“Journal Writing is a journey to the interior” Christina Baldwin
Why do we journal??
Study upon study has been done on the benefits of journaling. The statistics weigh out what I’ve always said…journaling helps you get the negative shit out of your body so you can look at it.
Among the benefits are some of my favorite reasons for keeping a journal:
- Reduces negative thinking
- Helps you figure out next steps
- Deepens self-discovery
- Track your progress and growth
- Promotes physical and emotional healing
- Improves your sense of gratitude
- Helps you find your voice
- improves mindfulness
- Gives a deeper understanding of stress and helps you to find the “gift in the disaster”
- You disclose and process your emotions rather than stuffing them down
- Forces you to organize your experiences into sequence and see cause and effect,
Having kept a journal for 25 years, it’s sometimes hard to remember why I began…
But it started when I was in therapy in my 30’s. Having spent a few months exploring my interior world with my therapist, Craydon, I suddenly found myself and my reasons for my behavior rather interesting. I decided, rather naively, that I was “cured” of whatever ailed me enough to begin therapy in the first place. So I happily sailed out the door of Craydon’s office and bought my first journal.
At least that’s how I picture it; my memory is rather spotty sometimes and the original journal recording the event has long since been burned (more on that later).
I DO remember, however, the exact moment that I began my first journal. I remember where I was sitting, because I had chosen the actual location; North campus, NAU, Flagstaff, Arizona. I was 33, I had 3 kids and a husband of 13 years…and I was often lost…
- Lost in my role as mom and wife
- Lost as a daughter
- Lost as a woman…
But journaling saved me and has been my companion all these years later…now that the kids are grown, the husband then has been switched out for an improved model now…and I have grown.
My journal has been there through my two former marriages and divorces, my moves, my heartbreaks, my triumphs, every single one of my failures and every single lesson…
It’s helped me to make sense of my emotions and the events swirling around me. It’s given me a place to rage and write words that I could never, in a thousand years, actually speak. And…it has helped me to find the strength and courage to finally speak my truth out loud to others.
I’ve railed, I’ve negotiated with God, I’ve healed parts of myself that needed love…and oh my lord…the language some days.
I’ve told my story from my perspective and I’ve figured out other people’s stories.
In short…my journal has helped me stay sane when shit around me got crazy and helped me FIND sanity…when I was the one who was crazy.
As you can see, there are any number of reasons to begin your journal practice! I can absolutely vouch for it as a mental health tool and numerous studies have shown it’s benefits.
In our next installment, I’ll share some tips for getting started with your journal practice!