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ROUND-UP: The Scientific Benefits of Journaling

ROUND-UP: The Scientific Benefits of Journaling

There have been a lot of studies done on the benefits of journaling. It’s great not just for your mental and emotional health, but also for your physical health!


“I never travel without my diary. One should always
have something sensational to read on the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde


Scientific Benefits of Journaling | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up post, I’m sharing links to articles that will give you more information on the benefits you can glean from journaling:

 

Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you. {The Health Benefits of Journaling, PsychCentral | read more…}

 

“…[Journaling is] a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined.

“…Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.” {…How Writing in a Journal Can Actual Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Collective Evolution | read more…}

 

“…The benefits of journaling are long-term. Not only will journaling help you recover from an experience in the moment, but it will also prepare you to face future similar scenarios.” {Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Journal, Connections.mic | read more…}

 

“Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread…” {10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal, Huffington Post | read more…}

 

“As my tasks started to align with my goals, I felt more organized—more focused—on what I was doing and why I was doing it.”

“…Journalling has actually been studied intensely over the years. Psychologists have looked at everything from daily creative writing exercises to a structured, standardized question-and-answer format to expressive writing as a means of therapy.” {The Science of Journaling: Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Productive, Shopify blog | read more…}

 

“…there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.” {Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY, LifeHack | read more…}

 

“The importance of committing our desires to paper cannot be overstated. It is a simple process, but it pays great dividends.”

“… we are forced to think through our process on a deeper level. The discipline forces us to answer the difficult questions of “why,” “how,” or “why not?” The answers to these questions are not just helpful as we move forward to repeat successes and avoid mistakes, they can be therapeutic as well.” {8 Reasons Keeping a Journal Can Help You Reach Your Goals, BecomingMinimalist | read more…}


“…unless it is committed to paper, you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self


 

The Weekly Muse (02/19/2017)

The Weekly Muse (02/19/2017)

The Weekly Muse is posted, here, every Sunday, and invites you to participate by either (1) answering these questions, privately, in your journal, (2) answering the questions on your blog, and then coming back to link that post here in the comments at Life, Unleashed, or (3) leave your answers directly in a comment here, on that week’s post. However you choose to participate is completely up to you!

The Weekly Muse | Life, Unleashed

Weekly Prompts:

  • What went well, for you, this past week?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What can you do differently in the week to come?
  • List your top 3 priorities for the next 7 days.

 

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Weekly Muse post, or share your answers directly, right here at Life, Unleashed

The Weekly Muse (02/12/2017)

The Weekly Muse (02/12/2017)

I am trying out a new feature called “The Weekly Muse“, which will be posted every Sunday, here at Life, Unleashed. This will take the place of the previous “Journaling Prompts” meme.

The Weekly Muse | Life, Unleashed

Every week, for this meme, you will see the following list of prompts. And, I invite you to participate by either (1) answering these questions, privately, in your journal, (2) answering the questions on your blog, and then coming back to link that post here in the comments at Life, Unleashed, or (3) leave your answers directly in a comment here, on that week’s post. However you choose to participate is completely up to you!

So, here are the questions:

  • What went well, for you, this past week?

  • What didn’t go so well?

  • What can you do differently in the week to come?

  • List your top 3 priorities for the next 7 days.

 

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Weekly Muse post, or share your answers directly, right here at Life, Unleashed

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from December 13, 2016:

…It’s not like I don’t have any ideas on what to write — I have TONS of ideas!!! It’s just this dang fear… fear of my writing being “not good enough”, and fear of doing all the work and not getting anything from it (eg. comments). I guess part of that is impatience, too, as the longer my content is ‘out there’, the more likely it is to be found.

God says that I should be writing, anyway, because I at least have an “audience of One” — “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It’s all for Him, in the first place (or, it should be).

And — AHA! — this is a TRUST issue, too! By worrying about my writing not being seen, not being good enough, or not getting comments, I’m in essence saying that I don’t trust God to take my writing and accomplish His purposes for it! Not to mention, I’m being selfish by wanting my writing to give me something in return for my efforts (that’s entitlement), and prideful in expecting it to all be so good that people can’t help but comment.

I’m people-pleasing… seeking my readers’ approval, rather than God’s. Yet, God’s approval is the only thing truly necessary or important (or, it should be).

Thanks for all of these insights, Lord. Please renew my mind so that I write for You… give me the desire to do so, please. And help me to trust You to do with my writing what You please — to use it for Your purposes. Help me to see & remember that my job is solely to faithfully write and be obedient, and to leave the outcomes to You.

