Riley’s Rainforest: Joys of Journaling
Do you ever talk to yourself? A journal is a great way to do just that. It can help you sort through ideas, record memories, and express feelings.
Journaling can even improve your health. In one study, a group of students wrote about an upsetting event, while others wrote about something that wasn’t emotional. Four months later, those who wrote about their deepest feelings had fewer sick days and visits to the doctor.
How does writing help? Some researchers believe that reflecting on feelings of pain or sadness can reduce stress. Lowering stress can lead to a stronger immune system and better sleep, which is when the body can heal and restore itself.
How you write is also important. The key is to go beyond just expressing feelings. Rather than just writing, “I was angry,” describe why you felt angry. What did you learn from the experience and how will you handle the problem in a positive way? That can help you resolve conflicts and plan future actions, like talking to a friend about what happened.
A notebook is a good place to share feelings that might be hard to talk about in person. But you don’t have to write only about problems. You can also record your goals, dreams, and awesome experiences. Be sure to date your entries—it can be fun to look back later on. Give it a try. You might find that writing is right for you.
Explore & Soar: Express Yourself
There are lots of fun ways to explore journaling. Try experimenting with these specific types:
Dreams: Write about your dreams when you first wake up in the morning.
Drawings: Use pictures to express your thoughts or record memories.
Faith: Keep track of your favorite prayers and writings, and questions you have for God.
Gratitude: Jot down three things you’re thankful for each day.
Nature: Go outside, connect with nature, and write about it.
Travel: Keep a notebook to record your adventures in new places.
Vision: Write about your goals, wishes, and dreams for the future.
Did you know? Anne Frank, a Jewish girl living in the Netherlands during World War II, kept a journal for two years while her family hid from the Nazis. Her diary was later published in 67 languages! Anne observed, “When I write I can shake off all my cares.”
For a printable version, download a PDF of this article.Communication110 Characters307 Riley68 Health59 Emotions29 Writing38 Journal14 Happiness62 Riley’s Rainforest49