecedented times we are facing now.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of journaling, think back to when you were younger. You may have started a secret diary back in elementary school or middle school, and wrote about whoever was your secret crush that week, or how you managed to sneak out to hang with friends when your parents thought you were in your room diligently doing your homework?
Journaling is still writing your thoughts down, but is generally a place for you to express your deeper thoughts, feelings, and emotions rather than just catalogue daily events.
So how can journaling help you cope with stress?
It releases pent up feelings
Think about it. Do you say out loud everything you ever think? Probably not. Most people don’t. We all have thoughts that are never verbally expressed, especially negative ones. So instead of letting those thoughts become pent up emotions that eat you up inside, a journal gives you a place write them down instead. It can be a great stress reliever to tear up the paper once you’re done – symbolically getting rid of the negative feelings and dumping them in the trash where they belong.
Nobody is judging you
Allowing pent up emotions to build up inside will eventually have a negative effect on your well-being. Journaling is an excellent way to getting things off your chest and releasing your emotions in a non-judgmental environment. You can clear your mind and mentally purge the stresses of your day without worrying what somebody else might think. Thoughts and emotions you might otherwise have kept hidden and never talked about can be released.
You gain greater self-awareness
Writing down both positive and negative feelings helps you become more self-aware. You can reflect on how you felt about something that happened in your day. How did you react? How do you wish you had reacted? What thoughts did you have but didn’t vocalize? What would you do if the same thing happened again?
Reading back what you wrote every few days allows you to re-assess the issues that arose and then learn from them. Knowing your emotional strengths and limitations is one of the best ways to understand yourself so you can cope better with stress as it arises, as well as grow and thrive both mentally and physically.
Better mental clarity
Sometimes your thoughts and feelings can seem like a jumbled mess, especially when you are stressed and your mind is anxious. Writing your thoughts and feelings down can help you sort them out logically so you can understand them better. Having the words on paper in front of you can also help you see things more clearly and put situations into perspective.
Recognize the positives
Journaling isn’t just for getting rid of negative emotions. Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way of focusing on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives. When you write down the good things in your life and give thanks for them, that will often allow you to see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes, and realize that maybe things aren’t quite as bad as they first seemed.
As you can see, there are many reasons why keeping a journal helps you cope with stress. All you need is a notebook and pen to get started. I’ve found the less precious the notebook, the freer my thoughts come out.
You will not only feel less stress by writing down your daily thoughts, but journaling is also proven to improve cognitive function, strengthen the immune system and improve your memory.
Why not get started today?!