Photo by Jess Bailey Designs
One would be surprised that a wellness tool is done through simple pen and paper writing. In fact, Alma Lightbody has written how spiritual journals inspired by cancer have helped her friend discover how life is more than her diagnosis.
Children used to carry diaries to record what they did throughout the day, how they felt through various experiences, and write down secrets nobody else should know about. But when other kids learn about these notes, they want to uncover what's written and make fun of whatever information they find.
This is perhaps why there's so much hesitance about journaling: the fear and sense of vulnerability of having one's most profound secrets exposed and mocked. However, kids will be kids, and their experiences shouldn't be a generalization of such circumstances.
People's Openness to Journaling
Journaling is no longer an old-fashioned fad, nor is it considered a childish pastime deserving of ridicule. It's surprising how journaling and its benefits are put in the spotlight alongside the rising popularity of social media. While some people broadcast their lives for a bigger audience, most silently write about it in their notebooks – the better alternative.
As people reach a certain age, they're no longer reluctant to write their feelings honestly or afraid that people might read and poke fun at their experience. It may come with age that people care less about what others say about them. As they're more open to disclosing and sharing their experiences, so did the change in their opinions about journaling occur.
Journals are meant to collect experiences and let writers process these events in depth – relish their lives' whats, whys, and hows. Journaling allows them to remember what they did, thought and felt throughout these activities. It's a way for people to ground and be more mindful of their surroundings and experiences, assisting in their growth and development.
Mind Over Body with Journaling
Studies show that journaling can help reduce one's sick days. Of course, this shouldn't be considered a substitute for medicine and its known scientific benefits. But it can help decrease instances of mental pressure and strain, which can reflect in one's physical health. Instead of a cure for experienced illness, it can be effective prevention before anything happens.
Mind over body is a popular concept in psychology, and its authenticity can be observed through journaling. The more the mind feels at ease, the easier it is for the body to heal or avoid sickness.
If the body is in constant tension, may it be due to stress or mental and physical pain, it sends signals to the brain, asking for relief from what it's feeling. Suppressing any expression or release of this pressure can further add fatigue to the brain, which influences the body's response. Writing about stressful events can significantly benefit people's health, as it acts as another means of tension release. This then prompts the brain to activate its survival instincts, sending endorphins or the body's natural pain reliever to mitigate any discomfort the body is feeling.
If one digs deep into journaling, one can easily find more benefits and testimonies backing people's claims. From research studies down to people's personal experiences, numerous data prove journaling's effectiveness.
To state one, author Alma Lightbody has written moving material regarding this pursuit. In her book, My Wonderful Nightmare, Lightbody shares about her friend Erin's journey through her cancer.
In this compilation of spiritual journals inspired by cancer, Erin opens up about how writing bits of her battle without restrictions helped her process her whole condition. She used this medium as a personal form of therapy, which offered her benefits she couldn't find from any medical treatments. Her journals recorded her experiences from diagnosis to treatment, pouring out the inner turmoil she went through for the whole of this difficult debacle.
While this activity didn't alleviate Erin's cancer, journaling undoubtedly helped improve her mental condition to undergo treatment without complications. It placed her in a healthy mindset that didn't pull back any progress she made, which those losing hope and light may have experienced. This book and Erin's journals are the perfect opportunities to introduce the vast benefits of the journaling process.
Eliminating Uncertainty About Journaling
It's easy to believe in its benefits. However, going through the process of baring and exposing one's emotions on paper can be a struggle. While it's not sharing this distress with anyone who can share it with the world, it's still unpleasant being vulnerable.
Journaling means revisiting this unpleasantness, which most likely anyone would have wanted to forget. Without a doubt, it's tempting to avoid any situation that forces people to process these experiences. After all, forgetting is the fastest way toward emotional relief, compared to confronting these adverse experiences.
Forgetting may be the fastest means, but this can't hold back sorrow and misery in the long run. Psychological health can come back and bite people in the ass. Journaling may be reliving the negativities and pain upfront, but it still offers better relief in the long run.