It wasn’t that long ago that journaling was considered an odd use of time—at best, “navel gazing.” However, since research confirmed there are a number of benefits, including stress reduction and emotional healing, that result from writing regularly about emotions and thoughts (one way to use a journal), journaling has become something that “normal” people do. And, of course, as a proponent of journaling (and writing in general!), I love it when articles about journaling make mainstream news.
That’s why Huffington Post’s article, Journaling as a Coping Device caught my eye. Author Kelly Harrell encourages her clients—especially those who say they “don’t like to,” or “don’t know how”— to write even more often. I couldn’t agree more. I advise my writing students to pay attention to feelings of resistance to a writing assignment or prompt. In my experience, feelings of resistance often indicate an area of potential growth, and breaking through that resistance often helps us break through emotional barriers that restrict our ability to heal, to see things in new ways, or to be creative.
I’d like to share a few sentences of Harrell’s article that particularly resonated with me:
From a spiritual standpoint, blending the chronology of events of your life with art is deeply empowering.
The synaptic process of writing taps into something primal, personal, pivotal. It appeals to our most basic emotional urges in the limbic system — where we blend metaphor with reality, symbolism with structure.
Yes, yes, and yes! But don’t stop here. Go over and read the article, then come back here and leave a comment. What’s your experience? Do you resist journaling because you “don’t know how,” or “don’t know what to write about?” Or have you found journaling to be a valuable part of your life? Maybe even a valued aspect of a life of writing?