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:
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.