Four Good Reasons to Keep a Journal

photoFor my tenth birthday I received a treasured gift, a diary with a lock. Even at that young age, it was clear that the key would keep my thoughts and feelings protected.

Journaling can be a powerful life tool to change your mind and habits. So if you don’t have a safe place to explore your hopes, fears and dreams, why not try it? And here are four good reasons why:

Reduce stress. Writing about events that upset you can accelerate your coming to terms with them. When you express anger, sadness and other painful feelings, you’ll release their intensity. Studies show that reducing stressors can have a positive impact on your emotional and physical health.

Think positive. When you’re feeling down, recalling better times helps boost your wellbeing in the present. Writing about the reasons you have to be grateful will make you feel more hopeful. On the page, you’ll be able to view your life more objectively. And raising that awareness can lead to more self-confidence.

Understand yourself. Journaling is the butterfly net that catches your ideas so you can take a better look. When your internal world is spinning, getting thoughts and feelings out of your head and on paper can clarify what you need and want. Then you’ll feel calmer and better able to stay in the moment.

Solve problems.┬áDuring these quiet times with your journal, you’re less defended and most honest. You’ll gain clarity about the situations and people who are toxic for you. Writing rather than stewing about disagreements can help you understand the other point of view. Be open to intuition and creativity as you find unexpected solutions.

Respect the journaling process by writing regularly. You can review the events of the day or whatever is on your mind. Or pick a theme for the week, like confusion, frustration or change. Writing in a stream of consciousness frees your brain from judgments and yourself from censoring. And the most important rule is there are no rules. Just relax into it and grow your journal practice however you want.

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