Healthy Living

Learn to journal for your health

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People who journal on a consistent basis experience many health benefits. Journaling fosters increased clarity, improved self-awareness and often offers a new perspective about events happening in one’s life.

Science supports the fact that journaling can help you become healthier and happier.

Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Journaling is a highly recommended stress-management tool, as excessive and prolonged stress is detrimental to one’s physical, mental and emotional health. Studies show that the emotional release experienced from journaling lowers anxiety, decreases stress and promotes better sleep.

Strengthens memory

Research from the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that writing one’s thoughts in a journal often reduces intrusive thoughts and improves working memory and comprehension.

Healing Powers

Stress often comes from emotional blockages, worrying and overthinking. Studies have found that journaling can actually strengthen immune cells. Dr. James Pennebaker, author of “Writing to Heal” has seen improved immune function in participants who engaged in writing exercises.

Expressive writing has been shown to improve liver and lung function and combat certain diseases and has even been reported to help wounds heal faster.

Increased Productivity And Learning

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, participants who journaled at the end of the day had a 25 percent increase in performance when compared with a control group who did not journal. Researchers concluded, “Our results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning ...”

Here are some ideas to get you started journaling:

• Gratitude journal. Write down what you are grateful for at the beginning or end of the day to increase gratitude and happiness.

• Productivity journal. Take time at night or in the morning to write down the things you’d like to accomplish during the day, month, quarter, year.

• Reflection journal. Write down what you accomplished or learned during the day. Journal how you responded (or how you wish you would have responded) to the day’s events.

• Prayer journal. Keep a journal for special prayers and intentions for yourself and others.

• Worry journal. Write down everything you are worrying about and then identify if these things are within your control.

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• Food journal. Track everything you eat during the day. Include how you felt before and after eating.

• Exercise journal. Keep motivated by tracking exercise sessions. How did you feel before you exercised? How did you feel after exercising?

• Journal to remember. As history is being made, journal your thoughts about COVID-19 and the current civil unrest. Not only will journaling be advantageous for your health, it also will serve as a way for you to reflect and integrate the events and insights you have gained during this time.

Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: kylie@thewellwoman.org

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