Journaling on a regular basis is beneficial to physical health, mental well-being, and social relationships.
Giving voice to our thoughts and emotions, rather than repressing them, reduces stress and anxiety.
By writing down our feelings, we legitimize them, accept them as real, and begin to deal with them in a positive, healthy way.
Reading our words provides a necessary distance, which allows us to brainstorm a variety of strategies to help improve the situation.
Once we realize we have options, we begin to see hope where before we saw only hardship. In this way, journaling helps with depression.
In addition, this objective distance allows us to "walk in another man's shoes" and perhaps see the situation from their point of view. We gain empathy, which allows us to extend compassion rather than remain so defensive.
An article in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment reported that journaling helps to reduce blood pressure and improve the immune system, which in turn, decreases illness.
Because journaling allows us to eliminate discursive thought and provides us with some positive direction, we begin to think more clearly and worry less. This in turn leads to better, more restful sleep, which benefits our physical health.
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If you have yet to try journaling, perhaps improved health is reason enough to give it shot?
The next post in this Journaling series: I is for Intuition