I have kept a journal for many years. I received my first diary as a child and remember being very excited because it had a lock on it! As a teenager and adult I have written on scraps of paper, in regular notebooks, leather-bound journals, and on my computer. I have had periods of my life in which I have written everyday and others in which I may not write for weeks or months at a time. But no matter how much time had gone by, whenever I would return to the page it was always the same. I could jump right back in and pick-up from where I left off. A sense of ease had been developed because the page had become my safe space. It was the place where I could express my honest, unfiltered thoughts and feelings without a fear of being judged. The page did not care what was written on it, it only cared that it is written on.
I have learned through my own personal experience, the stories of others, and through workshop training that writing has the power to heal.
It is important for each of us have a safe space. A space where we can be wholly ourselves, and feel that our thoughts, opinions, and feelings are valid and validated. A place where we can feel that who we are is enough. Journal writing has the power to create this safe space. There are several specific ways that writing can benefit us and I will share just a few of them with you today.
Benefits of Journal Writing
- Writing can help you clear-out mental clutter. When our lives become overwhelmed it can be easy for our brains to become cluttered with all of the “stuff” we have to do. Journal writing can help us sort through and make sense of all of this clutter.
- Writing can help us make decisions. If we have been met with a need to make a decision, we can use journal writing to help us figure things out. It is often helpful to seek the advice of others when faced with important decisions. Sometimes, however, we can become overwhelmed with the variety of opinions we receive. Writing can help us sort through this feedback and identify the best decision to make.
- Writing can help us get to know ourselves better. Everyday we are bombarded with ideas of who the world says we are. Whether it’s from TV shows or commercials, our bosses, co-workers, peers, friends, or families; everybody has an opinion. We can become overwhelmed by this and lose track of who we are. Writing can help us filter through all of the noise and reconnect with ourselves.
- Writing can help us improve our communication with others. If you read last week’s post, you learned about an exercise that can help you improve your communication with others. One of the reasons I believe the exercise is so effective is because it gives you permission to do some unfiltered, “nobody will ever read this so I can say what I want to,” processing first. This clears the way for you to be able to identify your wants and needs so that you can more effectively communicate them to others.
These are just a handful of the benefits that regular journal writing can provide. If you have not already tried journal writing, I encourage you to do so. Pick-up your pen or pencil; open-up your laptop and just write. No spell or grammar check is allowed and neat handwriting is not required. Just write!
If you have already experienced the benefits of journal writing, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.