A cathartic habit

When I was a little girl I used have a journal. Not a “dear diary” kind of notebook but a journal where I would write the issues I encounter in life, my ideas, my feelings and where I was brutally honest with myself. 
 
Of course, I was a little girl and didn’t really know what I was actually doing but I felt the need to do it. It was cathartic in many cases and helped me through some rough times.
 
Over the years I have picked it up once in a while but nothing consistent until a year ago when I picked it up again. I started by writing every few days just a few lines and then started to write more and more consistently. 
 
Journaling has helped me tremendously and I truly believe it can help others so I decided to do some research and write about how and why it is beneficial.
10 BENEFITS OF JOURNALING
1. Define goals and reminds you of them

If it’s written down and defined, you are more likely to follow-through with actions. When our path is not clear, action steps are harder to take. By writing down the specifics of what you want it is easier to accomplish your goals.

2. Writing as meditation
This tool helps you calm and clear your mind because its a habit that helps you focus your energy and attention on one thing: writing.
3. Reduce anxiety and stress

Managing stress levels is a very important aspect of modern life. Journaling can be used to manage anxiety and stress because it create a space where you can “brain dump”  everything, big or small. It’s a kind of a purge of your brain on to paper, releasing that stress and anxiety. This has done wonders for me in this aspect!

4. Confronting fears and problems
Writing helps us work through our issues by progressively clarifying our thoughts, at our own pace, with no one there to judge or tell us it’s silly or irrational or that we should “just get over it”.
5. Develops self- awareness
Accepting and admitting who you truly are. In your journal you are able to ”speak” your mind,  however outrageous, or crazy your thoughts might be. 
6. Identify and accept emotions
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how we feel or even accept how we feel. Being able to write things down helps identify emotions and that way it’s easier to accept the way we feel.
7. Learn about what triggers you
By writing down experiences, over time you can start seeing patterns of the situations, people or even words that trigger you. This is a great opportunity for growth and change.
8. Reducing rumination and promoting action
Thinking and rethinking about something obsessively without getting to a conclusion about it can be detrimental to your health. ”Rumination is associated with the worsening of negative mood states, greater affective responding to negative material, and increased access to negative memories” read more here
 
Journaling helps reduce rumination and it’s easier to see solutions and plan action steps to solve them. 
9. Reflect on our experiences
We are all so different and particular and relating to others can be a challenge for many. Journaling can be a great tool to learn from our actions and understand our behavior to create change in our interactions with others. It can help improve our relationships with others.
10. Enhance creativity
When we are journaling the left side of our brain (the analytic part) is activated and the right side of the brain (creative side) is free to relax. So creativity can flourish!
 
How to start journaling? It’s easy! Get yourself a notebook and a pen or markers, whatever fancies you. Set up a time every day and just write. Write at least 2-3 pages every day (just a few sentences usually doesn’t get to the root of things). It can take you from 5 minutes to however long you want. 
 
Journaling, in my opinion, is better in the early morning when I am not completely awake. 
 
Try it for a week and let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to hear your take on it.
 
With love,
Patty

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