Writing down your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper may sound like a teenage thing to do, but it’s a practice that can help improve your life. The benefits of journaling are short and long-term. Daily, it helps you understand recent experiences, which will prepare you to face future similar scenarios. “It is about using personal experiences as a way of documenting an experience and learning more about yourself in the process,” says psychotherapist Kathleen Adams.
In the long run, journaling is a habit built to be self-aware and keep your mind open to observe how your life is and how you feel about it. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you understand them more clearly, discover why you feel the way you do, and act in consequence —a way to gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.
But the benefits of journaling are even much more than that. These are the five most relevant ones:
1 · Explore and discover yourself
Journaling is an excellent method to focus on the present moment, recap your past goals, and set future expectations. Writing down your feelings about a particular situation can help you understand it better and allow you to form new perceptions about events. What did you like or dislike about it? What are your expectations if you experience the same tomorrow? And if it happens again next month? You can even set your own goals.
2 · Emotional Intelligence to be aware of what matters
Processing emotions and increasing self-awareness are some of the critical aspects of the journaling routine. Check what topics you write about. Those issues and emotions will show you what matters most to you. Also, writing these feelings and goals sends a message to your brain, saying “this is important” for me.
3 · Stress relief
Journaling shows improvements in both physical and psychological health. The act of writing about your feelings is a way to relieve stress. When journaling, you create a safe cocoon for yourself; revisit positive (and negative) experiences which release endorphins and dopamine on your brain, boosting your mood. Journaling shows improvements in both physical and psychological health. In a study, researchers found that people with anxiety who wrote for 15 minutes three days a week for three months increased feelings of wellbeing and felt less depressive in just one month.
4 · Sleep
Different studies show that journaling before bed decreases worries in your mind, allowing your body to relax and fall asleep faster. Another study shows that what helps most is writing about what you achieve during your day and your expectations for tomorrow.
5 · Keep track of your routineLooking back and seeing how you were and comparing with how you are, it is essential to track your routine and the small changes that happen from one day to another. This way is easier to identify what makes you happy or anxious and learn about it.
To maximize the benefits of journaling, you just need 5-10 minutes every day and a journaling routine. So keep your journal and a pen at hand and start feeling better!
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