The Power of Paper
Benefits of journaling
When you think back to your younger years, I feel like a lot of us wrote in diaries and then grew up and stopped or somewhere along the way it fell out of habit. Journaling is writing down what you think, feel, fear, celebrate, experience, observe, dream of; and whatever else comes to mind. It can be jotting down a few sentences about your day, a short poem, a graphic story, or whatever suits you best. Collecting your thoughts together in an organized space is a small change in your daily routine that can make a big difference and guess what? It’s making a huge comeback; it’s become a hallmark of the so-called self-care movement and for good reason.
Writing is a powerful practice, especially as a way to focus on and cultivate self-care.
As social distancing, quarantine and isolation are becoming our new norm, it’s critical now more than ever to do whatever we can to support our emotional balance every day. This can be difficult. Since we live in a culture where productivity is king, our drive for achievement can often come at the expense of our own well-being. Making it even more critical to put our mental health front and center in everything we do.
Journaling is an effective practice for a variety of reasons, and it can help you reach both short- and long-term goals.
Most importantly, it can help you keep your mind clear by getting your thoughts out of your busy brain and onto a piece of paper. Doing this can also help you notice some important ties between your behaviors and feelings, which could help you make some positive changes in your life.
Collecting your thoughts together in an organized space is a small change in your daily routine that can make a big difference and guess what? It’s making a huge comeback; it’s become a hallmark of the so-called self-care movement and for good reason.
What follows is a list of benefits of journaling that may inspire you to want to start:
Helps with setting goals: A journal helps you commit your goals into writing. And writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. It helps you affirm that your goals are possible. It helps you clarify what you want and encourages you to consider the why and how, not just the what. Reflecting on goals in writing continually reminds you to take the next action necessary to achieve them. They serve as a tool for identifying what you should prioritize on a daily basis, and what you should let go of.
Improve your writing: If you have ever wanted to practice or improve your writing, the best thing to do is write. You don’t have to have the perfect topic or a specific theme, you just need to start getting your ideas on paper. The more you work through them, the more those ideas will flourish into something more complete.
Help you clarify your thoughts & feelings: You can track patterns, trends and improvements over time. When current circumstances appear overwhelming, you can look back on previous dilemmas that you have since resolved and learn from them. You might also encounter moments where you feel confused and uncertain about your feelings. By writing them down, you’re able to tap into your internal world and better make sense of things.
Relieves stress: Sometimes negative thoughts and emotions can run on a loop in our heads. This can be stressful when you’re dealing with a challenging situation — it can even make your present situation feel worse. But if you stop and put your emotions down on paper, it can help you release negative thoughts from your mind and can be very cleansing. As you write, you may even come up with a solution you hadn’t thought of before.
Allow yourself to self-reflect: Our lives can become very hectic, making it easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Responsibilities and expectations start to consume us. Journaling is a way to take a step back from all of that and reflect on yourself. You may begin to see patterns in your behavior, or in the behavior of others. The benefits of journal writing is that you're able to look back at pages you’ve written and think about how you’ve changed, discover things you want to change or decide on things you need to change.
If you stop and put your emotions down on paper, it can help you release negative thoughts from your mind and can be very cleansing. As you write, you may even come up with a solution you hadn’t thought of before.
Healing: Helps you find recurring patterns in your thoughts, and use this to work on improving yourself. It’s the oldest form of self-help there is, psychologists use expressive writing and journal therapy. When you don’t know how to cope with loss and grief, it’s the first step towards healing from trauma.
Improve communication skills: When you journal, you learn to better express yourself. And this lets you better communicate your feelings with others. The more self-aware you become, the more you can make yourself understood to others. Writing leads to clear thinking – which in turn leads to clear communication. How often have you kept a conflict bottled up, unable to find the right words? Journaling helps put your feelings into words. And this makes talking about your emotions more natural.
You don’t have to be a writer, or a creative, or a new-age hippie to keep a journal.
Whatever your goals are—to feel happier, manage stress, think more clearly, learn more deeply, or better align your daily actions with your values and goals—making time in your busy life to journal can help you get there. Through your writing, you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend and it may provide the cheapest therapy you will ever get. Just pick up a pen and start writing.