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Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Reasons Keeping A Journal Is Good For Your Health


Do you have a journal? Well, you should!
You can ask almost anyone who knows me, I am always the first to suggest routine writing as a form of stress relief. I believe it's the solution to so many of the problems people face on a daily basis. But, this isn't just a personal opinion. A lot of science and research went into proving that keeping a journal was significantly beneficial to your health. Particularly your mental health, which affects the rest of your life in a much bigger way than you may have ever realized. In fact, keeping a journal has proven to be so beneficial that therapists have started recommending regular writing. But why is writing such a good thing? What's the point? What the benefits? What do you write about? These are always the questions my suggestions have been met with. Well, this is your chance to get all the answers, and more! I'm going to answer these questions in the order that they might be asked if someone was starting their own journal.

What Do I Write About?

The easiest way to start is just by writing about your day. Maybe not "I ate this at this time", "so and so came over to visit and we watched this movie". It's less about the mundane activities and more about what you felt while you were immersed in those activities. How did you feel about your friend coming over? Did you enjoy spending time together? If not, what would you have done differently? How was the movie? What did you like or dislike about it? Your journal can be your best friend. You can talk to it about absolutely anything, and trust that your words will be completely free of judgment. If you've chosen to have your journal online, expect trolls. Also, ignore or agree with trolls. It takes their power away. If you've chosen to keep a pen and paper journal, or a locked online journal, you have complete freedom. You can write in full detail the things you would never want anyone else to see. Your fantasies, your fears. Absolutely anything that comes to mind. Once you pick up your pen regularly or sit down at your keyboard, you'll see a change. The words will start to write themselves.

Why Is Writing A Good Thing? What's The Point?

Haven't you ever been tongue-tied, had a million things running through your head? Imagine writing them all down on a list, for instance, and seeing them laid out. Half the time, when you see your concerns in writing, you will evaluate them and realize they're silly. Then you'll be able to put your focus on the issues that are serious. You'll also gain practice in organizing your own thoughts. If you've ever wished you could say something to someone, like an ex, but knew bringing anything up was pointless, writing it down is a good way to keep things simple. I know I have a few exes out there that I would love to rip a new one for things of the past. But rather than complicate the future, I choose to write those things down. I get them out of my head, my exes never know, and the world keeps spinning. Sometimes it's important to have conversations with people about your feelings. Of course, it is. Especially if you're in a relationship and conflicted about something that relates to your partner. But you can write down what is on your mind before bringing it up. It'll also help you remain focused when your emotions start running a little wild. Trust me, when it comes to emotions running wild, writing is a great way to keep control.

What Are The Benefits?

For one, detailing those mundane activities can help you remember things as they happened. They can be a good reference if you need one in the future. Expressing your feelings as they happened can be a good way of working through them. You'll also start presenting your conversations better. You'll have a better grasp of what causes certain emotions, and why. This means that when you're talking to other people, you'll be better at explaining your opinions and feelings. It can feel like such a burden when you're faced with a serious conversation and you can't seem to articulate your thoughts. If you start keeping a regular journal for writing them out, you'll find it easier to organize them off the page as well. The stress reduction benefit comes from not repressing your emotions. By writing what you're feeling and thinking down, you're letting go. You aren't keeping those thoughts inside your head. In my experience, the longer you keep your emotions to yourself, the more likely they are to turn into a poison. That poison will slowly drain the life out of you. Writing out those emotions will flush the toxins from your brain. You'll also find you think less. Or in a more simple way. You'll find it easier to relax because you won't feel the weight of every unsaid word hovering over you. With many of your stresses gone, you'll see that you can enjoy different aspects of life. Your perspective on everything will start to change.

Honestly, the biggest benefit to keeping a journal is that you'll truly get to know yourself. Before I started keeping my journal, I went from an identity crisis to another identity crisis. Sure some of that was the fact that I have a borderline personality disorder. But a lot of it was because I didn't recognize my own reflection. I had spent so much time living in the shadow of someone else that I didn't know who I was. That was actually when I started writing. A three-year relationship built on nothing but lies had fallen apart. With it went my false sense of security. I saw a therapist, she encouraged me to write out my feelings, and here we are.

Now I recommend it to anyone who says they have a problem. In my experience, keeping a journal has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I think if you gave it a chance, you'd see the benefits.