I’ve been keeping a diary since I was about 13 years old. Yes, I know, I am a typical girl. I discovered a little later in life, however, that journaling isn’t just for girls and it actually has health benefits! I have found that the more I journal, the better I feel, even if it’s just for a few minutes a week.

Release Toxic Emotions

It’s a proven fact that toxic emotions like unresolved hurt, anger, and envy can take a real toll on the body. That’s why using journaling to process our emotions can be so helpful. When we get everything out on paper, it releases the negative energy we are holding onto and helps us to relax a bit. Sometimes, we even see things in a different light. Is the situation bad enough to warrant hurting your physical health over? Probably not.

Maybe it’s something you’re worried about that hasn’t even come to pass yet. The great thing about keeping a diary is that you can share whatever you have on your mind without anyone passing judgment…and your journal can keep a secret!

Celebrate the Good

Journaling isn’t just for writing down negative thoughts and emotions, though. It helps to bring out positive ones too! When I am especially happy, I love to express that in my journal. I record what it is that fills me with joy so that it is there when you need a reminder. It may be how much I love sitting in the sunshine or watching autumn leaves falling from the trees in the woods, or how delicious a meal was that I shared with my husband.

A journal is a great brag book too. It’s okay to pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments! If you’ve lost 10 pounds or lowered your inflammation levels, that’s a reason to celebrate! Write it down, and maybe your goals for the future as well.

Remember to Include your Gratitude List

While releasing the negative and celebrating the positive are both good things to do, one aspect of journaling that shouldn’t be overlooked is writing down your gratitude list. There will be days that life is painful and you won’t feel grateful. That’s why being able to go back to that list is so important. We forget, especially when we are in the midst of pain, just how many ways in which we have been blessed.

If you haven’t got a list, perhaps now is the time to begin one. Even the tiniest thing – maybe it’s having a dishwasher or a soft, cozy blanket when it’s cold (or ice cubes, when it’s hot) – can get you started. Find something every day. Before you know it, you will be amazed at how much happier you feel!

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