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Why Journaling About What You Love Encourages Mindfulness

  • by Charles McElroy

Originally appeared on

The practice of writing is therapeutic. Writing about something that interests you and invigorates your every being can be even more valuable. Life is full of complex moments, split-second decisions, and seemingly meaningless events that end up shaping our perception. There isn’t much we can do about any of it except be who we want to be and make the best choices possible. This can be an intimidating and even suffocating acknowledgment, and it’s one reason why teaching our brains to be mindful is so important. After all, being mindful is to be fully aware of the now moment, which gives us precious perspective on our own actions and realities.

However, practicing mindfulness can be tough. There are so many stresses and stimulants in our life that separating them from what is truly happening in the present is a challenge for anyone. Meditation is great for this, but oftentimes it isn’t an approachable method for many to jump into. An activity such as writing is a great alternative. With so much keyboard and screen time in our lives, we often forget how slow composing with a pen and paper can be, and that might be a good thing. Writing can help rewire our brain in a positive way. By choosing a topic that is close to your heart, the benefits can be even greater because you will be even more immersed in your act.

Journaling in the Patient Journal

Still not convinced? Here are three ways that journaling helps encourage mindfulness:

Writing forces you to slow down. Much like "walking meditation," writing is intentionally slow. It is a mix of mindful practice and physical stimulus. Taking time to write out your thoughts and feelings might feel too slow at first, especially to those used to their digital life. Your mind might be moving faster than your hand can act, and your penmanship might be a little messy at first. Remember to take your time, be in the ‘now’ moment, and pause to articulate your thoughts before putting them down. The process is much slower than typing and that is OK. You’ll soon calibrate your mind and body to move in unison and the feeling of slowness will evaporate.

Writing encourages memory. The hand and the brain have a unique relationship. When you write letters and words, you are communicating ideas and causing the mind to re-compose thoughts. This process will actually improve your memory and give you a deeper understanding about the content you write. This is helpful to anyone hoping to improve something about themselves and helps teach the mind to be more conscious of real-world experiences as they happen; thus making mindfulness practices ever easier.

Writing about something you love causes you to love. By choosing to write about a topic you hold dear, you are nurturing positive emotions and essentially giving a gift to yourself. An essential part of mindfulness is respecting "you" and being thankful for life. By spending time with your thoughts and focusing on an interest, you are demonstrating this respect to yourself and that will help fill you with positive energy.

Keeping a journal of your experiences, especially something you enjoy (like travel, food, wine, exercise, or cannabis) is a great starting point. You will not only be teaching the brain to be mindful, you will be imprinting the fact that you care about yourself into your memory. That feeling of self-worth is part of the reward for having a mindful existence.

Photo by Dr. Emily Earlenbaugh

Tagged with: Wellness

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