Journaling is an activity that a lot of inspirational speakers, businessmen, and leaders swear by. For those who are not very familiar, journaling is the act of writing down one’s thoughts and feelings in a diary or journal on a daily basis. What one is doing is undergoing journaling therapy by making it an outlet for his or her inner emotions.
In fact, it’s not just leaders or businessmen that swear by its effectiveness. There are also a lot of studies that explore journaling benefits in a comprehensive and rational way. So what are the benefits of journaling, anyway? These studies explored the main journaling benefits that one can get from the activity.
Rewarding Studies on Journaling Therapy
Journaling Helps with Mental Health
According to a report made by the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling therapy has a long list of benefits when it comes to mental health. It is shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, and even help with depression. Aside from that, it can also help you control your emotions by making you realize what your fears are and learning the triggers that may lead to an attack.
When you journal, you’re actually talking to yourself. In that way, you’re also venting out and giving yourself therapy. You can also find out the root causes of your problems through journaling and, in turn, come up with possible solutions that may help you further deal with your problems.
When you can start dealing with your problems, your mood will improve and your mental health will start to stabilize. Of course, this will make you have a more optimistic view of life and allow you to move on from your past adversities.
Journaling Helps Hasten Emotional Recovery
In one study made by Grace Larson and Dave Sbarra, they examined how various coping techniques can help speed up the recovery of a romantic breakup. The study shows that venting about a past relationship is actually quite beneficial in helping with recovery. While most of us would think that venting out means letting out all the frustrations to friends and family, there is also the option of journaling. Journaling is also a form of venting and letting out frustrations.
In fact, this is further validated by psychotherapist Maud Purcell states in Fast Company. Purcell states that when your left brain is occupied, your right brain isn’t doing anything. In that sense, it’s free to do whatever it wants. When you write down your experiences in a journal, you use both sides of your brain, allowing you to understand yourself better and look at the adversity from another perspective instead of a sad one.
Journaling Helps With Physical Conditions
While most people would only focus on the psychological aspect of journaling, the activity also has a lot of physical benefits to take note of. A professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand named Elizabeth Broadbent found this out through one of her experiments.
In her study, she examined 49 seniors from ages 65 to 97 and made them write upsetting or stressful events for three days. After two weeks, she performed a biopsy on their arms to track healing of injuries. She found out that 76% of the group expressed that writing had helped them heal while 42% did not heal. Broadbent further adds that whenever one remembers a bad event, stress hormones go up. With elevated hormones, the immune system suffers the most. By releasing the stress through writing, the stress hormones go down and improve the immune system.
Some Journaling Tips for Beginners
If you want to try journaling therapy, then obviously the first step is to buy a journal. The key here is consistency. To get this to work, you have to write down in your journal every day for a few minutes. Write down what you did in the day, your thoughts that day, and most importantly, your feelings. Also, it would help if you get a journal wherein you can attach a pen so that you can take it out and write anytime you want.
There are no solid rules for journaling. Just write down whatever you feel and whatever you think about a certain something. If you’re feeling strong about something, write it down. If you have a brand new idea, write it down. Think of your journal as your fortress where your mind lives. Use that as your guide and start journaling.
Journaling therapy is not a marketing stunt that motivational speakers use in order to bring people to their seminars. It is also not some magical cure for depression or anxiety. It is just a helpful tool for therapy which can lessen the stress you have of everyday life.
With that, there are actual studies that back up the benefits of this activity. These studies show us that there actually is some scientific background behind the activity. With that said, journaling is definitely an activity that everyone can benefit from, whether one may have existing issues or not.
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