Once a week, I write down everything. I write down the oh-so-fascinating details of my life, I write down the current events, whether it be the latest election news or a day that will live in infamy (like when Beyoncé announced to the world that she is black). I write it all down. One reason I write is because my lifelong dream is to write a bestseller loosely based on my life. The main reason I write is to keep me sane. As college students, we get so wrapped up in the noise and deadlines, and fee bills. But maybe taking a few minutes out of our day to gather or even write down our thoughts can be beneficial to our health.
I am going to inform you about 3 benefits of journaling. In particular, the emotional, physical, and social benefits
Part of being human is that sometimes we tend to go through unfortunate situations. Like a death in the family or maybe some chick named Katrina wiped out your entire city one day. These events take an emotional toll on us. Journaling while dealing with a traumatic experience can help one to come to terms with grief, while coping with his or her feelings.
A study done in 1996 by two scientists Smyth and Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin showed the benefits of writing down ones thoughts on traumatic experiences. They asked college students to write down the most traumatic experiences of their life for 15-20 minutes over the course of 4 days. Although the students mentioned being angry and emotionally unstable during the writing process, the long- term results were beneficial. Student reported fewer stress related visits to the health center, improved over all moods, and a more objective outlook on situations.
Participants of this same study have also reported long term physical improvement of health. After continuing to write for 4 months. Lung function, blood pressure and immune function have all increased. Pennebaker noted that journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes, which helps combat disease. Other research concluded that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma because ones thoughts are more controlled which means less stressful or high anxiety situations where asthma attacks can often occur. Journaling also reduces the effects of rheumatoid arthritis because when a person journals they are exercising their hand movements. According to Pennebaker, writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
Sometimes in social situations, we tend to become self conscious and not very confident in our views and opinions especially around people that we don’t know.
According to the website Psych Central, journaling helps people to solve problems more effectively and improve work performance. Which means better grades at school, and increase in raises at work. Journaling is also a key time to get to know yourself better. This results in self -confidence in social situations. And usually in your time alone you learn to love yourself. You might even learn to love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye.
So today we learned about the emotional physical and social benefits of journaling. And I will leave you with this quote by Catholic apologist Flannery O’Connor:
“ I write because I don’t know how I feel until I read what I say.”