Journaling might as well be considered a forgotten art. Everyone’s either too busy to keep a journal or prefer to write about their day on social media. But did you know there are special health benefits to keeping tabs on what you did the whole day? Not just the benefit of reading past memoirs and having a laugh or two at some of the funniest thoughts you’ve had, but actual physiological benefits that can very well affect the way our body functions.
Don’t believe us? Here are some of the healthiest benefits journaling can do, especially when it comes to stress and immunity.
1. Writing can help boost your cognitive function
No doubt, writing means using words that aren’t exactly trendy with what social media is used to nowadays. Writing sentences which turn to paragraphs which then turn to essays (and sometimes novels!) all provoke that part of our brain that stretches our vocabulary.
Then, this also leads to better memory recall (because opening the dictionary all the time is tiresome), and better comprehension, especially when you’re interpreting whether your day meant something or whether it was a good or a bad day altogether.
2. Helps reduce stress
Journaling promotes mindfulness and can sometimes be a form of meditation. This is because when you journal, you’re focused on your own thoughts and the words you use to describe them, all the while making sure your hands write them the way you want them to come out.
You can say journaling is the exact opposite of social media in this regard: Social media wants you to put your attention on what other people do or say, while journaling wants you to be in your own bubble for an extended period of time.
This can reduce stress, as you’re forcing your mind to empty itself of distractions and just be mindful of what you want it to be mindful of.
3. Improves the body’s ability to heal itself
Because journaling can help reduce stress, this can lead to an improvement in the body’s ability to heal itself and even fight off common health issues.
Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. The body uses cortisol for several processes, but most especially when it's confronted by something that demands immediate action. The problem starts when the body’s cortisol levels are always high, as it can depreciate some of the body’s other functions and create an imbalance of hormone levels.
When you reduce stress, you’re reducing cortisol levels. When cortisol levels are kept to a manageable minimum, the body begins to focus on immunity, repair, and self-recovery.
4. Boosts self confidence
When you write about something you were proud of, you're asking your brain to relive that moment of glory. This makes you feel more accomplished and happier. This can then translate to a boost in confidence.
A boost in confidence can lead to a better hormonal environment, as stressors no longer affect you as they would have if your confidence was low.
5. Can make you better at connecting with other people
Journaling can increase your emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage and perceive your feelings, as well as that of others. It serves as a conduit for processing raw emotions and having self-awareness. This can then turn to empathy, allowing you to relate and connect with others at a much deeper level.
Having the ability to connect with others easily can improve your mental health by increasing the number of people you are comfortable with and not those whom you are always anxious about.
Journaling may seem like an old-fashioned hobby in a time of smartphones, selfies, and likes and comments, but the health and emotional benefits it has are timeless. You don’t have to write an entire essay to journal; so long as you keep a journal running regardless of how short your entries are, its effects are always cumulative.
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