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Start a journal

by Joanne Brathwaite on in New Year, New You

Start a journal

Remember your eighth-grade journal? And how writing in it made you feel better? Your pre-teen self was definitely on to something; numerous studies have shown that journaling has a host of health benefits. Here are just four of the numerous ways baring your soul (or, at least, sharing a thought or two) on paper is good for you.

A journal improves our intelligence…

Writing is an extension of our ability to communicate. A report by the University of Victoria notes “writing as part of language learning has a positive correlation with intelligence…One of the best single measures of overall intelligence as measured by intelligence tests is vocabulary.”

And tests our mettle

According to psychcentral.com, “typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective.” And when we write, we “engage right-brained creativity and intuition, which affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.”

When we remember

Just as a list functions as a memory trigger, so does journalling. The unique co-relation between the hand and the brain is connected by the translations of thoughts and ideas. The brain’s signal to the hand to start writing causes it to compose or reconfigure ideas as we write. This helps us to strengthen our memory of events and engage cognitive recall.

We can start to heal

Dr. James Pennebaker, author of the book Writing to Heal, says that expressive writing is a route to healing – emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Stress often comes from emotional blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals, he says, and “when we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” Studies have also shown that the emotional release from journaling lowers anxiety and induces better sleep.

If the whole “dear diary” format isn’t your thing, try keeping a gratitude journal. There’s also the daily sentence format or the uber-trendy bullet-journal method.

Good luck! A new you in the


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