We know what you’re thinking. “Oh, great. Now, in addition to eating healthy, I also have to keep a journal!” Does this sound like something you’d say? If so, we get it!
Taking time out of your busy day to keep a journal seems less than ideal, but the benefits include reducing negative and repetitive thoughts to unlock your best self.
Let us explain the benefits of journaling and how to use motivational tools and positive talk to stop self-sabotaging your health.
What is Journaling?
Journaling refers to writing down or recording your thoughts, feelings, and daily activities in a book or journal.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated – you can write as much or as little as you would like – and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
There are so many incredible benefits of journaling, and best of all – it’s free! All you need is paper and a pen.
You can practice journaling anywhere – in your car (when you aren’t driving, of course, at your work desk, or at home.
Health Benefits of Journaling
Do you ever catch yourself thinking negatively or having repetitive thoughts throughout the day? Chances are, you probably have these thoughts – even if you don’t realize it.
In fact, research from Deepak Chopra, M.D. found that the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day – 95 percent of these thoughts are repetitive, meaning that we think the same (often negative) thoughts over and over.
The good news is that journaling has mental and physical health benefits. For example, did you know that people who keep a journal lose twice as much weight as those who did not? It’s true!
According to one study, positive affect journaling (PAJ) was associated with improvements in mental distress and well-being. It was also linked to reductions in anxiety and depression after one month.
Another study found that expressive writing leads to long-term improvements in health and lowers stress levels.
So, what does this research mean?
Well, have you ever noticed how your mood and thoughts influence your actions and physical health?
Negative thoughts lead to increased cortisol levels, which negatively impacts our waistline, insulin levels, ability to sleep, and inflammation levels – preventing you from feeling your best mentally AND physically.
Journaling helps improve your mood and control your symptoms by helping you prioritize your fears, concerns, and problems.
It also provides a safe and personal space for you to identify negative thoughts, practice positive self-talk, and reduce cortisol levels. Never underestimate the power of having an outlet for your thoughts!
How To Use Journaling To Improve Your Health
When you write down your thoughts and feelings throughout the day, it makes it easier to identify negative, repetitive, and self-sabotaging thoughts.
For example, do you feel completely stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and overwhelmed by all of your daily tasks? If so, write that down – and below that, write down one to three solutions.
You might not have time to write in your journal numerous times per day, but try to write your thoughts down at least once per day. Include what you did that day, what you ate and drank, and how you felt.
At the end of the week, look over your journal and try to identify negative patterns. Did you feel overly stressed on days when you didn’t stand up for yourself or took on too much? If so, that’s your cue to make changes.
Positive Affirmations To Use When Journaling
How often do you speak nicely to yourself during the day? Probably never, right? For most women, we are our own worst critics. We see ourselves in such a poor light, always thinking about what else we could do and never being happy with ourselves where we are at.
Journaling is a great time to practice using positive affirmations and speaking to yourself in a positive light. Instead of feeling down on yourself because you didn’t meet a goal, use this time to reassure yourself that it will happen.
Here are some things you can practice writing down in your journal:
- I have forgiven the mistakes I made in the past and those who have hurt me. I no longer allow them to control my thoughts or actions.
- I am better today than I was yesterday, and I will be better tomorrow than I was today.
- I did my best today and I will do my best again tomorrow.
- I love my body because it’s healthy and capable.
- I am in control of my own happiness, and today – I choose to be happy and spread kindness.
- I am patient, loved, loving, and sincere. Those who come in contact with me find me caring, honest, and trustworthy.
Journaling has proven health benefits – both mentally and physically. It provides an opportunity to identify negative self talk and practice positive talk.
Be sure to write in your journal every day. In addition to writing down your thoughts and feelings, practice writing positive affirmations that can help boost your self-love and happiness.
Journaling is also a great way to reduce stress and help you feel in control again. Try writing at night before bed to get all your thoughts out on paper to help you sleep better!