Many people wonder if it’s worth it to start a journal in their adult days. Generally, journaling is portrayed, in movies and TV shows, as something that’s done by teenagers. Their “diaries” serve as a vent for frustration and anxiety, a place for sharing powerful memories and jotting down goals.
Journaling throughout your life can have many benefits. This activity has attracted the focus of many scientists and researchers after thousands of people around the world testified to its powerful benefits in everyday life. Now, it’s generally considered a beneficial activity that should be practiced by anyone who wants to boost their quality of life.
When you do it consistently and mindfully, journaling can significantly improve your quality of life and your overall happiness.
6 ways journaling can help you
It benefits your physical health
It has been scientifically proven that journaling can boost your immunity and help you fight off disease. This benefit of journaling is now more important than ever. Not only will you start developing healthier coping mechanisms in quarantine, but you will also help your body protect itself against the Coronavirus!
Journaling has even been reported to help with faster wound healing. It can also reduce the symptoms of asthma. All these benefits have to do with the fact that journaling decreases the production of stress hormones, which lead to all these unwanted conditions in the long term.
It relieves depression and stress
One of the most obvious benefits of journaling is its positive impact on depression, anxiety and stress. In some studies, journaling has been proven to be as effective as meditation, exercise and even anti-depressants. For many people, it’s the primary coping mechanism for dealing with these conditions.
Journaling will help you maximize your energy levels and find relief from negative emotions and pressure. The process resembles that of visiting a therapist: you will be looking at your own behaviour, thoughts, emotions and actions in a more critical way. When you re-tell your day from an “outside” perspective, you finally jump out of your negative thought cycles and intrusive, self-doubting patterns.
It helps you be objective
There is no better way to look at a situation objectively than to write it down and then re-read it. You would not believe how much insight you can receive, simply by observing a situation or event that’s bothering you from an outside perspective.
It’s like thinking about what you would say to your friend if it happened to them. How would you console them, make them feel better about themselves and put the event into perspective? This is not that difficult when you’re doing it for another person, but it can be incredibly challenging to apply the same thinking to your own life. Journaling allows you to do just that; you will become your own best friend, a support system and someone who wants the best for you.
It makes life patterns more noticeable
Given that we are all absorbed in our day-to-day duties, tasks and little events, it’s quite hard to notice the bigger picture. It’s only possible to do that if you have a clear, objective overview of everything that has happened to you—a document that shows how you felt and behaved, what you have learned and how you have changed throughout the years. Well, a journal is just that.
Sometimes, perceptive friends who know you well might point out some of your negative patterns, but many people start noticing relationship patterns only after they start journaling. If you find yourself in a series of unsuccessful relationships with people you once adored, it’s time to maybe think about the patterns in your relationships.
It boosts self-confidence
Learning more about yourself is the key to high self-esteem. It’s like the ancient Greek proverb says: “Know thyself!” Journaling is empowering, and will help you raise your productivity level and achieve success. These are great ways to boost self-esteem and feelings of control and power.
Another thing you will learn through journaling is not to take failures and mistakes to heart. When you have a bird’s-eye view from a journal, it’s easy to see that events that once seemed like disasters turned out to be blessings in disguise. In most cases, disastrous events are completely irrelevant in a matter of just a few months.
All of these benefits will help you deal with your fear of embarrassment or rejection, and all other types of social phobias and anxieties. Your journal is direct proof that you have gone through something hard and painful and you survived. Not only that—you thrived.
It aids with goal-setting
Journaling is the first line of advice for people who are struggling to find their purpose in life. This is common among college students and recent graduates who exit the academic bubble and must suddenly live “the adult life.” Whereas your purpose and goal was to pass all your exams or get good grades, now you must find an entirely new one.
With a journal, you will be able to dive in deeper to learn more about your dreams, priorities, values, emotions and goals. Just like with patterns, a journal will quickly raise all those things that you frequently think about. These can be those that worry you or scare you, or those that you love and enjoy; things that are simply important to you, for one reason or another.
Journaling is also a fantastic tool for keeping track of your progress towards your goals. If you slip up and change course, your previous progress will give you enough self-confidence to continue moving towards each goal.
Practice radical honesty with your journal
The main benefit of journaling is that it allows you to take another look at your life and see it from a different perspective. This is incredibly valuable because it can reshape your priorities and values. A journal will be a strong force in the process of shaping your identity.
It’s just like having a really, really close friend, although it is even better, as when you are journaling, you can practice radical honesty and share the most intimate things with only yourself.
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