Friday, April 12, 2024

A Journal Can Save Your Life.

June 3, 2020 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( “You are crazy if you talk to yourself.

Heard this before?  Offended? I hope not.  According to a study by Gary Lupan and Daniel Swingley, talking to yourself actually makes you smarter.  When you choose to do the same on paper,  it is helping even more.  Keeping a journal is not just something you did as a teenager to get through living under your parents’ roof.  It is something you can do as an adult to help you deal with that annoying coworker,  to help not harm your significant other, or to help remember your own awesomeness. Journaling has several benefits, but here are two very important ones.

  • Journaling helps with mental health.

Exercise helps the body.  Diets help your internal organs.  However, what do you do for your mental state?  One answer you could have to that question is journaling.  According to the University of Rochester Medical Health Dictionary,  journaling has several mental benefits:

Journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression.”

Sometimes, we need a place to release our thoughts.  Taking your words to paper can help you manage your ideas.  It can help you recognize when you are reacting certain ways and how you know when to stop it. Diane Hopkins, book coach and editor, uses it to notice issues and trends:  “I’ve noticed that I’m naturally more reflective at the end of the day because I’ve had time to see what issues come up.  And that way I can enjoy my evening and go to bed feeling peaceful having written out my thoughts and feelings of the day.” 

  • It also helps with confrontation.

One of the most difficult parts of life is when we have to deal with conflict.  Since we do not live in a utopia where everyone is the same, confrontation is going to happen.  However, journaling can help.  Writing in a journal can help you process what you want to say and how you want to say it.  It can even help you understand the other person’s point of view.  Then, when it is time to confront the situation, you are more level headed and willing to listen. I know this from personal experience. A text message conversation turned into an argument with one of my friends.  My blood pressure started to rise. My face felt hot and red.  I was ready to be done with this person.  I stopped texting them and went to my journal.  I wrote down how I felt and realized that the argument was actually my fault.  I gave myself 24 hours to figure out what I wanted to say. Afterward, I called the friend the next day to explain what I actually meant.  We discussed it and apologized to each other for our parts in the misunderstanding. At that moment, journaling saved an actual relationship.

There is no one way to journal. Some do bullet points. Some write with no periods. Some turn their writings into stories.  There is no one way to write your thoughts down because…wait for it…the words are your thoughts.  Here are some suggestions to help you start:

  • Write about your daily activities.
  • Write when you feel your mood shift…for good or bad.
  • Write to someone you trust. You can choose whether or not they get to see it.
  • Write about a past event that has caused you some type of pain.

There are many websites that offer suggestions on how to write and when to write. Do the research to find what works.  You may have to try different styles to see what fits you; some write on paper while others have a journal in their electronic devices. You will be amazed at how writing to yourself can not only make you smarter, but it can also save your life.

Staff Writer; J. W. Bella

May also follow this talented sister online over at; JWB Writes.

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