Throughout history, written words have been a window to the past, to education and learning, and to our inner thoughts and ideas. Much of our entertainment begins as words on a page, then later to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster or an episode of the latest hit sitcom. Writing isn’t just for entertainment purposes, though; writing can be a great opportunity to get your own feelings, emotions, and thoughts out onto a page. This can be referred to as journaling, which has a long list of benefits regarding your mental health.
Throughout history, there have been many personal diaries or journals that have been published for the world to see that have included first-hand accounts and perspectives on some of the world’s most historic, yet tragic, moments. Possibly one of the most famous diaries every written and published, Anne Frank’s inspiring yet tragic account of her family’s experiences during the Holocaust gives us a look into her personal experiences and emotions during this time.
Although this tragic story may be difficult to read, Anne used her personal diary to process and express her feelings, emotions and experiences through her own written words, and to record what was happening in that moment in history.
There are actually several different types of journals you can keep. From travel journals, dream journals, gratitude journals, prayer journals, and more, we keep specific journals for different aspects of our life. Many keep personal journals, like Anne Frank, where they record the day’s events, their observations, and how it made them feel and think. The beauty of journaling, and writing in general, is that you can make it your own without rules or limitations to follow.
Writing in a journal can help you to keep your experiences and thoughts organized, as well as any emotions that you have been feeling. By writing down your thoughts and feelings on paper, this can help you to understand your emotions and what could possibly be causing you stress in your life. This opportunity to express yourself can help manage stress, reduce anxiety, and cope with depression. It also provides an opportunity to talk positively about yourself and for you to identify ways in which you are not treating yourself in a positive manner, like with negative thoughts or behaviors.
Journaling can also help you recognize any aspirations or ambitions and to set and achieve those goals, with a space to monitor your progress and garner motivation to keep moving forward. It also provides opportunities for you to record any ideas that you may have in one place where you can later reflect to look for links between ideas, form conclusions or even get a new, fresh idea! Keeping up with a journal can also unleash your creative side, help with your writing skills, and most importantly, boost your memory. Studies show that your brain is more likely to store information if you have written that information down. By journaling the day’s events, or experiences, your brain will make stronger connections with the information that you have written down and it will ultimately be easier to recall in the future!
Any kind of journal that you set off to start, whether its main perspective is gratitude, personal, spiritual or travel, allows you to self-reflect on life’s special moments. Whether it is a revelation that you have come about after reading some scripture, a state park that you finally got to explore, or just a really good day, journaling gives us the opportunity to take a good step back and reflect on ourselves, our experiences, our spirituality, and our lives. This winter, open your mind to journaling and trying something new. You never know what you will uncover!