How many of you kept a diary or journal? For those of you who did, remember how much fun you had writing down observations, insights and feelings of your daily life?
As we became older and our responsibilities increased, time spent journaling our life’s experiences probably decreased. Working, raising children and maintaining a home did not give us an opportunity to take time out of our day to sit down and write our thoughts.
Now in this next phase of our lives, we suddenly have an abundance of time. What a great time to begin keeping a diary or journal yet again! There are actually some real health benefits to logging your activity and thoughts.
Log Your Activity
Exercise and nutrition are the most important elements to staying healthy. Record how much time you exert yourself physically each day. If you go for a walk, take a swim or visit a fitness center, write it down! In addition to recording your progress, an exercise journal builds your self-esteem and shows you how much you have achieved since you started. Use this information to safely push yourself in your exercise routine.
The food you eat is what fuels you through the day. We all have good days and bad days, but a food journal will help you sort one from another. Write down what you ate and when. Examine your food choices after each day, week and month. Set goals for yourself to limit the bad days and increase the good while using your food journal to make sure you are sticking to your health objectives.
Keeping a health journal maintains a focus on your health, builds confidence and enforces a routine to achieve goals. Remember to set specific and realistic goals while checking your progress regularly. For a sample exercise journal click here, while a sample food journal is located here.
Organize Your Thoughts
Did you have a memorable day? Hear from a friend or family member? Did you have an insightful observation? Write it down in your journal to make the memory permanent. Keeping a journal of your thoughts has many health benefits. Writing activates your left brain, which is rational and analytical, while your right brain is free to create new thoughts and solutions to problems.
If you feel you are without words to communicate how you feel about something or someone, write down your thoughts. Reading your initial thoughts later offers deep insight into how you felt and how to proceed calmly and rationally.
Writing about your stresses and what causes them allows you to move on in the same way that talking to someone does. Sometimes we do not have someone to speak to right away or we want to gather our thoughts beforehand. Writing down these thoughts in a diary first is an effective way to work through our anger or sadness. Journaling is also a great way for you to track what makes you feel happy and confident while exploring what creates discomfort. Going back to read these feelings will help you eliminate the experiences (and people) that are toxic to your emotional well-being.
And don’t forget the good memories! Journaling happy and joyful events will keep them fresh in your memory so you can draw strength from them later.
Writing in a journal allows you to express yourself, catalog your thoughts and cherish memories. Remember to set aside time each day to write down your memories and thoughts to reflect later.
In this next phase of your life, take the time to contemplate your past, present and future. A diary, journal or whatever you choose to call it, will help with this reflection and make you healthier as well. Try it again for the first time!