As we’ve evolved, we’ve developed the ability to think, and also to overthink. This can result in a tendency to over-complicate and over-intellectualise things when there are simple solutions. When it comes to self-care and wellbeing, there are a number of simple habits and practices we can build that hold a surprising amount of power. Journalling is one example.
Putting pen to paper through a journalling practice can have a profound impact on our wellbeing. it’s something we may know in theory but real value, like most things, is by putting this into action. In this blog, we’ll take a look at three key benefits of journalling.
Benefit 1: Stress Relief
Life isn’t neat and tidy and we all experience stress at times, to varying degrees. The nature of stress involves the demands of life feeling greater than our ability to manage them at a given time. this takes up headspace and mental energy. We can find ourselves running through mental to do lists, pre-empting further stressors that may come our way, finding we are preoccupied with something in our mind rather than the task we are supposed to be focusing on.
Journalling can be a great way to get all of this out of head an onto paper. By writing privately, we can express ourselves openly. By using words, we can become better able to understand and process what we are feeling. And if we know how we feel, we are in a much stronger position to do something about it.
Benefit 2: Self-Awareness and Personal Development
How often to rush through a day on auto-pilot, and then crash out in front of the TV at the end of it? When you go for a walk, run or hit the gym, do you have quiet time or do you listen to music or podcasts? How comfortable do you feel about having time to think?
We have more thoughts than we could possibly count on any given day but they often feel like internal noise amongst all the external noise surrounding us. Sometimes the external noise is deliberate because we no longer feel comfortable with our thoughts and so we look for ways to quieten them or block them.
Journalling provides space to slow down and focus on yourself with intention, and without distraction. By making the time and choice to tune in to how you feel and what you think about things, you build self-awareness. And with self-awareness comes personal growth and development. We can’t change what we think and how we feel without knowing what we think and feel in the first place.
Benefit 3: Creative Problem-Solving
The act of writing activates a different part of the brain that is used to when we type or speak. Research suggests that writing on paper supports our learning because we are able to retain more information in our memory this way. Writing things downs helps us organise our thoughts and in doing so, we can start to see things differently.
We all have negative thoughts attached to fear and unwanted outcomes at times, and sometimes these thoughts and feelings can stop us from taking action. Writing creates a sense of distance from our thoughts that offers us objectivity. Its not unusual to find that a thought is much scarier in our mind than on paper. When we see it on a page, we can recognise our fears may be irrational. We can then move past these blockers and focus on better and more creative problem solving.
Give it a go.
You don’t have to make a big thing of journalling. Start small, with maybe 15-minutes at the start or end of your day to write about how you are feeling. Try not to think too much about it. Have a go and writing whatever pops into your head and see what you notice.