If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts or read many of my previous blog posts, then it will be no surprise that I’m a big fan of journaling. This practice is near and dear to my heart, and I’ve been writing in journals since I was 6 years old.
Aside from my own affinity for journaling, there are many reasons that I recommend this practice to my patients. I’ve written before about how journaling can help nourish your soul, and studies have shown that there are numerous tangible benefits to journaling. I truly believe that you can find self-healing and true transformative change through a journaling practice.
Reduce Ruminations and Brooding
One of the biggest and most common benefits of journaling is that it reduces your tendency to ruminate and brood over things. We so often relive incidents over and over again or incessantly review the things we need to accomplish, and this can actually do us harm. It can make us anxious or even deprive us of sleep.
Journaling offers an antidote to that. It gives us an opportunity to dump everything spinning around our brains and physically gives us a place for thoughts and emotions. Once you’ve written these things down, you’re much less likely to mentally revisit them constantly. It allows you to process events and preplan the following day so that you can truly put your mind to rest.
Improve Your Mood
Journaling has also been shown to increase happiness scores and reduce depressive thoughts and anxiety. Research has found that people who write about emotional situations activate the emotion-regulating area of the brain. This, in turn, almost seems to trick the brain into feeling better. Also, by calming and clearing your mind, journaling can help you identify triggers and problematic thought patterns leading to anxiety.
Disclaimer: in some instances, journaling can worsen existing symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you are dealing with extremely strong emotions, please seek the help of a trained professional.
Set and Achieve Goals
Another benefit of journaling is that it can actually help with setting and achieving goals. Journaling can help you determine your priorities and identify goals which truly matter to you, and it can also help you analyze your progress and formulate plans to reach those goals. It provides a place to be honest with yourself about what you want as well as what is realistic, aiding you in setting attainable goals.
Help Alleviate Physical Symptoms of Certain Chronic Conditions
Although it may sound far-fetched, numerous studies have shown that journaling can even provide physical benefits. In one study, journaling patients with rheumatoid arthritis experienced a reduction in overall disease activity as opposed to patients who did not keep a journal. Another study showed that asthmatics with a regular writing practice experienced improved lung function. Many studies have shown similar results over the years, indicating a mind-body connection.
As you can see, journaling has numerous tangible benefits. If you’re interested in starting a journaling practice but aren’t necessarily sure where to start, check out my 30-Day Journaling Mini-Course to Discover Your Hunger. Over 30 days of writing prompts, I help you dig deep and identify the underlying hunger that makes you seek comfort and soothing through food.