Journaling for health and wellness: how does it work?
Journaling is a practice used for personal growth that helps to know oneself, manage anxiety, and take care of the mental state.
But did you know that your body also benefits from you writing your thoughts? Learn how to get started with journaling for health and wellness!
It starts with a doodling notebook, then you start adding some sentences. It becomes a personal diary and it ends up being a true self-help tool.
That is, at least, how it happened to me.
I was 7 when I received my first ever secret diary (yes, with a padlock lol!). I could barely write at this age, but I already found it cool to have a refuge for my thoughts.
I don’t know if there was a specific reason for my parents to buy me a journal at the first place, but I’m glad they did.
Today, I still journal when I feel the need and I definitely benefit from it.
The benefits of journaling
Many studies showed the benefits of writing on communication skills, mindfulness, and self-confidence.
Beyond its positive impact on the mind and soul, journaling could also have a positive impact on physical health and immunity, if we believe this study.
How is it even possible?
Writing, exposing our thoughts and feelings is a way to relieve ourselves from our issues.
Therefore, we free ourselves from stress and anxiety that slowly invade our bodies when they aren’t addressed properly.
By freeing yourself from stress, you’ll be able to relax, sleep better, and recharge your energy. As a reminder, sleeping well (and enough) is essential to be healthy; it helps to balance hormones and produce immunity cells.
So if your body and mind are anxious, your rest time will be compromised and some hormones (such as adrenaline) will prevent your body from producing the actual cells that fight pathogens.
Kind of magic right? Well, that’s why I like to consider health as a whole.
Everything in our body is intertwined.
Where to start from
With the number of new techniques that emerge every day, it can be difficult to find what would suit us the best.
Today we can talk about doodle journaling, the “one line a day” technique, you can write about your goals, dreams, affirmations, and gratitude.
The good news is that there is no rule, except that you should be honest with yourself. Get yourself a notebook, a pen, and let your mind guide you.
What to journal about
Even though it is natural to write for some people, it can be harder for others. But don’t worry, it’s normal, and it will get easier with practice.
If you can’t put your emotions into words from the beginning, start writing about your day, the week’s events, or the key points of the past months/years.
Thereafter, write about the things that made you happy, angry, puzzled, or afraid during the day.
Also think about your accomplishments, what you are proud of but also your mistakes, and the things you feel ashamed about.
You could also write:
- Inspirational quotes and think about their meaning
- Dreams to realize
- Things you learned
… or you could also draw!
You can obviously stick to a topic or let your thoughts do their thing every day. Find what works best for you!
How often to journal
When it comes to frequency, again, there are no rules. Some people swear about writing every day, others don’t have a regular rhythm and still benefit from it.
This will then depend on your personal situation.
If you’re new to journaling, I recommend that you start with 1-2 times a week and then adapt to your lifestyle and needs.
Keeping a consistent pace will make it easier for you to make it a habit you can stick to. But don’t forget that writing should be something you enjoy – it should not be felt like an obligation.
If you can’t keep up with it after trying several times and don’t seem to benefit from it, it might not be the right thing for you.
Journaling for health and wellness
Writing in a journal is like talking to your best friend. However, it can sometimes be difficult to open up to someone.
There can be a fear of disturbing, judgment, or the fear of not being able to express your feelings.
Your journal will always be there for you and obviously won’t make any judgment.
At the end of the day, your diary is nothing else than a reflection of yourself. I like to consider my writing time as a date with myself.
Writing your feelings is a way for you to put your emotions into words and be aware of them. We often say that recognizing one’s own emotions is 99% accepting them.
We might not easily realize this, but writing our thoughts on paper (or on a word document if you prefer it) helps to guide our actions, trust our gut feelings, and take the right decisions.
Journaling has helped me gain self-confidence, assert myself and, acknowledge the impacts of life events on my wellness.
Writing gave me the power to believe in myself, pursue my dreams, and go out of toxic relationships.
I have been able to shape my personality and still learn tons about myself every time I write.
Looking back at the many notebooks I accumulated for the past 17 years, I can see how much I grew, which I wouldn’t have been able to tell without all these written pages.
Just like you notice your physical changes throughout the years with photographs, you notice spiritual and personal growth in personal journals.
Once again, writing should be something you enjoy, a tool to become the best version of yourself.
Some people might prefer to manage their feelings in other ways such as jogging, seeing a therapist, meditating, praying.
Find the way that works best for you.
Are you currently journaling for health and wellness? Let me know in the comments the techniques you use or come chat with me about this topic on Instagram @vlourish!