The long-term and short-term benefits of journaling
We have the ability to heal ourselves through the power of writing. Facing your traumas and fears releases psychological stress and negative emotional responses to that specific trauma or fear. This gives the term ‘Face Your Fears’ a whole new meaning.
Face Your Fears
It’s true— the more we do something that scares us and the more we confront traumatic events, the less effect they have on us over time.
Trish is scared to death of cats and vows to never go near them. Trish recently met the love of her life, Janice, and Janice—as luck would have it—has a cat named Mr. Tee. Trish expresses her fear of cats to her partner but Janice knew that overtime Trish would fall in love with her adorable pet. It took Trish about a month of constantly visiting Janice and Mr. Tee to get over her fear of cats. Trish’s constant exposure to a cat helped in the release of her fears.
While all cats are different, the point of the story is that Trish overcame her fear through constant exposure. She faced her fear and was able to get through it.
Studies have shown that there are significant short-term and long-term psychological benefits when expressive writing, focusing on emotion and feelings, is paired with goal-setting, relaxation, and mindfulness. Dr. Kay Wihelm, the Clinical Director of Consultation of Liaison Psychiatry at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, says that implementing expressive writing in her patient treatments has helped with suicide prevention, anxiety, and depression in patients.
“A drug intervention reporting medium effect sizes similar to those found for expressive writing would be regarded as a major medical advance.” – D. Spiegel
Keeping a personal development journal that includes all your goals and dreams is the embodiment of expressive writing. I encourage you to face your fears and your traumas, they will only make you stronger.
So what are the actual long-term and short-term benefits of journaling?
According to the study, there are many health and behavioral benefits.
- Improvement in mood
- Greater psychological wellness
- A decrease in depressive symptoms
- Lower PTSD interferences and avoidance tendencies
- Better functioning of the immune system
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improvement in lung and liver functions
- Less stress-related doctor and hospital visits
Social and behavioral outcomes
- Better memory
- Improved overall social behavior
- Better sporting performance
- Higher GPAs for students
- Reduction in absence from work
- Faster re-employment after a job layoff
Now that you know the long-term and short-term benefits of journaling, join me in breaking the hold that past traumas and fears have had over us. By taking it one step and one day at a time, your goal of unlocking your full potential is closer than you think.