Journaling is the practice of writing in a journal or diary, usually every day, and recording your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Journaling can relieve stress if you use it as an opportunity to express and explore your feelings. When journaling, try not to censor your writing out of fear that someone else may read it. Instead, write it all down, and make sure to keep your journal in a private place. If you are experiencing stress about an event, situation, person, or experience, journaling can help you externalize the emotions you may be holding in. For example, you may be angry but are not expressing that anger
to anyone. Journaling provides an opportunity for you to relieve yourself of hostile
emotions that may affect your heart and health.
Journaling serves to reduce the intensity of emotions and facilitates a release of pressure. In order for journaling to be most effective, you should write as much detail as you can. This requires you to focus your awareness and practice mindfulness
of the emotions you feel. Acceptance
of the present feelings will help you stay with the process and not move away to another activity in an effort to avoid the pain. A benefit of journaling is that, as you move from high to low stress, you may also move from problem-focus to solution-focus. Journaling does not require you to go anywhere or do anything other than grab a pen or pencil, paper or journal, find a quiet spot, and start writing.
Daily journaling can also be an outlet for creativity. Some people draw pictures, use colored pencils or pens, doodle, draw diagrams, and write poetry as they explore themselves through journaling. Another form of writing that can be used during your journaling time is automatic writing. This is a type of writing in which you set an amount of time and write whatever comes to your mind. Without judging, without pre-thinking what you will write - you simply write. Usually you associate one word to another and one thought to another. You can find clues in your writing about some of your unfelt and unspoken thoughts and feelings.
Psychological and health benefits of journaling include:
- Increased understanding of thoughts and feelings.
- Increased self-knowledge.
- Increased focus and attention.
- Improved self-esteem and empowerment.
- Increased ability to connect different parts of your life and see the whole picture.
- Improved problem-solving.
- Trauma processing to reduce posttraumatic stress-related symptoms.
- Improved cognitive function - you can think better.
- Accesses unconscious and subconscious processes.
- Improved self-expression and self-trust.
- Strengthening of the immune system, preventing illness.
- Counteracting negative effects of stress.
- Decreased symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
Your journal is private and your experience in journaling is unique. No rules are relevant to your journaling. You do not have to use correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation. You can organize your journal in any way that you want and write about whatever you want. Journaling reduces stress, helps you stay well, and brings about healing of body and mind.