Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Health Benefits of Journaling

I continue to explore the many benefits of keeping a daily journal.  Maude Purcell, pictured here, has written an excellent article titled The Health Benefits of Journaling.  In this article she summarizes the benefits:

  • "Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
  • Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
  • Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
  • Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
  • Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict."
I have been keeping a daily journal since the end of October.  I can relate to each of the benefits Ms. Purcell mentions.  The "Know yourself better" benefit is especially strong.  By recording the significant events of your day, you begin to see patterns...what makes you happy, what makes you unhappy.  The daily journal becomes an owner's manual to how to better lead your life.

When I began this exercise, I had low expectations.  However, the power of keeping a daily journal quickly becomes evident as you commit to recording your thoughts daily.  I highly recommend it.

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