Have you ever felt so restless you keep circling your tiny room over and over frantically until you bang your pinky toe into one of your furniture? Or have you been angry to the point where you want to smash glass plates on a wall but well, you cannot? Humans with their complex machinery have this tendency to 'feel' and quite often they do not know how to handle what they feel. In this blog, we'll be describing a positive resort to channel your feelings ~ journaling. According to Collins dictionary journaling refers to "the practice of keeping a journal or diary, especially in order to express one's thoughts". There is a thin line of difference between writing a diary and journaling. In a diary, you write an account of your day and is a rather regular and frequent habit. On the other hand journaling is more on the self reflection side, it tracks your personal growth, traces your journey and it has lesser boundations. It leaves you with a sense of freedom of expression and a notebook to write, enlist, doodle, sketch your thoughts. You fill it's pages with ink and emotions and when you open it five years later, you're suddenly hit with a wave of nostalgia. Even though journaling as a concept is gaining more popularity in the recent years, it has existed since a VERY long time. Ladies of the court in tenth century Japan used pillow books to record their dreams and thoughts with images and poetry.
The benefits of journaling would include:
1.Journalling can be a very important tool for processing your emotions. When you write down what is going on inside your head whether good or bad, you are contemplating your feelings and thoughts. For example, if you feel you're not in your best mood today, when you write you will find a cause for it and a solution to it. This helps you keep a record of what generally causes an unpleasant mood and thus again, a wider solution for the same. This also helps segregate positive and negative thoughts, trace their frequency ,causes and understand yourself on a deeper level.
2. Tracking progress: Writing down your goals and how you act towards them will create a sense of self responsibility. When you write your daily, weekly or monthly progress, you have something to go back to and recognize the steps you've taken. This will help you point out things that work out for you and also possible mistakes. Tracking progress in any aspect of life be it personal or professional can be easier when you have a written record.
3. Improves creativity: Once you sit down with a blank paper ,a pen (or colors) and freedom to express yourself in what so ever way you want to, you naturally unleash your creativity. Doing this as a practice helps you get a creative flow and gradually you improve in your respective way.
4. Create a sense of gratitude: Specifically curated gratitude journals or any journal for that matter can be used to jot down what or who you're grateful for. The practice of gratitude can help with fatigue, insomnia, lessens anxiety and reduces depressive thoughts. It also harvests patience and you become less materialistic. It develops a better and more positive view of the world. You tend to have better relationships and stay happier. When you focus on good things, you naturally become more optimistic and have a better self image
5. Journals are also used to pass on beliefs, rituals and values. In some families journals diary have been used as a method to be reminded of the certain set of values people of that people are expected to know in that household.
6. Journaling evokes mindfulness. Writing how you feel will keep you in the present moment and you will be more aware of what is actually happening and what is just in your head. It also boosts confidence. A big part of journaling focuses on self expression. When you express your feelings, emotions or experiences you get a deeper understanding of yourself. You will get to know yourself better, like how you act in a certain situation and why. Once you are in a place when you feel secure enough to be confident within and be yourself, you will start being more confident outside. Effective communication is possible when you have a clarity of thought and this come off as confident.
Many studies have found that journaling has a very positive response towards our physical and mental being as well:
7. Those who journal have shown improved immune system functioning as it strengthens immune cells. People have also talked about lessened symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Expressive writing also has shown to improve lung and liver function and combat certain diseases. In some cases it's even seen that people recover from physical injures as well. Basically people who journal have a better grip over their mind and this have a deeper understanding of self. This all impacts the mental health in a positive way and thus physical health also improves. "Emotional stress can limit the effectiveness of our immune system due to the secretion of the "stress hormone" known as cortisol. It's thought journaling, with its stress-busting qualities, limits the secretion of this hormone and allows the immune system to do its job effectively."
8. Writing in a journal offers a secure environment for expressing ideas and feelings. People who are depressed may find this useful, especially since it gives them a safe place to express their emotions, worries, and frustrations. People can read their journals to investigate the underlying causes of their depression, pinpoint stressors, and obtain understanding of their mental condition. It aids in recognizing recurrently harmful mental patterns and actions. After becoming aware of these patterns, people might attempt to alter them with the aid of a therapist or by using self-help methods. Being self-aware and present is essential for managing depression. Depression and chronic stress are often linked. Maintaining a journal diary might be a coping strategy for stress. Writing down ideas might help being more organized mentally and emotionally and reducing the feeling of overwhelm which is a major contributor to stress. Although journaling is not a proper and full cure for depression, expression of self can be an effective supplemental treatment or 'adjunctive therapy'. It gives people a way to express themselves while also assisting them in understand and eventually manage their emotions more effectively, tracking their development, progress etc. Even a tiny bit of progress can be a bud of hope for a person who is depressed and tracking progress makes a person realize that they can do it.
Journaling adds value to our lives since it reminds us of who we really are, makes us mindful and aware of what stresses us and what makes us happy. Understanding yourself on a deeper level makes you more productive and your life has more meaning. Tracking your habits and goals is a reminder of how far along you've come and for far you wish to go. In short a happy and healthy you is definitely a better version of you.
As a conclusion, journaling along with being a form of self expression is also a great hobby or simply something to relax to. On a bigger level documenting one's journey, with all the ups and downs, joys and sorrows and all the challenges adds to a collective human history. Writing history isn't just an instantaneous event, it is weaved over hundreds of years with strings of human journeys and emotions. No one person can write history, it's written collectively by people everywhere. You can simply be venting or doodling in your journal and be absolutely unaware of how you're making a tiny contribution in writing history.