Weekly Wellness: New Year, New Habit of Journaling?
COLUMBIA- A fresh new year. A clean slate. An opportunity to create (and start) new habits. One habit that has been found to help people with our emotional and mental state is journaling. There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, acting as a stress management tool, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
When you begin journaling you may begin to experience these benefits:
- Clarification of your thoughts and feelings
- Know yourself better
- Reduce stress
- Solve problems more effectively
- Resolve disagreements with others
If journaling is something you have considered before and think it might be something you want to try again, here are some tips to getting started:
1. Make it a regular habit. Creating a routine with journal will provide you with checkpoints of your day. Whether you choose to start your day or end your day (or both!) with journaling, the routine will allow your journaling to be successful.
2. Keep your journal handy. If you keep your journal with you, there’s no reason not to keep your routine going and stick to it.
3. Use your journal in moments of need. Journaling is a great resource to help you work through arguments, decisions, creative pursuits, as well as, working through emotions and symptoms related to a health experience.
4. Make your journal a judgment-free zone. It is important to allow your journaling to be free of judgment. No censoring. When we censor ourselves, we significantly limit the impact that our journaling can have in our lives.