Journaling, taking notes, keeping a diary. A similar act that is practiced differently by everyone.
Some like to structure their notes on their MS planner under each date, garnished with links and reminders. Others prefer to unjumble their thoughts down on a page with pen in hand; making corrections, adding extra words, and planning their future appointments.
But not all note takers realise how powerful the benefits of journaling can be - and certainly wouldn't liken its benefits to a form of therapy.
Here are 3 ways that journaling can have a positive impact:
- Self-awareness – writing down details about our daily life allows us to identify and process situations. Just like speaking to a friend, we can reflect in ways that reveal different perspectives. Getting notes down on a page works as a form of release.
- Stress regulation – we can process, prioritise and reflect on events in our lives that are making us stressed through words. As we slow down and allow our brains to mediate our thoughts and feelings, the act of writing becomes a form of self-care.
- Improved mental health – journaling can also show us what is lifting us up. Research has found that writing about positive experiences reduced stress and improved the well-being of patients with anxiety symptoms. Reliving good times through a page and offering the chance to plan for future ones. Bringing an awareness to what makes you feel good and promoting you to do more of it!
So, whether you adopt the old-school pen on paper or enjoy using digital – take a leaf out of our metaphorical book and give journaling a go!
Start dedicating just 10 minutes every few days to write down whatever you feel like. Not sure what to write about? A good place to start is writing down the positive things that happened at the end of your day or how you feel after performing your weekly workout.
Sources: Writing therapy for posttraumatic stress: a meta-analysis - PubMed (nih.gov) | Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process (gruberpeplab.com) | Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing | Advances in Psychiatric Treatment | Cambridge Core | Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial - PMC (nih.gov)