Do you write in a journal?
Research has shown that keeping a journal can help reduce stress and increase happiness and satisfaction with your daily life.
I used to journal as a child and young adult regularly, up into college. I have shelves full of my inner thoughts and feelings, recorded in my terrible lefty scrawl for my children to either peruse or dump in my old age (or when I pass).
I always found that keeping a journal was a great way to vent emotions. As a very emotional young lady prone to depression, sometimes I felt like it helped. Other times, it would seem as if the journaling drew me deeper in the circle of negative thoughts and emotions.
Maybe I wasn't doing it right.
A friend of mine asked me not too long ago if I did a certain kind of journaling. The word she used escapes me right now, but it was basically a word dump to get worries and stressful thoughts out before starting the day. It reminded me of how much I used to enjoy journaling, and the fact that I don't do it anymore.
As we age, do you find you have less time to do the things that are best for you? Exercise, meditation, journaling...
But now, as professionals, parents, and adults, is when we need those things most.
Research shows the following:
There are several different kinds of journaling. I recently wrote an article for work about the positive effects of gratitude for businesses. One of the ways to increase feelings of gratitude and overall joy with your life is by keeping a gratitude journal. Keeping a gratitude journal is also supposed to help people sleep better.
Any time of the day, but particularly before bed, take time to write down a few of things you are thankful for. This helps direct your mind to the positives in your life, rather than focusing on stressful or negative things. Another little benefit to keeping a gratitude journal is that you can look back over the positive things you've written down in the past as a reminder when you're feeling down.
Bullet Journal or Planning Journal
I love to-do lists. My sister is the same way. Nothing makes me feel more organized, and calm, than writing down all the things I need to do. A shopping list. The long list of things I need to get down for work. The house projects I need to accomplish. Chore charts. Once it is down on paper, I feel like l can release it from my mind and not thing about it. It will be there when I'm ready to focus on it.
This used to be my kind of journaling. I would just write what I was feeling. This is a great way to excise negative emotions. But, as I mentioned earlier, it can sometimes drag you into a more emotional state. I've started exercising when my emotions are really high, or very low. Exercise, another great stress reliever, seems to help me better than writing in a journal. But I know exercise isn't for everyone (to be honest, it isn't really for me. I just like long walks), so releasing pent up emotions in a journal is another great option.
Writing to someone you can't, or won't, talk to at the moment is another great way to get rid of negative emotions. Sometimes it is hard to open up in person, or we are no longer on speaking terms. Venting our frustrations in a journal entry addressed to that person is one way to get those negative emotions out and start helping you move on.
On the flip side, it could also be a great way to release positive emotions, or even feelings of love or attraction towards someone you aren't ready to reveal how you feel yet. A note of caution to anyone who hasn't read (or watched the movie) the bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han : Don't actually address the letters. You never know when someone might mail them.
What do you think? Shall we give journaling another try? Tell me your thoughts about keeping a journal.