Mindfulness Series Week 4: The Surprising Health Benefits of Journaling

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JOURNALING: GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH?

My first diary was given to me by my aunt when I was seven years old. It had a slick, squishy cover with music notes on the front and cursive lettering to spell out MY DIARY. The pages were pink and the book came with a lock and a heart-shaped key.

I loved that diary. I filled it out quickly and bought another. And another. And another.

I progressed from childhood diaries and high school gossip to prayer journals and personal growth trackers. My journals cover everything from field trips in elementary school to the birth of my children.

Every few years, I pile them around me and sift through memories of summers spent rollerblading and trips to my grandparents’ lake house. Of winter blizzards in Virginia and days off school, building snow forts and organizing sledding competitions.

Journaling is my way to express creativity, savor treasured memories and vent or analyze a situation. Most times, I finish with a sense of calm and peace when I’m stressed or the gusto to get started on a personal project.

Turns out, that because of the emotional release you get from writing, your mind and body can experience several benefits from making it a regular practice! I did some research on the specific health benefits of journaling and was surprised at what I found:

Sources:

5 TYPES OF JOURNALS:

1. BRAIN DUMP

These are the classic books you think of when you think about journaling. These allow you to explore emotions and feelings without restraint and provide an opportunity to analyze a situation. I also tape in letters, photos and small keepsakes. There’s no limit to what you can do write on these blank pages!

Brain-dump journals are usually kept private so make sure you keep them in a safe place.

2. GRATITUDE JOURNAL

When life starts to spin out of control, it’s hard to see the good in the everyday. Gratitude journals are useful when I’m creating a habit of negative thinking. These journals change my attitude from self-pity to self-motivation.

Entries can be as short as a word, or as long as a story to tell what went well in your day, or what you’re thankful for. They are an excellent record to reflect back on when you’re overwhelmed by the monotony of a chronic illness or a reoccurring problem.

3. GUIDED JOURNAL

Guided journals are my favorite because they inspire me to be creative and each one is unique in its focus.

4. BULLET JOURNAL

These trendy journals are a blank canvas for right-brained creative types as well as left-brain methodical types. There is no limit on what you can track with these and there is an enormous wealth of ideas online on how to construct your own.

Use them to track anything from a list of your favorite quotes, to how much water you drink each day to tracking your moods and reaching work goals.

You can even print your own compilation of pre-made pages and store them in a binder.

5. PRAYER JOURNALS

These are becoming more popular and a great way to grow spiritually! Some just have pretty covers and allow you to create your own format, while others guide you through the process.

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Enjoyed this post on journaling? You might want to read the rest of the posts in my Mindfulness Series:

Need more inspiration? You can browse my Amazon Self Help List here for even more ideas!

Happy Writing!

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