There are so many positive benefits to journal writing, I thought I'd put together some of the fantastic ways it can help us bust through our fears.
JOURNALING KEEPS US PRESENT
So often we allow our mind to wander and miss out on what is right there in front of us. How often did you pay half an ear to your kids when they were talking to you?
When we journal, it brings us into a state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their grip in the present moment because our mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time. It calls our wandering mind to attention, from having our thoughts run our emotions and reactions, to actively engaging with our thoughts as each one passes by. Journaling is a beautiful way to engage with our fears and ask, “Is that thought true? Is that thought helpful? Is that thought kind?”
JOURNALING INCREASES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Psychology Today says, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills — 1) emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others; 2) The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving; 3) The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”
Journaling is an outlet for processing emotions and increasing self-awareness. This internal familiarity becomes a pathway to empathy. Journaling helps us become more intuitive and understanding of what others are experiencing.
JOURNALING HELPS US ACHIEVE OUR GOALS
When we journal, we often write about our dreams and ambitions. When we journal and begin to see patterns in our desires, they become goals. Writing our goals down signals to our brain “this is important.” This is our reticular activating system (RAS) at work. It acts as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. For example, the instruction might be, "listen for anyone saying my name," then flags relevant opportunities and tools to achieve that goal.
When you write your goals in detail it provides a psychological blueprint and increases the likelihood of achieving them because your brain begins to notice the things that can help us get there.
JOURNALING HELPS US HEAL
Journal writing is a route to healing — emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal, cited improved immune function in study participants who did regular writing exercises. Stress often comes from emotional blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals. He says, when we translate an experience into language we make the experience more understandable. In doing so, we free ourselves from being mentally caught up in our traumas.
JOURNALING HELPS US MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
The act of writing helps us concentrate, recognize, and organize our thoughts and feelings so that decision-making becomes easier because we are considering more possibilities for positive and negative. In turn, we can be happier with our decisions.
Journaling also helps us problem-solve and prioritize our decisions because they are in alignment with our desires, values, and goals for the future.
JOURNALING IMPROVES SELF-DISCIPLINE
Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. Each act of discipline creates more discipline. Like a muscle, the more we exercise discipline, the stronger it becomes. Habits formed in one area of our life tend to spread. For example, keeping my kitchen countertop tidy leads to keeping my desk tidy. Our daily journal writing practice could domino onto other healthy habits like being more mindful of what we eat, or ensuring we take time for self-care every day because we begin to value ourselves more and take note of the benefits we feel when we do.
TAKE NOTE MY FRIENDS, JOURNALING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL!
Being so focused on Fear has helped me to see her differently. I'm seeing that Fear isn't something to be avoided, but rather, to hear in a completely different way. Fear is like the canary that coal miners of yesteryear took down with them into the mineshaft to know if the air was safe to breathe.
Now I feel Fear sings to tell me to embrace the unknown. When she starts singing, I know I've hit on an untapped vein of riches. She is calling to me to take a deep breath, explore, and dare greatly.
kathy mercure is a storyhealer, writer, and a storylistener. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)