The Best Book You’ll Ever Write. (It Boosts Your Immune System)
Studies have shown many benefits of journaling. Writing in your journal can strengthen your immune system, improve memory and IQ, relieve stress, increase mindfulness & self-confidence and improve the quality of your sleep.
2020 was something, wasn’t it?! I mean, that was one for the history books! Our whole way of life turned upside down almost overnight, what we once called ‘normal’ dissolved in front of our eyes and zoom calls became our primary means of contact.
With all the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought about it really has encouraged a lot of introspection, a sort of stock check of what’s important in life. Suddenly the health of our loved ones and selves became our one and only priority as we realised that really, it always was, we were just perhaps busy with being busy before.
Late last year, after some months of struggle with my own mental health for the reasons above, I made the decision to introduce some positive habits into my life.
I began reading more, I now meditate every day and I also keep a journal.
This isn’t a braggy post. I am normally awful at sticking to things that I know are good for me. But, these things have helped me so much that I want to share them with you.
Why would I journal?
According to research, specifically a study by James W. Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas, by setting aside just 15 minutes for 3 consecutive days for journaling or, expressive writing, you will experience a whole heap of incredible benefits such as a stronger immune system, improved quality of sleep, better mental health and even pain relief.
What can it help with?
In the times of uncertainty that we’re living in and lockdown measures carried out, we have increased our use of social media and rely more on the media industry for news updates and contact with the outside world. Although this primarily isn’t a bad thing, when we consume too much information our minds can become loud, over-worked and tired causing exhaustion and potentially leading to anxiety and depressive moods.
Journaling can help you get these thoughts out of your head and onto paper. The more you write, the more of this noisy information you are able to get out of your mind. Seeing those thoughts on paper helps you get to know yourself better, reduce stress, solve problems more effectively and even resolve issues.
And treating yourself to those 15 minutes of you-time does wonders for your self-esteem too.
Expressive writing gives us the opportunity to stand back and reevaluate issues in our lives.
Dr. James Pennebaker
How often should I do it?
As often as you feel is beneficial to you. Everyone is different. I spend around 10 minutes every day, my friend journals 3 times a week. Why not try 10 minutes a day to start, then adjust as it feels right!
What exactly should I write?
Whatever is in your head at that time. If it helps you to have a focus, how about having a different topic each week? Like, ‘Things I did that worked well today’ or ‘Things that made me happy today’.
When should I start?
Well, what are you up to right now? Let’s go!
For some more practical advice on the benefits of journaling, what to write or how to write it, visit James W Pennebaker’s website.