The art of journaling—often mistaken as 'diary writing'—offers benefits that are more far-reaching than anticipated. Besides gaining insight into your thoughts, moods, and actions, the practice allows you to acquire a deep understanding of yourself, your needs, and the quirks of your being, alongside paving the way for personal growth and development.
Urveez Kakalia, founder of 'ImPerfect' and a psychologist who consults on Practo, jots down the umpteen scientifically-backed benefits of journaling. And, if you're convinced enough to give the process a shot, scroll down to find a few artsy, out-of-the-box journals and planners you can purchase, that will be instrumental in making your emotional juice flow!
Be Present in the Moment
Most often, people tend to pen down experiences that have already passed. However, contrary to popular belief, journaling can help you be more alive in the present moment. "Journaling helps you deeply connect with your experiences. When one jots down the happenings in their life, they get an opportunity to process it—with greater clarity, and in retrospect—in the present moment," explains Urveez.
In journaling, an emotional release is experienced due to the expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, and consequent interpretations about the same. This, however, isn't limited to negative emotions alone. Urveez adds, "The expression of positive emotions can have a powerful effect on one's psyche as well. Plus, it allows a person to become more accepting and comfortable with their own emotions—especially since individuals are socialized to believe that expressing their emotions is a sign of weakness."
In fact, research indicates that listening to others’ journaled experiences fosters sympathy, empathy, and helps build closer bonds. This is because it allows one to step back and view the person as a human being, rather than defining them based on their behaviour, or any other prejudice.
A Reflective Stance Guiding Self-Awareness
"When one is able to move to a more reflective stance—from simply a descriptive stance while journaling—the writer gains insight, knowledge, and a greater degree of awareness about themselves," she adds. Further, journaling encourages them to view their experiences from a range of perspectives, and obtain a deeper, multi-faceted understanding of the matter. This enables one to make sense of their experiences, and opens the door to making meaning of these experiences as well (sense-making and meaning-making).
Therapeutic, Yet Not a Substitute to Therapy
According to Urveez, no single activity can serve as a substitute for psychotherapy. Yet, certain activities can possess and offer a therapeutic effect—and, journaling happens to be one such activity. "It pushes one to establish a non-judgemental atmosphere of observation, listening, acceptance, and patience, for oneself." Most people who journal daily have found that it has a positive impact on their routine.
A Realistic Reflection of One's Life
Human beings have a propensity to remember their lives and recall past experiences in a negative light. Journal entries allow one to go back and make a realistic evaluation of the lives that they have lived. One may come across a plethora of insight and valuable ideas, in their past journal entries. Additionally, it helps people validate, own, and accept their true, unique selves.
Overall Health and Well-Being
Research studies also lend evidence that journaling can help prompt favourable immune responses—decreasing the intensity of an illness, both mental and physical. "Journaling could make an important difference for people who are immune-compromised or for vaccines that don't stimulate the immune system as well. Journaling could also boost our immune system once we've been infected with a virus," informs Kira Newman for UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.
While journaling may not come naturally to some people, this in no way suggests that it cannot be fostered, over time. There is no one way to journal, people may choose to be flexible about it, and begin as and when they feel right. Besides, if you're feeling stuck, there are several prompts available online, that can help you get started. Journaling offers a way to process challenges, dampen down stress, and find solutions.
Starlight Wellness Journal by Dots & Doodles, Rs. 699
Available at - http://dotsanddoodles.in/
Wellness Journals by Dhruvi Doshi Designs, Rs. 1,500 each
Available at https://www.dhruvidoshidesigns.com
Personalised Swirl Thoughts Journal by Bari India, Rs. 540
Available at https://bariindia.com/