A journal is a place to write down your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences. A place to write down your story. A place to journal about your dreams and your plans. A place to express your appreciation and gratitude for the goodness in your life. A place to reflect. A place to savor the good. A place to notice the progress that you are making.
Research has shown that labeling your feelings and emotions through journal writing is healing, it's therapeutic and cathartic. There is something healing about getting those words down on paper and out of your head, so that your brain can stop ruminating about them. Telling the story that we record in our head.
In one study researchers established two groups. They asked the first group of individuals to talk about a negative experience. They asked the second group to write about a negative experience. The difference in the results between each group were significant. Journaling about a negative issue or thoughts versus just talking about it was proven to provide an increase in self-esteem and happiness.
The process of writing about an experience helps to put a story line to what you’re feeling. When the thoughts roll around in our head they just keep surfacing, being ignored, pushed back down, resurfacing, etc. over and over again. The act of labeling your thoughts, feelings and emotions has been proven to help diffuse their negative effect.
I've talked a lot about the benefits of having a gratitude practice. Keeping a journal of positive life experiences, things you are grateful for, has been shown to provide a large psychological benefit.
Researchers from Brigham Young and several other universities divided more than 100 people into groups, and asked everyone to keep a daily journal for four weeks. One group was instructed to write about positive experiences for which they were grateful, while another group was told to write generally about their day. Compared to people who wrote more generally, the grateful journal writers experienced significant boosts in happiness and life satisfaction. Writing in a journal helps us to savor the goodness, the positive experiences in life. This savoring enhances their impact.
Don't worry about it being perfect. Don't worry about your grammar, or your sentence structure, just go ahead and write. This is about you and it's for you only. It doesn't have to be special it just needs to capture what's on your mind, both the challenging life experiences and the positive life experiences. Journaling is another tool to add to the happiness toolkit.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Do you currently journal? What do you think about the idea of journaling bringing more happiness, self-esteem and life satisfaction? Drop me a comment or send me an email.