I, myself, write in a journal on occasion. I write about anything and everything that is going on in my life at that moment, whether good or bad. Every time I write in it, even if its the smallest of things, I feel like I am able to share either my good or bad problems. This caused some curiosity of whether or not journaling could actually be beneficial to one’s happiness in life and provide one with an escape outlet with the ability to freely express themselves.
Many health benefits have steamed from regularly journaling, including but not limited to; relieving stress, positive emotional effects, and self-confidence. A study was conducted by American researchers in which two groups of young adults were told to write in a journal. One group was assigned to write about things they were grateful of along with more positive thoughts, while the other group was told to write about things that bothered them or what made them upset. In conclusion to this study, my data was consistent with my hypothesis: the positive group showed “greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other group.” The negative writing group did not show any signs of improvement and some individuals became more angered and upset with themselves. There could be a third variable, though,it’s that focusing on the positives and making a point to notice them on a regular basis improves your mood. I believe that the continuous positive reassurance from journaling creates the positive stigma in one’s daily life. James Pennebaker, a psychologists at The University of Texas, agrees with my beliefs in that essentially journaling can be someone’s “antidepressant.”
Even journaling about negative experiences can improve one’s mental and social health. One could say that journaling could cause negative outcomes because it could make you think more on the bad times in your life and make one self-obsess over what causes them stress. Although this could occur, more often than not, positive resultants occur. Another study among college students was conducted where they were told to write for 15 minutes a few days in a row for a month period about the most traumatic experience they have gone through in their lives. The months after the experiment ended, students were “self-reporting” better mental, emotional, and physical health. Journaling was a way for these students to alleviate the great pain that was caused from their tragic life experiences. It was an outlet from the real world, where they were not receiving fake pity from those around them, and instead coming to terms with their own experience and dealing with it in a positive way. This was a self-reporting experiment that wasn’t to large in size so there could be reasons it is not fully reliable, but even so, this experiment seemed to bring up positive results. An experiment that could be more reliable could be splitting up two groups of people who have already been journaling for at least in a year in there life and have one of the groups stop journaling all together and see what changes in their mood and mental health. This could give us another idea of really how positive journaling can be for someone.
I would greatly recommend journaling to others, and now, myself, will try to journal on a more regular schedule to see if the benefits that occurred to the individuals in the studies I found could happen to me as well. Having a place that is sacred to oneself is a great way to express all types of feelings and emotions and hopefully have it be a new found way that can greatly benefit ones life. There is no harm in journaling for just 15 each day. If those 15 minutes can lead to a more positive outlook on life then those are one of the best 15 minutes if a day that could occur.