(FYI… other than omitting the first part, which was too personal to share, this is exactly what had been written in my journal.)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (2) | Life Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

In order to give you guys an idea of what journaling can do for you, I’ve decided to be really candid, and let you peek inside my journal, once in a while. I’d like to show you how my journals help me get clarity, and how God speaks to me through the pages.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from November 17, 2016:

I’m back to the same old sticking point — the “quicksand” that stops me every time I try to move forward…the fear of writing content that others will read.

And, as I just wrote that last sentence, God whispered, “Why don’t you give Me that fear, just like you gave Me your fear of flying?” He reminds me that I’ve never offered Him this fear, yet.

So yes — here you go, Lord — I am handing over my fear of writing to You. Please take it from me and don’t let me try to grab it back! I’d really love to move forward, and this fear needs to go! It needs to get out of my way!!! (Get behind me, Satan! In Jesus’ name!).

After all, God does NOT give me a spirit of fear & timidity (that’s Satan’s work). Instead, God gives me self-discipline, along with His power & love. So I am ABLE to write what others need to hear from me (through Jesus at work through me).

Please, Jesus, take this spirit of fear from me. Help me to be BOLD like the lioness that You are calling me to become! I want others to see the transformation in me, so that they will have the courage to pursue it for themselves!

(FYI: nothing was edited… this is what I’d written in my journal)

ROUND-UP: How to Start Journaling

ROUND-UP: How to Start Journaling

One of the things I’ve been told I do well is curating (gathering) information. Because I am constantly reading and researching, I tend to come across a lot of helpful information. But it’s not the most helpful if I keep it all to myself! So, I’d like to share what I’ve found by providing the occasional round-up posts where I link to others’ content.

roundup | how to start journaling | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up, I’m sharing others’ posts on HOW TO START JOURNALING:

 

journalingroutine-belletriste  journalistajournalingmythspin   journaling-tips-pinterest-1

 

And two (2) more, with one that’s more specifically about writing for healing:

How to Get Started Journaling (Elsie Road Magazine)

4 Ways to Write for Healing (Darcy Leech)

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

If you have ever thought that journaling just isn’t for you, or you don’t think that you would get anything out of keeping a journal … or, heck, maybe you do want to start a journal, but have no idea how to go about it … this post is for you.

Journaling - How to Start | Life, Unleashed

I have been a journaler since grade school, when an older friend gave me my first diary as a birthday gift. Nowadays, journaling is a practice I can’t live without.

There are so many benefits to keeping a journal! To name just a few of my own personal favorites:

SELF-AWARENESS

You can start to see patterns in your behavior, if you journal on a regular basis. And once you see them, you have a better understanding of yourself and how you act in certain situations.

PROCESSING

I am one of those people who needs time to process things before I can give my full opinion on them. One of the best ways I know to do this is through my journal. Often times, writing out my confusions, troubles, worries, and anxieties in my journal allows me to gain clarity and peace. I can’t even tell you how many times the journaling process has helped me figure out how to move past blocks I’ve had in my understanding of things!

REFLECTION & GROWTH

Somewhat similar to what I said regarding self-awareness, keeping a journal is a good way to notice patterns in your behavior. When you are frustrated with yourself for continually making the same mistakes (or the same kinds of mistakes), your journal can help you figure out what to avoid doing in the future, so as to make course corrections and change your behaviors. It’s only in learning from our mistakes that we grow!

MEMORY-KEEPING

Obviously, when people talk about journaling, this is one of the top things that comes to mind. Many people use journals as a way to keep a record of special things that have happened in their lives.

For me, it’s been very helpful to have a written record to go back through, especially from certain periods in my life. For example, the years when my kids were newborns and toddlers, and I was a walking zombie due to the lack of sleep! Without my journals to remind me of things, there would be a lot from those years that’d be lost.

STRESS-RELIEF

I have often been very much a lone wolf — I don’t get out all that often. So, when I’ve had major upsets, I have turned to my journal and written out my stresses and frustrations. Not only did I get clarity, but I also found that the stress melted away through the pen and onto the page, and I ended up calming down quicker than I would have, had I not had that outlet.

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So, you see, there are great benefits to becoming a journaler!

My friend, Judy — a lady from my church who is in her 60s — never liked journaling. So, when we were asked to keep a journal throughout the weeks of our one Bible study, Judy made a fuss. Yet, she agreed to try for the sake of getting the most out of the study.

Several years later, after her house had survived an electrical fire, Judy recounted how worried she’d been that she would lose her journals! She had kept up the habit since the study had ended, and she’d grown to love it! For her, journaling had become her way to spend time in prayer with God and, in going back through them, she could see how God had been faithful to answer prayers. Her journals were a precious record of both her relationship with God, and her own spiritual growth.

