We live in an age where we are conscious of our health more than ever, but what if I was to tell you that the health benefits of journaling brings everything together?
When we consider health benefits, we usually focus on the obvious such as:
- Eating right
But journaling could be the secret weapon, and the best part, you only need about 20 minutes a day!
Until you get into the swing of it and realise the amazing health benefits, you can achieve. Then you'll want to do more.
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As a professional woman, you might think of journaling as one of those things which helps you to:
- Get more organised
- Express your thoughts
- Create your plans for world domination
What you might not realise is that it's also great for your health, in entirely unexpected ways.
It can help your:
- Physical health
- Mental well-being
- Emotional health
Ready to improve your health with journaling? Read on.
Physical Health Benefits
Did you know that the health benefits of journaling have an impact on your physical health?
Numerous studies have shown that the physical act of regularly writing out your thoughts have been proven to:
- Give a boost to your immune system to keep you healthy
- Lower high blood pressure
- Improve asthma
- Help reduce pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
- Heal wounds faster
- Help in breathing
- Improve liver function
According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) patients, who struggle with a chronic illness experienced fewer physical symptoms when they kept a journal.
Mental Health Benefits
The health benefits of journaling also include mental health. The act of writing down your thoughts does a lot of great things for your mind. It can help with depression, anxiety and stress, but it can also:
- Help improve memory function
- Increase intelligence
- Build increased cognitive skills
- Improve creativity
- Boost your mood
An interesting article on the Positive Psychology website looks at several studies on how journaling helps deal with depression, anxiety, and stress.
Finally, journaling really helps to stabilise you emotionally, especially if you've ever experienced trauma or are dealing with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. For this reason, journaling is often used as a tool in therapy.
Through journaling, you can:
- be more in touch with your emotions
- express your emotional needs to others
- work through past events in your life
- build self-confidence
- work through difficult emotions
- gain a better sense of who you are
- improve your mood
A key success factor in the workplace is to manage our emotions appropriately. I'm sure we've all experienced some difficulty working with someone who has emotional outbursts. When you work in an emotionally charged environment, it's exhausting.
Nobody likes to feel as if they have to step on eggshells.
But stress does make us emotional, and it's better to deal with that in a constructive rather than destructive way.
Journaling helps us become more self-aware. To learn more about the connection between self-awareness and your health, have a look at Why Self-Awareness Is Important For Well-Being.
How Journaling Works
Journaling is a powerful tool. Psychologist Maud Purcell in her article Health Benefits of Journaling explains it well.
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all your brainpower to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.
The Combined Health Benefits Of Journaling
In all of this, the act of journaling works to reduce stress. Most professional women I know have the pressure of performing well at work and running a home. Throw in the family's needs, and it's a wonder we don't all go mad.
If you combine the health benefits of journaling for mental and emotional health, physical health benefits happen by default. Basically, you become more balanced.
The Power Of Habit
To realise the full health benefits of journaling, look to make it a daily habit. You will not see a sustained improvement if you only write sporadically.
Similarly, doing a brain dump is not productive. For best effect, write with intention. This means working through what you're experiencing and your thoughts about your experiences.
You only need to write for 20 minutes a day, at least five times a week, to see the most significant health benefits. A relatively simple change to your life with a lot of impact.
The Super Simple Way To Get Started
Daily journaling doesn't have to be a difficult habit to form. Simply add journaling to your bedtime routine and close out your day, writing down what you feel in whatever kind of journal you prefer.
Alternatively, you could write each morning and use it to review the previous day and set your intentions for the coming day.
I recommend that you keep a notebook specifically as a journal. Don't be tempted to use it for anything else.
Tips For Journaling
To get the most out of the health benefits of journaling, here are some tips.
- Find a quiet, comfortable space.
- Remove distractions
- Aim to write daily (setting a regular habit helps)
- Go with the flow – write what comes into your head
- Keep your journal private; you'll be less inhibited to write what you feel
- Regularly review what you write to find themes