Life can be overwhelming, and one of the questions I hear repeatedly from clients is how to deal with the crushing feelings and events that just keep coming. Some are open when I suggest journaling, but more often that idea is greeted with skepticism and questions so I wanted to take the time to share how journaling can be an important part in your journey towards wholeness.
Get a Fresh Perspective on Day-to-Day Concerns
Journaling is well known by professionals to have a positive effect on your mental health, but did you know that it can also allow you to see things from a different perspective? When you document your thoughts and feelings on paper, you are externalizing them — which in turn provides a potent way of understanding yourself in a deeper way, seeing your progress over time and taking the initiative to decide how you want to move forward. Journaling is also known to bring you to a state of mindfulness; where future anxieties can lose their edge in the present moment while allowing you to actively engage with your thoughts.
Boost Your Emotional Intelligence
Understanding with and working with others starts with having a solid grip on your own thoughts and emotions, and this ability to perceive emotions of yourself and others is called “emotional intelligence” — or more commonly, empathy. The intuition that you gain from journaling will allow you to relate to others more freely and provide a deeper connection both to those you love and those you need to communicate with on a daily basis.
Writing Your Way to Healing
Emotional blockages, overthinking and stress can have a serious effect not only on your mental health but on your physical health as well. Stress in particular has been well-documented to damage your body, causing high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hair loss, headaches and many more physical symptoms. The emotional release of journaling may reduce your overall stress levels and allow you to rest better and lower anxiety levels as well.
Getting Started with Journaling
One of the most common questions I receive after conversations around journaling is around the specific steps to get started: What do I write? Where should I write?
While these are valid questions, the only true answer is to do what works for you. Some people are more comfortable pouring out their thoughts in front of a computer screen into their public (or private) blog, while others prefer the tactical feel of pencil or pen and paper. My best advice is simply to try something and get started!
Here’s a few questions that can help get the ideas flowing:
- What can I learn from this?
- What am I grateful for?
- How could I have handled that better?
- What were some of my successes today?
- I am looking forward to…
- What would make tomorrow successful?
As you can see, there truly is no right or wrong way to journal. Find a quiet corner or a busy coffee shop, your favorite moleskin notebook or your laptop — just get started reaping the benefits of getting more closely in touch with your thoughts and feelings.
Ready to learn more about reducing your overall stress levels?
I can help you feel better.
Sources: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/07/journal-to-improve-self-esteem/, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thai-nguyen/benefits-of-journaling-_b_6648884.html, http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
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