July 30, 2020
You may be familiar with the positive effects of journaling: it calms and clears the mind, enhances creative thinking and problem solving, and it creates a written record of your experiences, feelings, and ideas, which can be useful today and priceless in the future.
But journaling can actually improve your quality of life on a much deeper level.
Studies suggest that journaling can enhance all three key aspects of your life: physical, mental, and emotional health.
When these three ingredients are cared for and in alignment, human beings thrive.
Believe it or not, the simple act of journaling can strengthen your immune system and decrease your risk of illness. Studies show that even infrequent expressive writing (a form of journaling) was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver function.
Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and improves the length and quality of sleep, leading to long-term improvements in your physical, mental, and emotional health.
You might be thinking: How is it possible that journaling can do all of this?
To appreciate the physical benefits of journaling, we need to understand how chronic stress affects the body.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
When you encounter a perceived threat – such as a large dog barking at you during your morning walk – your hypothalamus, a small area of the brain which maintains your body’s internal balance (called homeostasis), sets off an alarm system in your body.
The alarm system then tells your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, particularly adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts your energy supply. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, and halts functions that are nonessential in a fight-or-flight situation.
When a perceived threat has passed, your hormone levels return to normal, and you exit fight-or-flight mode. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and your body returns to homeostasis.
But when stressors are always present and you always feel under attack, your fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.
If left on, the stress-response system can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of health problems including:
Back to the question at hand: The reason journaling can improve physical health is because journaling is an amazing way to reduce stress.
Journaling helps you let go of negative thoughts, come to terms with stressors, and work towards finding solutions to your problems. This can break the cycle of constantly feeling under attack, and reduce the impact of chronic stress on your physical health.
If you neglect your body, it will slowly deteriorate. The same is true for your mind.
Many years of scientific research has identified journaling as a powerful practice that can help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Numerous studies discuss journaling’s effect on mental health:
It’s clear that setting aside a few minutes a day to journal can go a long way to improve your mental health.
Journaling can help you maintain a positive outlook on life, allow you to confront and overcome negative thoughts and emotions, and alleviate symptoms of poor mental health.
If you’re looking for a simple and convenient way to improve mental health, journaling can make a big difference. The benefits of journaling are substantial and, importantly, journaling is highly accessible for everyone.
First, it might be helpful to highlight the difference between mental and emotional health.
Mental health can be defined as how well you process information and experiences, while emotional health pertains to how well you manage and express your emotions. You can struggle with your mental health while being emotionally healthy or vice versa.
Important note – having good emotional health doesn’t mean that you’re always happy or that you don’t feel stress. Emotional health is about having the skills and resources to manage the ups and downs of daily life.
Characteristics of an emotionally healthy person:
What does poor emotional health look like?
How can journaling improve your emotional health?
If you feel like your thoughts and emotions are getting the best of you, consider starting a regular journaling practice. Journaling is a great way to develop your emotional health, and Wellnest has engaging guided question packs to help you build your emotional health skills.
Wellnest is designed to help you maximize the benefits of journaling.
The Wellnest app leverages gamification to help you build an enjoyable and effective journaling routine, and offers engaging guided question packs that prompt you to reflect, develop, and explore your mind.
Best of all, Wellnest enables a seamless voice journaling experience, so your thoughts can flow freely in a fraction of the time.