So, while you may think that taking up journaling isn’t for you, I challenge you not to give up on the idea so easily! You just never know. Maybe you need a new perspective on what journaling could look like for you. Or, perhaps you just need to try a different method than one you’ve tried in the past. Consider the following ideas:

  • Instead of writing daily, try writing only once a week
  • Rather than keeping a record of what went on during the day, just write about the best part (or, reflect on what could have been done / gone differently)
  • Try writing just one sentence each day, instead of a full page
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, just list 3 things you are grateful for (studies have show this to have numerous benefits to your health!)
  • Keep a “work journal” where you write out your to-do’s/schedule, and even reflect on successes or mistakes that happened

There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Experiment with different methods to see what could work best for you.

For more on how to get started, and an expanded view of the benefits of journaling, check out these resources:

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN A JOURNALER FOR SOME TIME, LEAVE A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT IS! AND, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE PRACTICE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL US WHY!

How to Hang On When You’re Tired

How to Hang On When You’re Tired

Do you ever just get so tired of trying to move forward? Do you have times where you’ve gone at things with such intensity for so long and, all-of-a-sudden, it hits you and you feel bone-weary? I do, too.

How to Hang On When You're Tired | Life, Unleashed

 

I’ve got a feisty, stubborn, independent spirit, so I tend to fight long and hard for what I believe in, and/or am passionate about. Yet, every now and then, I hit a wall, and I just cannot summon the strength to keep going.

Can you relate?

I’m not saying that I’ll give up entirely. Definitely not! But I think that life has a way of telling us that it’s time to slow down, step back, rest, and refresh. If we don’t pay attention, and we don’t take a breather once in a while, life seems to force us to do so, whether we want to or not!

Some of the ways I’ve found to help me slow down and regroup include the following:

LET IT GO

Instead of fighting to continue, I recognize my soul’s need for a time-out, and I mentally tell myself that it’s okay — that I have permission — to let things go for a while. It’s not forever. And, by taking some time off, I know I will come back to things with more clarity, and renewed energy, later on.

GET CREATIVE

I got into the whole adult coloring trend, a year ago, along with the practice of Art Journaling. And, while I don’t pursue these things daily any more, I do find that they are very relaxing, they allow me to “zone out”, and they get me into a creative “flow” state for a while.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Along with getting my creative juices flowing, I also love to put my earphones on, crank up my favorite music, and tune out the world for a couple of hours. Combining my coloring time with listening to music has a really beneficial effect on my state of being. It calms me and brings me joy.

READ FICTION

Because I’m such an avid nonfiction reader, I’m constantly soaking up knowledge, and learning, usually taking notes while I read.

So, every now and then, I find I have to force myself to dig into a novel (fiction) in order to just relax with my book, and “escape” the world around me. I am always happy after having done so, too!


Now, because everyone is unique, the things I do to step back and relax may be different from the things you would enjoy. The point, though, is to find what it is that helps bring you a sense of calm, and then make time for that in your day-to-day.

Matthew 11:28 | Life, Unleashed

 

How long you take time off for will always depend on your unique circumstances. If you pay attention, your body and soul will let you know when it’s time to pick up where you left off. If necessary, you can always set yourself a flexible deadline — once that date comes, you can then check in with yourself, see how you feel, and decide whether you need a bit more time, or if you’re ready to roll.

We aren’t meant to always be “on”. Even the Master Creator (God) took time off after creating the world! Follow His example, and take a break when you need to.

 

Your turn... | Life, Unleashed

How do YOU make the time to relax? What are your favorite downtime activities that help you feel refreshed?

Do We Have These in Common?

Do We Have These in Common?

Just for fun, let’s see how many things we have in common, shall we?

Do We Have These in Common? | Life, Unleashed

 

STATIONARY STORE JUNKIE

I absolutely love stationary stores! One of my earliest memories includes going to the stationary store with my Dad, and watching as he chose new markers (Dad was a sketch artist for the police department, back then). He had a whole bin full of different markers at home, and I do believe I got my love of browsing these stores from him.

PEN PARTICULARS

I’m very particular about the pens I use. My favorites are the Bic Cristal (usually blue). They write smoothly, don’t usually leave any smudges or ink drops, and they’re comfortable to hold.

Back when I worked at Staples Business Depot (I know, right?! See my first point, above), I once asked my co-workers about a different kind of pen — I thought I’d maybe change things up. They couldn’t understand why I was making such a big deal of choosing a pen … they reiterated that the store had plenty! LOL. However, they didn’t understand how important it is (at least to me) that a pen meet certain criteria. I write a lot — I’m a Writer … duh! — so I need my pens to be “just right”.

