Journaling....it's one of my favorite things to do....writing is a great tool for me to express my creativity...Call me loony, but something about pen, paper, and a good cup of coffee or herbal tea helps me to wind down.
I've been journaling for 20 years now...I started when I was seven years old. My Aunt Karen gave me a journal so I could write about a really cool summer I had when we went to Georgia to visit my grandfather. She and my mom always loved traveling, and so these trips where we would meet up with her were special. From there, a love for writing was born...I'd always loved to read, and would even read the nutrition labels on my cereal ever since I had started studying health during my homeschool years. I have ALL of my old journals...and I've loved getting them as gifts for years.
I write rough drafts for books in them, I write recaps of my days, my dreams, and my goals in them, and I also write my prayers in them. During college, the occasional sporadic journal entry was a way to retain my sanity as a time that was extremely burdensome for me. It's artistic way to collect data; numbers such as dates, years, sets, and reps are only a part of the story. Journaling is something that transports me back in time, helps me plan for the future, and enjoy the present. Because every time of life has it's struggles and victories.
I recently got into health journaling along with my other journaling practice. I track my workouts, and food intake...I have had food addictions in the past, and in order to maintain balance, I journal so that I can step back and evaluate how I feel about my health journey, and how I'm breaking down and taking steps to reach my goals. This practice has helped my mental, spiritual, and physical health greatly, and this is why I think journaling can help you too.
1. Journaling can reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. Writing allows you to get rid of the mental junk you haven't processed yet, and help you evaluate how you can respond in a healthy way. Our bodies respond to stress, which involves the adrenal system. When your cortisol stays at peak levels, it places stress on the immune system as well. The American Psychological Association conducted a study that links journaling to healthier immunological responses.
2. You can express yourself in a way that is personal. We all need to be open and honest about struggles. I personally have a hard time telling even those closest to me what my deepest thought processes are. I've found that journaling allows me to be real, and sometimes I just want to organize my emotions by putting them on paper. King David did this in the Psalms. They flowed from the good and bad times in his life. Psalm 139 is an awesome example of this.
3. Journaling allows you to look back and see what you've accomplished. This is where a health journal comes in handy. I set very specific goals for the month, then break that down into smaller steps. I make notes at the bottom of my workout trackers about resources I need to plan for the next week, and this prevents me from getting stuck in a rut. And on those days where I feel like I'm far away from those goals, I can look back and see that yes, I am in fact making progress.
4. Journaling allows you to record and evaluate your priorities. Taking a step back can show us our strengths and can also show us areas that we need to work on. The next step is formulating a plan of action and then committing to follow it.
5. Journaling allows you to find and create your own artistic style. You don't have to write the next "War and Peace", but you can broaden your mind and find your own writing style. Even the most non-artistic can keep a very successful journal. Remember, this is YOUR place, not Tolstoy's. Enjoy the creative process. Let your hair down.
Those are my 5 reasons to journal. Have you ever kept a journal? Why or Why Not? Do you keep a health journal too?
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I'd love to hear from you!