| Peter Cook

How keeping a journal can help you during COVID-19.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Introduction

Dear Diary…

Are you also suddenly transported back to your childhood when you read these words? Do you remember writing about your secret crush or the number of bench-presses you did today, in a particular book?

Journaling is for everyone.   

Today, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it can help you to overcome the emotions you are feeling. The coronavirus and everything it entails has many of us feeling stressed, anxious, and even depressed.

Over the years, numerous studies have been done, which proved that keeping a journal and jotting down your thoughts can have a beneficial effect on your mental, emotional as well as physical health.

Anne Frank probably said it best. She wrote: ‘I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.’

 

Why is it good for you to keep a journal?

Brain dumping

In 2005, New Zealanders, in a study, found that journaling has healing properties and that writing about what you feel and experience emotionally, can indeed improve your health and your reactions to stressful situations.

Journaling is called ‘brain dumping’ – it helps you ‘dump’ negative thoughts instead of carrying it around.

Other research has found that the immune system is impacted positively when journaling, as T-lymphocytes (part of the immune system) are strengthened.  

Wounds can heal faster when you journal!  In one study group among people with biopsy wounds, those who wrote in a journal daily, healed completely – while the others did not.

Journaling can actually decrease symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few. Furthermore, writing about emotional topics lowers stress hormone levels in the body.

 

The advantages of keeping a journal

  • When you write in a journal, your focus shift, you become less worried.  Writing in a journal helps you to discover what triggered your feelings of anxiety, and you can manage your emotions better.
  • It reduces stress. By writing in a journal for just 15 minutes, three times a week, you can lower your blood pressure. You will sleep better!
  • You’ll feel happier.
  • Writing in a journal will help you prioritize (what needs to be done first?), and it will help you to achieve your goals.
  • A journal helps you to explore your creative side.

 

Some tips if you’ve never done it

Want to get started but don’t know how?  Do the following:

  • Do it daily – write down your thoughts, fears, aspirations, and concerns.  There is no need to write hundreds of pages. Start with one-liners.  
  • It does not matter how you do it – with a pen or paper or on a computer.  Do journaling your way.
  • There are different types of journaling. Find one that fits your style and personality.

 

Conclusion

Did you know that biblical writers were doing a type of journaling?  They did not realize that they were writing a book! Thousands of years later, we are still reaping the benefits of them writing down the messages that were conveyed to them.

Covid-19 is history in the making.

You may choose to use journaling as a tool to self-express, to clear your mind, or get rid of those bottled up emotions. Who knows - your journal might even become an interesting keepsake to tell future generations what you have experienced during this time!

 

Resources

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/07/5-powerful-health-benefits-of-journaling/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/writing-can-help-injuries-heal-faster/

https://epica.com/blogs/epica-news/the-astonishing-history-of-journaling