When I was in the trenches, I mean really in the deep pit of darkness and sorrow, I would journal.
Some days I would fill page upon page and other days barely a mark.
Journaling kept me sane. It was a place where I fiercely scribbled my frustrations, cautiously admitted my fears, settled my worries, bared my soul in multi-coloured ink, worked through dark days and delicately described the hole I was in but crawling out of.
I could safely open up about all my troubles, the abuse I'd suffered, the trauma that was still be be healed and from this place I was able to identify where I needed help.
I found ways to resolve my inner conflict and self-loathing, shame, guilt and worries myself. I started to discover my true authentic self in those pages that eventually led me get the professional help I needed.
By keeping my journal I managed to conjure up days of sunshine, abundance, bluer skies, happier visions.
I could describe in glorious detail the future I hoped for. Create a life to be proud of, use my writing to lose myself in the world I truly believed in my soul I deserved. I guest it was a little bit fantasy and a lot desire. Page by page I realised that what I was visioning was actually possible.
And each time I sat with my journal something in me shifted. I felt lighter. My energy shifted.
Of course I can tell you that journaling was therapeutic and a healing exercise but there's also a lot of research behind why journalling is good for, but what exactly is journaling?
Journaling comes in many forms from structured to unstructured writing; daily to weekly practice; guided prompts to free flowing writing; journals for exercise, food, mood & emotions, gratitude, prayer, pregnancy, dream; bullet or picture journals.
You can video journal, keep a an electronic journal on your phone or physically write your journal in a notepad or beautiful bound book.
You can journal using a set of the same questions daily or free flow your thoughts, journal for 5 minutes or as long as you want, skip a day, practice daily, write a few lines or cover pages.
The choices are endless.
But why do so many people advocate for keeping a journal?
Research suggests that journaling improves your cognitive functioning, strengthens your immune system response and counteracts negative effects of stress particularly with gratitude journaling.
Journaling can be a great way to work through tough problems and challenges and find a solution, capture your feelings and emotions about an event or situation so you can self-evaluate and understand yourself better or to focus on your vision and goals for your future best life.
Like anything that is good for you and to reap the suggested benefits for your personal, emotional and professional life journaling needs to become a regular habit.
Ways for you to make journaling a successful and regular habit:
Positive Psychology research has found that the benefits of gratitude and practicing gratitude is a powerful tool for increasing well-being in all sorts of settings. You also release the feel good endorphins.
Research has identified several positive outcomes from practicing gratitude, such as reduced levels of stress, decreased levels of anxiety and depression, generally feeling more happy, positive with increased overall well-being. So a good thing to include in your daily journaling practice.
Remember journaling is an incredible way to support your post traumatic growth. A place where you can self-evaluate and reflect upon what is going well and where you need to focus. And it's a fantastic way to review how far you have come at the end of the year by reviewing your journals from the start of the year.
Journaling helped me to find my way through my darker days, lifted my spirits and gave me a place to daydream and visualise a better future.
Have fun journaling and do let me know how journaling helps you.