Navigating the New Normal #1

Journaling for Self-Care

Navigating the New Normal is a Paradise Writing Blog Series covering life and work tips, tricks, and articles of interest during COVID19. We're all in this together.

Self-care, in all of it's forms is more important to our physical and mental health than ever. Here's an activity to consider: Journaling. And no, it's not just for writers.

By: Megan L.

These are challenging times. None of us is immune from the coronavirus. None of us

is immune from the fear, anxiety, worry, and panic that accompany this invisible foe. The CDC and other reputable sources offer ways we can physically protect ourselves and others. But what can we do to cope with the mental challenges this pandemic brings?

We can journal. It’s a simple endeavor that produces tangible benefits.

Research shows that regular journaling for 20 minutes every day can reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and boost our mood.

Journaling can help us understand and resolve issues with others, problem solve problems, and clarify our thoughts and feelings.

And, according to research conducted at the University of Texas-Austin, regular journaling strengthens T lymphocytes, a type of cell that helps our immune system. Other studies contend that journaling can reduce symptoms of conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Still more research shows that regular journaling can promote healing and improve immune function.

The benefits of journaling are long-term, too. Regular journaling can help us better face subsequent challenges. Journaling with pen and paper is especially effective because it activates the region of the brain that filters and focuses information. Digital journaling is also effective. Studies have shown that blogging triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that promotes well-being.

Ready to access the power of journaling? Here are some tips to get started.

1. Select the medium you want to use—pen and paper, word processing software on your computer, or an app on your mobile device.

2. Pick the topic about which you would like to journal. Right now, it may be how you feel about the coronavirus pandemic.

3. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Focus on your topic, not the timer.

4. Start writing. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or content; just write.

5. Read what you have written once the timer sounds. Edit your content and grammar as you like.

Don’t be surprised if emotions pop up as you journal. As you give voice to your feelings, you may experience anger, sadness, or fear. That's okay. Keep writing to work through these feelings and others.

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