Sculpting Project 13: Cairns: Week 2
Benefits of journaling: Most of the studies I have found about journaling go like this:
Study group: Spend 20 minutes for three constitutive days writing about a significant emotional experience in your life.
Control group Spend 20 minutes for three consecutive days writing about an emotionally neutral topic (your shoe).
Test results include: Study groups writers show the following benefits over the control group writers.
- Fewer visits to the doctor
- Stronger immune system (t cell growth, antibody responses)
- Long-term significant reduction of distress
- Improved grades for students and quicker re-employment for laid-off professionals
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved liver and lung function
- Greater sense of well-being
- Improved working memory
- Improved sporting performance
- Improved ability to get to sleep quickly
Why does writing bring on these benefits? The going theory that has the strongest support is that writing helps us create a narrative (a story) that helps our brain reorganize and create a more adaptive way to relate to the emotional event. Happy brain = improved health and happier you. Journaling can help promote post-traumatic growth.
Odds and ends: Studies say it makes no difference whether the journal is every read. Journaling works equally well for all studied nationalities and level of education and ‘success’ in life. And in many ways writing is the equivalent of talking to a therapist. (99 cent spiral-bound therapist)
On the negative side: Journaling about traumatic emotional events can bring short-term negative emotions and it may not be helpful for childhood abuse topics.
But journaling can be more than working through negative emotions. Other journal ideas:
My primary use of journals is for conversations with God. Talking to God and listening to God. When I first found my faith at 15, this prayer method was a wonderful discovery. Many Psalms remind me of journaled poems.
Well-being exercises from positive psychology:
- Journal about the best possible you. (This can create interesting discoveries.)
- Brain-storm goals and plans to take the first step. (Setting and reaching goals promotes happiness.)
- Gratitude lists. (Variation of Three things, Project 1.)
I can be an over-thinker (ruminating). Anyone else tend that way.
- Journal exercise for over-thinkers: Set aside regular time to ruminate using a journal. Sit and write your ruminations for your chosen time allotment. End with a prayer giving it all to Jesus and then abstain from ruminating until your next journal session.
Sculpting project 13: Cairns
Spend 2 minutes each day writing in a journal. (Or take on one of the above projects)
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Then secondly, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Using our strength to sculpt our heart, soul, and mind to love God and our neighbor.