Between pimply, youthful dreams, pages plastered with Lisa Frank stickers and all that blue-penned angst, notebooks have a teenager-y sort of stigma. But “journaling” (as we refer to it in the post-puberty stages), is the next big trend this year following coloring books. The tradition of healthy reflections dates far back with some of the earliest journal writers including the Greeks, Romans, Japanese women of the 10th century and “enlightened” individuals during the Renaissance period.
However, by keeping a journal of sorts through a notebook or today’s standard, a blog, we allow ourselves a better chance to discover who we are. Journaling is a valid method in remembering ourselves when we first experienced specific moments. As a tool in recollection and contemplation for sincere living, journaling aids greatly in the big or loud aspects of our life. From happiness to hurt, first loves to heartbreaks, achievements to failures, writing down our thoughts helps keep a record of “what it felt to be me” during a period you might not realize was a learning experience.
In reflecting on those written words, we gain valuable bits of knowledge and insight into the puzzle of our purpose. From there, we are able to construct a life well worth living and loving through responsive emotions and thoughts. By increasing our own self-awareness and delving deeper into our true voices, we are able to make better-informed decisions to honor who we truly are.
In addition to seeding a healthy foundation in ourselves, a study from the University of Rochester found journaling as an effective way to improve mood and manage mental health. But it doesn’t end there as researchers discovered journaling boasts a number of health benefits. In honor of the first ever, National Notebook Day, which supports the value of journaling through notebooks, we share three very important benefits that writing in a notebook or blog can bring to your life. From gaining profound reflections to managing stress, journaling brings out an unparalleled state of mindfulness that assists in positive living.
Help to manage mental health
Did you know suppressing your emotions could be very harmful to your psychological and physical health? Over the years, journaling has been a proven and effective way to improve mood as it creates a greater sense of psychological well-being. In a report from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, researchers suggest the cathartic process of writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events leads to improvements in both physical and mental health.
Journaling helps us restructure our thinking by easing anxieties that often fester into negativity or fear. When experiencing such emotions, it’s important to have an outlet that allows you to let those emotions go. Moreover, once you look at the written words in a notebook or blog, you’ll understand yourself better and look to it as a guide in the present moment that you are tougher than your situation ever was.
Deeper perspective and clarity
Acting as a profound pool of reflection, journaling allows you to better clarify thoughts to gain a better perspective of yourself. It’s been argued by cognitive psychologists that writing is actually just thinking. Never really thought of it that way, did you? In an interview with Humanities, American writer and lecturer, David McCullough says the reason why writing is so hard is because to write well is to “think clearly.”
Writing does just that. And while you might use paper or other media to externalize and manipulate symbolic expressions, the mental operation of it is a natural language that occurs in the depths of our mind. We are basically having conversations with our subconscious. While keeping a journal may inadvertently help find solutions to a plaguing dilemma, one of the most important purposes it serves is allowing you to gain perspective of your inner thoughts and feelings. It’s incredibly empowering too because rather than finding a quick fix to your problems, you’re able to track your evolution through critical thinking and challenging the relationship you have with these obstacles. You are in control of yourself. This not only creates clarity, but also betters your growth and acuity in the long run.
Boosts memory and intelligence
Writing expressively doesn’t just help you to manage stress or provide clarity—it’s also been proven to improve memory. By writing out facts or experiences, you give more permanence to a transitory time. While philosophers, writers, artists and presidents have maintained journaling for posterity and purpose, it’s been thought by researchers that journaling is an effective way to keep sight of what happened in your past as you forge ahead with a more positive and astute outlook.
Of course, it also boosts intelligence, both verbally and emotionally. At the core of it, journaling is a vivid and vibrant exploration of language. When you write, you will have a natural urge to search for new words and increase your vocabulary. Additionally, this raises your IQ as you begin a hungry search for more knowledge and comprehension to matters you were not quite familiar with. With regards to fine tuning your emotional intelligence, writing out feelings gives you the ability to perceive and manage emotions in a healthier fashion than those who do not. As a progressive outlet for processing feelings and responses, you’re increasing your aptitude for maintaining relationships and understanding others. This familiarity creates empathy as you become more attuned with others and forge deeper connections.
* * * * *
Do you write in a notebook or maintain a blog? Have you found it helpful? Share with us your experiences of a healthy well-being in the comments below.