Mar 112012
 

For the past week I’ve been busy writing a journal every night to test whether journal writing benefits my life in my quest for happiness.

While journal writing was credited with a downright amazing amount of potential benefits, in my hypothesis I thought that writing in a journal for this week would help reduce my stress level and if I was lucky it would also help improve my ability to deal with stressful situations.

If you’re just joining me now, check out the last 6 days of this experiment:

Day 1 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Day 2 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Day 3 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Day 4 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Day 5 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Day 6 of the Benefits of Journal Writing

Conclusions as to the Benefits of Journal Writing

It’s rather like the merits of list making, but taken to another level.

Many people use lists as a way to keep track of what they need to do, but a list can be as much a source of stress as a help with it. A list confronts you with all the things you still need to do.

The journals I wrote this week covered my worries about work and my health, my thoughts on my past and my hopes for the future. I kept the potential topics deliberately open and I just let my writing be a stream of consciousness.

During the week, I found the journal writing to be an amazing help. However, this week was VERY stressful for me, so I had more to keep track of and could better notice any reduction in my stress. The weekend was a different story though. I had a productive, but relatively stress free weekend, so I didn’t see as much of a benefit.

What’s the takeaway?

If you’re stressed, you should give journal writing a try. The biggest benefits I found came up when I was at my most stressed. On the weekend though, I had a lot less to write about as I was calmer, happier, and far more relaxed.

If you’re not stressed, there can still certainly be benefits from journal writing, but I think you might see a bigger impact for your time with some of the other happiness experiments.

Good luck!

Mar 102012
 

If you’re just joining us in this experiment now, you can check out how yesterday went in the Benefits of Journal Writing experiment.

Today I didn’t really see much of a benefit from my journal writing, but it might be entirely due to the fact that weekends are a less stressful time for me.

It’s easier to keep everything straight when you don’t have much to do and you have a great deal of time to do it in.

That aside though, I was still pleasantly pleased with how the day went. It wasn’t my most productive day in the history of productive days, but it was the kind of Saturday you can look back upon and be pretty darn content with the results that you see.

I think that perhaps one of the most interesting lessons to take away from this experiment is the reminder to live your life like a story. If your life is the type of story that you would get bored reading, perhaps it’s time to investigate a change or two. I know I’m working on a few!

Good luck!

Mar 092012
 

To start off with, take a look at Day 4 of the Benefits of Journal Writing.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s take a look at what benefits of journal writing showed up today.

Today was a day of simply blah. I suspect this comes down more to the ebbs and flows of my energy level during the week than any experiment though.

I’ve noticed that Fridays are a day of lulls for me. Not in a bad way, I think it’s just the fact that I get the chance to relax after a long week at work.

The week ended on a busy note. I think that, more than anything, the biggest benefit of journal writing for me has been in helping my brain catch up with everything this week. I’ve had a lot to process, and every day more is added. I’m staying on top of things though, so I think that’s a statement of effectiveness in itself. I’m keeping more things on the go, and keeping them all relatively straight in my head.

Mar 082012
 

To start with, if you’re just finding us now, take a look at yesterday’s results in the benefits of journal writing experiment.

Today was specifically blah and generally awesome.

I can’t point to a single event that was outstanding for me today, but I felt pretty darn good today.

I don’t think I can specifically attribute this to the journal writing, but to be honest, since I don’t know what caused it I can’t say it’s NOT the journal writing.

Suffice to say, laying out my thoughts and ideas helps me to stay on top of things in my life. I’m liking these results.

Mar 072012
 

Before I start talking about my results from today, if you’re just joining me now you can take a look at yesterday’s results in the benefits of journal writing experiment.

The streak continues. I feel like a man dancing on a tightrope. It’s a long fall, but as long as I keep dancing I’ll be just fine.

The benefits of journal writing seem to be manifesting primarily in reduced stress and improved cognitive ability. I seem to be able to deal with situations this week in a more efficient and effective manner than normal, and given the stress involved I’m surprised at just how well things are going.

It seems that the act of journal writing helps me set out my thoughts and plan out my actions.

When you think about it, it’s really incredibly simple. But, just like with the happy thoughts list, sometimes the simplest activities can be the most powerful.

Day 3 and counting, so far it continues to be worthwhile.

Mar 062012
 

Okay, this certainly won’t be the first time I’ve eaten my words when it came to an experiment.

I thought that it would take a few days before I felt an impact from this experiment. Chalk me up as being wrong on that one.

Before I go further though, let’s take a look at Day 1 of The Benefits of Journal Writing.

In case I didn’t mention it enough times in my post from yesterday, I’m stressed. Big changes on all sides. The potential for an awesome outcome is high, but in case we forgot an important lesson Even good things can be stressful.

The benefits of Journal writing

Last night, I wrote about my worries and the problems I anticipated I would be facing today. Most importantly, I was honest with myself. At times I may put on a brave face in this blog when I’ve had a bad day, but I think if I did that when I was writing this journal, I would be lying to myself.

Perhaps it was a simple as that. By being honest and writing about my thoughts, I was able to reduce my stress and I felt better prepared when I actually faced today.

Will the trend continue tomorrow? I can only hope. So far this experiment is off to a good start.

Mar 062012
 

In an ever busier world, it’s harder and harder to take the time necessary for personal reflection. We just run from one task to the next. Far too often, we just build stress upon stress, or block away a problems without resolving them.

Journal writing is a tradition from older times. People would write out their thoughts and the challenges they encountered. Those journals and diaries are often what we have to analyze people by now.

What are the benefits of journal writing?

According to the website stress.about.com, the benefits of journal writing include:

  • Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  • It improves cognitive functioning.
  • It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
  • It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

Those are some pretty bold claims, but I’m willing to entertain the idea that they might possibly be correct, because article after article describes similar benefits.

Hypothesis for Happiness Experiment 16

I’m not certain that this will have a measurable impact in a week. However, based on my previous experiment with writing happy thoughts lists I suspect that journal writing may have a strong chance.

I think the biggest advantage for me will be in counteracting the negative effects of stress. I suspect that week of journal writing will lower my stress level. Right now, I would classify myself as moderately stressed, we’ll see how the results go.

Day 1 of Journal Writing

For the purpose of this experiment, I will be writing my journals out separately and not posting them online. This allows me to be more open about what I write.

On this first night of writing, I’m already a bit intimidated by what I wrote, but I think it does me good to write the words out if they stress me out and worry me.

I don’t know that my stress level has lowered yet, but we shall see how the week progresses.