“The journal is your playground, think tank, padded cell.” -Ryan Bartlemay
Why keep a journal?
-Promotes self-understanding. Ensures that the final version of your life story is the one you’d want to tell yourself.
-Clarity. A journal is a chance for your past self to lend counsel to your present self. The journal acts as a compass to help you identify any blocks to getting your goals met and discard old ways of being and doing that don’t work for you anymore.
-Stress relief. In the words of process-journaling expert Kathleen Adams, author of “Journal to the Self,” the journal is “the 79 cent therapist,” a space to express thoughts and feelings free of justification or blame, and unimpeded by the judgments of others or society. Journaling helps put the brake on endlessly repeating troubling thoughts, and gets us off our “mental treadmill” and on to some constructive resolution.
-It’s a tool for motivation and self-discipline, for achieving success in such areas as weight management, exercise programs, life goals, getting organized, making successful life transitions, improving relationships, working smarter, and improving physical health. If you have felt frustrated in achieving any of these, or other such goals, journaling can help you get and stay on track.
-Journaling helps improve mindfulness, and a sense of “being here now.” If you’ve ever felt that “life goes by too fast,” journaling can help you slow down the moments so they can be fully enjoyed and savored.
-Improved physical health. When we inhibit thoughts and feelings about what’s stressing us, it takes tremendous energy to hold it in, and this serves as a cumulative stressor on the body. Journaling has been shown to result in strengthening the body’s immune system, reducing blood pressure, improving lung function, and improving mood.
-It’s a tool for healing relationships. The journal provides a safe forum to vent strong feelings that may not be appropriate for direct expression, which then leaves you calm and sensible for an actual conversation in which you’ll speak more assertively and listen attentively.
-Creativity. Your journal is a generous canvas for expression of creativity you might have thought to be nonexistent or buried. Write a poem, draw or paint, make a collage, write a song….express yourself!
This week I will be posting more tools and tips for journaling, so grab your favorite pen and some paper…and stay tuned.