How Keeping a Journal Can Improve Your Health
There is more to journal writing than just being creative, sharing significant memories and building up vocabulary – it has proven to be beneficial to one’s emotional, mental and physical health, especially to aging adults.
Journaling isn’t just for writers or students and you don’t even require special writing skills to reap the benefits.
If you want to know how this practice can be advantageous to your health, just keep on reading.
It can enhance your dexterity.
As you age, it’s natural to experience stiff joints, weakened muscles and also arthritis, which can eventually make daily tasks more difficult to do. The act of writing is one of the many ways to improve your fine motor skills. You don’t need to write a complete essay every night. Just writing down some notes or a short to-do list on your journal before going to bed can definitely help enhance your dexterity.
It can help fight age-associated memory impairment and dementia.
Memory loss is one of the common problems among aging adults. Fortunately, there are a number of brain stimulating activities that can combat this problem and help preserve memory.
In one study, it was found that people who participated mentally stimulating activities such as writing (both early and late in life) experienced a 32% reduction of memory decline.
It can help you heal faster.
Surprisingly, another study showed how expressive writing helps heal wounds faster. This study was conducted among 49 healthy adults aged 64-97 years. The participants were asked to write about either upsetting events or daily activities for 20 minutes, three days in a row. After two weeks, a biopsy on the arm was done for each participant. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. The study concluded that writing about a stressful event can help a person make sense of the situation and reduce distress, thus promoting faster healing.
Keeping a journal of any chronic condition (e.g., diabetes) can help you manage your condition, and keep track of things that affect it.
It’s an ideal form of self-therapy.
Research shows that having a sense of purpose is one of the pillars of successful aging, which most older adults can struggle with. Through journaling, you can reflect on past and current events and find your life’s meaning from them. In addition to that, the simple act of writing about your day every night or planning future events on your calendar can help you become more aware of your day to day activities and connect with the continuity of your life.
In conclusion, journaling is a very useful tool to help improve many aspects of your life. There are no rules when it comes to journal writing and there’s no “one way” to do it. On my next article, I will share with you the different types of journals and various ways to do it.