NEW NOTEBOOKS | JOURNALS

There is something about a new notebook or journal that always draws me in … I just cannot help myself. I should never be allowed in the stationary aisle of the local Dollarama store, as I can’t help but walk out of there with at least ONE new notebook or journal. It’s a serious problem. It’s not like I don’t have any at home. LOL. But, I will always find a new excuse to buy another one. Maybe it’s the “possibility” that comes with a fresh book?

TREE-CLIMBER

Finally, something NOT stationary related! LOL. When I was younger, I used to love climbing trees. We lived in the country, so we had a bunch of good climbing trees in our yard … and Grandma lived across the street, and had a whole 4 acres of woods behind her house! If I had the strength (and I’m working on that!), I’d probably still be climbing trees! Who cares how old I am! (heck, I still wear pigtails in my hair, too!)

SO NOT GIRLY!

I am not a fan of getting all dressed up, and I do not care that much for pink or sparkly things … sometimes my nails will get a sparkly or pink coat, but that’s close to the extent of it.

I much prefer to spend my days in t-shirts, jeans, and my Converse (“Chucks”).

00_myConverse

FEISTY & STUBBORN

Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve had a super stubborn streak. My family loves to remind me of the time when I told my Grandma (who was babysitting me while my mom was in the hospital, giving birth to my brother) that I was going to “take these 2 feet” and walk all the way home, since she was refusing to give me a ride. Ha!

I can also be quite feisty, given the right circumstances.

The stubborn streak can come in handy, sometimes, though — for example, refusing to give up hope on my desire to remain self-employed. I’ll do whatever it takes.

SWEET TOOTH

I love sugar … especially Coca-Cola (classic) and chocolate. I’ve tried so many times to give up drinking soda, as I know how bad it is for me. But it never lasts for long. I’m still working on finding a fair compromise for this. And the chocolate … well, I’m never giving that up, thank you very much! (Faves: Reese Peanut Butter Cups & Snickers)

VROOM-VROOM!

I’m a girl who can appreciate a beautiful car. My husband might beg to differ (I don’t care for Corvettes), but to each their own, right? I love Ferraris and Lamborghini Aventadors… plus a wide range of more reasonably priced vehicles, of course. My Audi A4 and I were good friends… and I got plenty of kudos from others, given she was a manual. Now I drive my “beast” (a Dodge Ram pickup) … love her, too!

NON-FICTION

I used to read mainly fiction. I loved mystery novels, and romances set in Regency-era England. Somewhere, in the last several years, my tastes changed, and I’ve been reading primarily nonfiction. I’m like a sponge — I can’t get enough of learning through these books I read!

While it was already hard to find people who shared my love of reading (I was averaging 80 books per year, while most of my family & friends maybe read a handful of books each year), now it’s next to impossible … most of those who I “know”, online even, don’t read as much nonfiction as I do. But I love to learn all I can about things I’m interested in … so I just can’t seem to help myself!

Mind you, I have set myself a goal to read at least 4 fiction books, this summer! I’ve requested a couple of them for review, specifically because of this … and I have a few that I bought last year that are still waiting to be read. Here’s hoping!

CREATIVE, DREAMER, & VISIONARY

I’m a dreamer. I do better at seeing the “big picture” than I do keeping grounded in reality, or seeing what’s right here. I love possibility, and thinking of how things could be. I am always looking for the hopeful side of things, even if they seem impossible.

Creativity runs in my blood. My parents are both artistic, with Dad –as I said, earlier– having previously worked as a police sketch artist, and my Mom being into Interior Design. Music has also always been a big part of my life, with all of my mom’s family being musically-inclined (also a creative pursuit).

And, of course, the visionary bit comes into play in that I have great visions of where I want my life to go, and of changes that could be made. I’m always envisioning bigger and better … not just for myself and my own life, but also for other businesses or organizations, or even for other individuals.

SELF-AWARENESS

I’ve always been a huge fan of the self-help genre, and psychology. I also love personality quizzes! I’m naturally very introspective, always questioning why I do what I do, and thinking of ways to improve. I journal almost daily, reflecting on things that are going on in my life, or just the thoughts buzzing through my head. As a result, I feel like I know myself pretty well, compared to the general population. I don’t think many people take the time to really sit and dig into their personalities as much (I’d love for you to correct me, if I’m wrong about this!).

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

So, tell me … is there anything in here that you can relate to?