I feel that it’s important to state this first: There are no rules to journaling.
If you’ve ever considered journaling I encourage you to take pen to paper and simply write whatever comes to mind. It can be done in as little as 5 minutes or in as many minutes as you’d like.
There are plenty of resources that share lists of the do’s, don’ts and when’s of journaling, but often they overthink a uniquely personal process. For example, most resources I’ve read say it’s best to journal in the morning. That’s never worked for me. I prefer to journal in the evenings or right before bedtime. I’ve also been known to journal in the afternoon on occasion. The afternoon? How audacious.
No matter when I write, I find it helps clear my head and set intentions for the next day (or part of my day). It also helps me work through anything my brain has been relentlessly chewing on.
Five health benefits of journaling
Journaling is not something I do every day but on the days I do, I find it has lasting benefits on my overall sense of well-being. Here are five health benefits of journaling:
Stress buster Studies have shown that 15-20 minutes of expressive writing per day can, over time, lower blood pressure and improve liver function—two things that affect your overall health. Writing about stressful experiences helps problem solve, clarify thoughts and feelings and manages them in a healthy way.
Immune lifter Expressive writing, which is often connected with journaling, has shown to strengthen immunity, decrease the risk of getting sick and reduce symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Memory booster Journaling helps keep the mind sharp, boosts working memory capacity and comprehension and it may also improve cognitive processing.
Emotion stabilizer When journaling becomes a regular practice, it can help the brain regulate emotions, build confidence and engage right-brained creativity, which boosts brainpower and fosters personal, emotional and psychological growth.
Mood equalizer Taking pen to paper to hash out feelings helps the brain overcome emotional upsets. It also helps improve mood and overall sense of emotional well-being by reducing activity in the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for controlling the intensity of our emotions).
Whether you someone who enjoys writing or someone who shudders at the mere thought of it, I encourage you to give journaling a try. You just may find you like the way to it makes you feel—socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Read about my personal experience with journaling over on LinkedIn.
Here are a few key take-aways:
If you’re interested in journaling go for it whenever, wherever and however you want.
The more you do it, the better you’ll feel.