Journaling often has connotations of adolescent girls twirling their hair and writing about crushes, trivial problems, and middle school secrets which is why there is often shame centered around the topic. However, since we have just celebrated a holiday that encourages us all to reflect on why we are thankful for our lives, journaling can help us to continue this gratitude. The art of self-expression can not only help review our issues and come up with solutions, but also setting out goals, challenges, and affirmations from pen to paper can help add stability in such unstable times.
“Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit, and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you”, according to psychotherapist Maud Percell, author of ‘The Health Benefits of Journaling’.
- Writing gratitude lists, especially after challenging days, can help put matters into perspective. It creates a sense of appreciation and recognition of the simple things that are often taken for granted, which often makes problems that once seemed invincible not so important. Taking benefit from the smaller things in life can help maintain a positive mindset.
- Setting out goals for the week will enable the writer to face any challenges head-on and ensure productivity. The listing format can help reduce anxiety about what tasks need to be fulfilled, and also allows for small victories, as the mini-goals can be crossed off each time. It helps maintain structure.
- Positive affirmations and manifestation can help overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. Vividly describing and picturing specific dreams or wishes, and even speaking as if they have already come true, increases the success rate of reaching goals. It also provides clear direction and allows the individual to have more say and control of their future.
- Stream of consciousness is a writing method of pure continuous thought. It takes practice to master, but being able to switch your brain off whilst writing about true thoughts can help signify problems and worries. It is known to relieve stresses, as the self-expression does not need to have any structure, allowing one to feel as if they are confiding in a trusted friend.
All in all, absolutely anyone can start journaling and there are no rules because it is so personal. Many benefits can be found from taking time out of the day to fully self-reflect, and this is something more and more people need to practice, especially during these challenging times.