Writing down thoughts, emotions, and challenges has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. When we commit these words to paper, we’re not just transferring our thoughts – we’re transforming them. Writing forces us to arrange our ideas into a sequence. By expressing our thoughts on a page, we start to make sense of how we feel as we convert these thoughts to words and sentences. Research shows that the effect of stress on our health is increased when challenges and feelings are not directly expressed. So, finding a way to get your feelings out cannot only help improve your mood but also your physical health.
Journal writing is different from keeping a diary. The difference lies in the purpose and technique. With a journal, the focus is inward, while with the diary the focus can be outward. A journal records reflective thoughts and ideas, while the diary is a list of everyday events and activities. In a diary you might mention that you went for a walk in the park. However, in your journal you could write about how it felt great to get out and stretch your legs when you when for a walk in the park after a long day in front of the computer and how you were surprised by how many people you noticed doing the same thing.
Journal writing seems like a simple activity, and yet there are many benefits. You definitely don’t have to be a great writer to do it but it will help improve your writing through the regular practice. All you need is a pen, notebook and an open mind. There is no wrong way to write an entry into a journal. They are your thoughts and ideas. Don’t worry about your spelling, grammar or even your handwriting as it is not necessary for anyone else to read it except you.