Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Family Writes Part 2: The Benefits of Journaling

In the last post, I talked about the benefits of a family narrative and knowing ancestral stories. Today, I'd like to list a few of the benefits from writing your personal narrative in a journal.
Writing in a journal can help you:
Journaling is very cathartic. Therapists are wonderful for letting you talk out your problems, but journals can have the similar benefits and save you the $50 copay. Writing allows you to release your stresses, burdens and frustrations through your pen and on to the paper so, you don't need to carry them around in your head.

Writing requires you to organize thoughts and articulate them. I believe that it is through writing that one becomes not only a better writer, but a greater thinker.

Increase Objectivity
There have been times when I have been venting and realized how whiny and one-side my words came across on the page. I've stepped away and from myself and tried to see things more rationally and balanced, and then I am able to come up with the other side of the story.

Increase Happiness
Research has shown that people who keep a gratitude journal are happier. They get better at seeing the good that was already in their lives and good things seem to multiply as a result. Even if it's not a separate journal for documenting blessings, writing about positive experiences will make you feel great!

Increase Awareness
There are times in my day that I will pay special attention to something that is happening so that I can tell my husband about it that evening. I will remember a news story or conversation in greater detail if I know I'm going to share it later, even if it's with a blank book. Writing in a journal, means living life with a greater awareness.

Record History
There are events in my life that I had totally forgotten had taken place until paging through old journals. Details of a time and place that would have otherwise been lost have rushed back to me.  Besides, when there are discrepancies with friends or family members how something happened, the person with the journal entry holds the key to what really happened.

Track Growth   
In reading entries and documented conversations I had in high school, I can see how much I've matured. This gives me more patience with my own teenagers.

Track Miracles
Sometimes it's the seemingly insignificant decisions and events that lead to major life changes. You never know when that guy the secretary just introduced you to, will end up being your spouse, or plane ticket you just bought will affect where you live for the next half of your life.

Cultivate Humor
Journals are more fun when they are funny. Seeking out the humor in the day or even finding it after it happened when you sit down to journal is a great pleasure. And humor can be cultivated and make life in general more bearable.

Learn to Type
When I was in 9th grade and taking a keyboarding class, I'd come home and type a single spaced page a day about my day. My typing skills grew more rapidly than my peers as a result.

Journal writing is a hobby, a skill builder, a way to let off steam and see beauty. Why not dust off the old diary and get reacquainted with yourself?