Why you should make journaling one of your New Year’s resolutions

More and more research is uncovering the health benefits of putting pen to paper.

We’ve all heard that journaling is beneficial but it turns out there’s even more reason to make it one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Jotting things down can result in improved relationships, better career opportunities and a stronger immune system.

Here’s what you need to know:

Lower your heart rate

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that those who kept a narrative journal after divorce lowered their heart rate.

Strengthen your immune system

Studies have indicated that journaling strengthens the T-lymphocytes in your immune system.

Sleep better

If you’re an insomniac, diary writing could be your new-found saviour: psychologists recommend it for people who have trouble sleeping.

Improve your career prosepects

Journaling is a creative, private and therapeutic outlet for expressing emotions and it helps raise your emotional intelligence. If you can manage emotions in a positive way then you’ll consequently increase your chance of success in the workplace. A 2015 study found 71 per cent of employers who were hiring valued emotional intelligence over IQ, and it’s a trait that has been consistently found among successful leaders.

Spare your friends

Putting pen to paper the old-fashioned way is likely to be less distracting than typing on a computer with constant notifications going off and the internet just a click away. Not to mention the fact your friends will thank you for it if you diarise as an outlet rather than clogging up everyone’s newsfeed with yet another Facebook status.

Achieve your goals

Writing down your goals also means you’re more likely to achieve them. Your reticular activating system flags relevant opportunities and tools for that goal to be achieved. The more detailed the goals are, the more likely to provide a psychological blueprint, and in turn the likelihood of achieving them increases.

How to start journaling

1 If you can’t make time in your busy schedule to diarise daily, start by writing three days a week.

2 Date your entries to keep it consistent. This way you can look back and see how you’ve progressed over time.

3 If you’re struggling with writer’s block and don’t know where to start, begin by asking yourself: How am I feeling? What am I grateful for? What do I want to accomplish?

4 Don’t overcomplicate it – mind maps, lists and doodles or even just one sentence on what happened that day will do the trick.

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