Inspired by a high school mentor, I have been writing in a journal since I was
fifteen. Back then, it was a way for me to unleash the thoughts and emotions that I traditionally held inside until they would explode onto an unexpecting victim. Writing things on paper has been a therapeutic way to relieve my mind from unproductive rumination and has continued to evolve. It serves as a means to help discover and track patterns in my thinking, provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and for identifying negative thoughts and behaviors. Journaling also helps me prioritize tasks and set goals and outcomes.
Journaling has the power rewire our brain for positivity. In Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage he recommends keeping a gratitude journal: Concentrate on meaningful experiences and write down as many positive details as you can remember. Research has proven that keeping a journal for six weeks can create new positive neural tracts, decrease stress and even reduce the need for medication. Gratitude journals help retrain our brains to scan for the positive, not the negative. Research also shows that journaling can strengthen our immune system and psychological health.
As a fairly new instructor at Kaiser Permanente teaching their 10 week Healthy Weight class, I have recently discovered an additional benefit to journaling: keeping a food journal can double a person's weight loss. Researchers have found that it's the process of reflecting on what we eat that helps us become aware of our habits, and hopefully change our behavior. Food journals increase our awareness of what, how much, and why we are eating. They can also reveal triggers to avoid, such as not eating enough throughout the day then overeating at night or eating due to emotions rather than physical hunger.
If you are seeking a way to uplift your mood, set goals or to facilitate weight loss, journaling is a powerful tool that is accessible anywhere, anytime. Forget spelling and punctuation and look at your writing time as personal relaxation time, a time when you de-stress and wind down. Whether on paper on on your computer, write in a place that's relaxing and soothing—maybe with a lit candle and a cup of tea. Look forward to journaling, and know that you are doing something good for your mind and body.
Hello and welcome! My name is Andrea Notch Mayzeles. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mom, and Master of Public Health dedicated to the path of well-being. As a wellness professional I am committed to continued learning and am here to share research, recipes and musings on health, psychology, personal development, and parenting. I hope you enjoy!