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Friday, February 16, 2024

How journaling can improve your well being

Maha Kamil talks about the importance of writing journals and what benefits it provides us for our mental well being. She further highlights how it can contribute to reducing stress and anxiety especially during the times of a global pandemic.

People had been keeping diaries for centuries before critics thought to put them under microscopes. Did you know that famous visionaries such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Mark Twain kept journals to record their musings and experiences? It hardly sounds surprising to me; After all, one must attain the most clarity of mind and thought before making such groundbreaking discoveries.

Some people use a diary as a planner to keep themselves organized and on track for accomplishing daily goals while others use it as an outlet to document and monitor their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Read more: Corona stress: This is how you can improve your mental health

Recent studies have uncovered the many health benefits of journaling. According to the article, “Five Powerful Health Benefits Of Journaling”, expressive writing can improve one’s immune system. Another study revealed that people who kept a journal had better liver and lung functions; They also experienced lessened symptoms of Asthma & Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Some uncovered discoveries 

Another remarkably interesting study uncovered that writing for only 15 to 20 minutes a day three to four times over a four-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver functionality. Among its other benefits, journaling also sharpens one’s memory, thus stretching one’s cognitive capabilities.

In addition, many people have turned to journals as a tool to alleviate their anxiety amidst this pandemic. In my personal journaling journey so far, writing has helped me in clearly identifying my emotions and processing them. It has provided me with a means to reflect upon my experiences and has enabled me to devise strategies to put any negative thoughts behind me.

Read more: How does diet affect your mental health?

In other words, it is a cheap and effective method to nip anxiety in the bud. Think of it as a brain-drain exercise, where you essentially transfer the plethora of information stored internally onto a piece of paper. Moreover, it is an excellent way to cultivate and elevate mindfulness, which in turn helps in forging a mentally and emotionally stable, healthier life.

If journaling is so fulfilling for our souls and bodies, then what’s holding us back? Many of us have a few spare notebooks lying around in our houses. Now is the best time to crack one open and put pen to paper. A lot of people I know have never tried journaling. Some think it’s simply not their cup of tea and some have just thrown in the towel on the idea of journaling, as they believe they cannot commit to a journaling routine.

How does a journal help us? 

Many don’t explore it for the mere reason that they do not know what to write in it. A word of advice: Sit down with a pen and paper and just let your words paint the pictures; You wouldn’t know what you want to write about until you actually start writing.

In my opinion, journaling can help each one of us in different ways. If you feel pressured about putting aside time for writing every day, you can create your own journaling routine. I only write in my journal twice a week, usually on the weekends, before going to bed. So, be your own boss and make your own schedule for journaling.

Read more: Why mental health is an ignored phenomenon in Pakistan

Techies can take heart in the fact that using electronic gadgets to document their thoughts is just as effective as the traditional way of journaling. So, do whatever floats your boat. The key is to instill ideas and find ultimate joy through the process.

Another point worth noting is that there are different types of journals available in the market, so you can pick and choose a theme that resonates the most with you. For instance, if your goal is to practice more gratitude in your life, you can invest in a journal with reflective prompts to help you contemplate and write about the blessings in your life. A popular one in this domain is “Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal”. On the other hand, if you are suffering from anxiety, you may want to try “The Mindfulness Journal For Anxiety” by Tanya J. Peterson.

The author currently works at RBC Wealth Management. She is registered as Career Mentor at Ottawa Community Immigrant services. She can be reached at mahakamil12@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.