Did you know that one of the benefits of journaling is that it can save your life? Because of its effects on the mind and body, journaling has some surprising benefits. For example, according to Psych Central, research shows that journaling strengthens the immune system and acts as a stress management tool. Another example includes a visual journaling study with medical students. It showed the promising benefits of journaling for the high stress environment in which they work. So, it quite literally can save your life and help you live longer and happier. But, let’s get into it in more detail and talk a bit about effective ways to do it.
5 Major Benefits of Journaling
In this article about Why Homeschooling Moms Need to Journal, I outline several benefits including using the page as a trusted friend, writing your prayers, and using journaling as a creative outlet. Let’s dig into those a bit.
One of the benefits of journaling is that it allows you to “talk” about what’s troubling you without judgment. Think of it as your secret therapist who listens, almost like talking to your cat or dog. It gets all those feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, and discouragement out of your head. But, when it’s on paper, it allows you to go back later and look for patterns of thought or behavior. You can do this as a brain dump, or you can use a guided journal with prompts. Using something with prompts is almost like a therapist helping you get to the bottom of things and find a constructive response.
Benefits of journaling: writing your prayers
Much like using the page as a trusted friend to which you can pour out your heart, why not pour out your heart to God? When we write down our prayers, we can be much more intentional about praying for others’ salvation, for hurts to heal, for forgiveness, and so much more. It also allows us to track when God answered a particular prayer. In addition, writing our prayers changes our focus from complaining and focusing on our hurts to focusing on change and healing instead. Writing our prayers can help us better understand our own role in difficult situations and see things from a different perspective. If you’re ready to give this a try, check out this prayer journal.
Eureka! Moments on Paper
Using a journal can also help you organize your thoughts and ideas. Maybe as you’re ranting on the page, you think of possible solutions. Journaling allows you to keep track of those, too. Very often, as I let go of all the negativity and pour out my heart on the page, new ideas surface. I see things I didn’t see before. Journaling allows me to let go of the analytical way of problem-solving and see alternatives that my more intuitive side offers up. This unexpected benefit of journaling nurtures creativity and creativity has long been associated with feeling more joyful and hopeful.
Learning about yourself
Sometimes we don’t really know ourselves until we write about our own lives. Most of the time, we are in react mode and don’t really think much about why we do what we do or why we feel what we feel. Why do two different people when confronted with the same situation handle it differently? Have you ever heard the statement that we choose to feel a certain way? If we are angry or hurt by someone’s words or actions, we can ask ourselves why we react that way. Through journaling, we can discover the roots of our behaviors and reactions and choose differently. Through choosing differently, we can improve ourselves and “renew our minds,” “taking every thought captive.”
Remember that I said one of the benefits of journaling is that it can save your life? Releasing your feelings on paper has measurable effects on your heart rate and breathing. After journaling about upsetting events and feelings, people report feeling calmer, more in control, and less anxious. Since stress is related to many chronic health issues, reducing it is essential to living a longer, healthier life. Whenever you are stressed out–whether it be the holiday season, back to school time, on vacation, or just feeling overwhelmed–get out the paper and pencil and pour it out on the page! You’ll feel a lot better.
Try Morning Pages
Morning pages are sort of like a notebook, but it involves a routine of writing, you guessed it, every morning. This practice allows you to get your thoughts onto paper each day in order to process them and to find patterns in your thinking. It’s awesome for working through personal issues and for sparking new ideas. Morning also tends to be when God speaks to me most clearly, how about you? I often find myself waking up with some profound insight that the Lord gave me. If I don’t write down it right away, the barely formed thought slips away. That’s why I keep a notebook on my nightstand.
Keep a Notebook in Your Purse
Another habit I have is keeping a notebook in my purse. That way, whenever ideas hit me, I’m ready. And, whenever I’m troubled by something someone said or did, I have my outlet ready. It’s easy, inexpensive, and portable. The best thing is that I can pull it out and no one knows what I’m writing. So, when Uncle Joe says something hurtful, I can pull it out and say, “I just got a great idea and I don’t want to forget it!” He doesn’t need to know that I’m actually jotting down a note that I need to pray for him.