When you journal, you are essentially reflecting on what happened in your day, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, or physically. The power of reflection is that you are collecting data on yourself to write your story. For example, you are reflecting on what caused you stress, what you ate or didn’t eat that upset your gut, or maybe just about your goals and dreams. If we don’t pause to reflect, it’s going to be very hard to know what to change in the future.
Journaling does not have to be this serene experience with classical music and a crackling fire in the fireplace while you sip on your favorite hot beverage (although that does sound dreamy). It can be quick notes jotted down in an exercise journal about how your workout went. Or it might be a utilizing My Viva Plan’s daily reflection, or a virtual reality app. There is no one right way to do it!
The research is clear that journaling does provide a benefit. However, just venting your feelings in a journal does not provide a lot of additional health benefits. What does provide benefits is reflecting on what happened AND what you could improve upon OR what your ‘best self’ might have done in that situation. The research also says, when we reflect upon what happens and then express gratitude within that space, there is great benefit. In fact, one study even said the more you practice gratitude the greater your overall wellbeing.
Some research papers even look at weight loss blogging as a type of journaling. People who blogged about their weight loss journey for longer periods of time were ultimately more successful with their weight loss. Why is that? Because they are documenting their journey, reflecting on their choices, gaining insight from themselves, and creating an accountability structure from their followers.
If you are having trouble getting started or knowing what to write, here are some simple ideas to get you going:
- A gratitude journal – pick three things daily that you are grateful for
- An exercise journal – jot notes about your workouts and your progress
- A food journal – this can be especially helpful if experiencing gut problems
- A goal journal – pick 2-3 big goals, then break those big goals down into 3 smaller goals
- A prayer journal – write your prayers, then speak them out loud
- A drawing/doodling journal – words and images can go very well together
By Raina Beugelink – Registered Dietitian
Revive Wellness |My Viva Inc.