Keeping a journal is an time-honored tradition, and one that many successful people throughout history have made a habit of. Indeed, numerous politicians, authors and other notable figures have maintained a journal (or diary), including Samuel Pepys, whose dairies are preserved at Magdalene College in Cambridge, England. His dairies has given us an insight into life in London during his era in history, containing eyewitness accounts of many of important events, such as the Great Fire of London.
Journals of this sort serves the purpose of being a permanent record for posterity, but keeping a journal can also be a means to experience cathartic release. So, if you are stressed, anxious or depressed, or you simply want to work through your thoughts and feelings, begin journaling today and experiencing numerous benefits!
The Benefits of Journaling
When you’re feeling mixed up and turned around, taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions can help you to have greater access to what is really going on internally. As you write these things down, you can gain greater clarity of your wants and desires, likes and dislikes, and answer questions that have been troubling you for some time!
When you get into a journaling habit, it is inevitable that you will get to know yourself better, and understand what really makes you feel happy, sad, angry or scared. As you record the events of your life and the emotions attached to to these situations, you will get a better picture of the people and things that are either helpful or a hinderance to you. This is vital information for your mental and emotional wellbeing!
One of the most amazing things about journaling is its ability to relieve stress! As you write about your anger, disappointments, embarrassments or other painful emotions, you experience a release of the intensity of these feelings. Afterwards, you are guaranteed to feel calmer and better able to approach your problems from a more rational, level headed perspective. Alternatively, writing about the all things you are greatful for can give your mood a boost in ways that are quite astonishing!
Typically we tend to problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. The act of writing aids to unlock these capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems!
Rather than stewing over your disagreements and misunderstandings with other people, journaling about it is not only therapeutic, but can help you to understand the other person’s point of view. Writing helps to diffuse your anger and calm your nerves, making it possible to see other perspectives and come up with a reasonable resolution to the conflict.
A personal history
Keeping a journal allows you to track your personal growth over time, giving you a sense of encouragement and hope for the future. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, you can look back on previous dilemmas that have since been resolved. What’s more, reviewing entries from weeks and months past, you get a picture of how far you’ve really come along!
Journaling is most beneficial when it is done daily, allowing for about 20 minutes each day that is time for yourself. Forget grammar, spelling and penmanship, what matters is that you write freely and quickly, now allowing your brain censor you. Journaling is a private and personal endeavor, so no need to be concerned about what other people think.
What you write about is really up to you, but if you like, you can choose a topic that you want to work through, such as grief, anger or forgiveness. You to make up the rules! And if you skip a day, no problem! Your journal won’t judge you! In fact, the more you do it, you’ll discover that journaling is the most all-accepting, non-judgmental, self-care practice you can do for yourself and is the cheapest form of therapy available!