Journaling to Find Meaning and Purpose through Mindfulness
The Practice of Mindfulness in Journaling
Mindfulness is the practice of being actively aware of the present moment: accepting who we are, acknowledging our emotions without judgment, and being attentive to what’s going on around us (“Mindfulness Meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress”). How can we know what we want in life without moving forward from our emotional trauma to discover and establish our true desires? This is when our friendly journaling tool becomes handy.
When reflective journaling, you are engaging in mindfulness through expressive writing by clarifying and reflecting on your thoughts, (“Journaling – Writing Your Way to Wellness”). Practicing mindfulness in journaling is settling in a private space and taking the time to observe patterns that lead to your emotions (Verdes).
How Mindfulness Plays a Role to Improve Physical and Mental Health
According to Scientific American, mindfulness weakens the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with fearful emotions and body stress. Meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex, associated with awareness, concentration, and decision-making, becomes more effective in brain activity (Ireland). As your brain becomes stronger, it begins to resist overwhelming emotions that decrease your brain’s functionality to engage in mindfulness. This can have a positive impact on how you manage your emotions, gain a positive perspective about who you are, and help you with finding solutions to overcome emotional trauma (Abram).
Studies have shown that mindfulness is correlated to having meaning in life because it serves as an intervention to reduce physical and mental distress (Chu, et al.). Benefits of mindfulness in journaling include reducing symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. In addition, the practice of mindful journaling is essential to focusing on achieving your goals. (“7 Benefits Of A Mindfulness Journal (+ How To Do It In Just 5 Minutes A Day!)”). This means mindful journaling is the key to unlock your “goal setter” thinking mode.
Mindfulness in Journaling as a Guide Towards Fulfilling Your Goals and Desires
You can become more proactive in revealing your goals and desires through expressive writing once you become a goal setter. This will help you find solutions to succeed in your daily activities and build confidence. A research study at Arkansas State University State proved that mindfulness in journaling produces motivation towards happy, positive thoughts by helping you focus on your inner world (Kramstova & Glascock). There are other ways you can engage in mindful journaling and discover the qualities and strengths that will help you achieve your goals. For example, gratitude journaling is a form of mindful journaling in which you journal about rewarding events or your accomplishments to help boost your self-esteem. Research shows that gratitude journaling is also beneficial in lowering risks of heart disease, lowering symptoms of depression, and increasing healthier eating habits (Singh). Goal journaling is another way to engage in mindfulness to pursue your desires in life. Writing about your goals stimulates brain activity on two levels:
- It gives your brain external storage, or a location where your goal information is stored and easily accessible, like your journal; and
- Encoding, a biological process by which the information you perceive travels to your brain’s hippocampus, giving you the ability to make decisions about actions or directions you want to take to accomplish your goal (Murphy).
To summarize, mindfulness plays a vital role in journaling to create self-awareness. Mindfulness through expressive writing helps in decluttering and clarifying our emotions. The Love Story’s program helps people process their emotions through mindfulness and self-awareness through journaling. As a result, we can elaborate on how our emotions are linked to events we experience in our lives.
Once these patterns are detected, we are able to actively engage in positive thinking, which biologically improves our physical and mental well-being. The inner strength built from our state of mindfulness in journaling leads us to a path where we find purpose and meaning in our lives.
Abram, Tracie. “Writing is a Social-Emotional Health Exercise” Michigan State University. 18 Jan 2021
Chu, S.TW., Mak, W.W.S. “How Mindfulness Enhances Meaning in Life: A Meta-Analysis of Correlational Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials”. Mindfulness 11, 177–193 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01258-9
Glascock, Patricia & Irina Khramtsova. “Outcomes of an Integrated Journaling and Mindfulness Program on a US University Campus”. Journaling and Mindfulness Program, 20 Jul 2015, pp. 213-214.
Ireland, Tom. “What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?” Scientific American. 12 June 2014. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/what-does-mindfulness-meditation-do-to-your-brain/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20picture%20we%20have%20is,superseded%20by%20more%20thoughtful%20ones.
Murphy, Mark “Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them” Forbes. 15 Apr 2018
“Verdes, Susan. “The Link Between Journaling and Mindfulness” Medito Foundation. 16 May 2021. https://meditofoundation.org/blog/journaling-and-mindfulness
Singh, Maanvi. “If You Feel Thankful, Write It Down. It’s Good For Your Health.” NPR. 2018 December 24. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/24/678232331/if-you-feel-thankful-write-it-down-its-good-for-your-health
“Mindfulness Meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress.” American Psychological Association. 30 Oct 2019.
“Journaling – Writing Your Way to Wellness” Twinings.
“7 Benefits Of A Mindfulness Journal (+ How To Do It In Just 5 Minutes A Day!)” A Radiantly Healthy Life.
https://aradiantlyhealthylife.com/mindfulness-journal/. Accessed 06 Jul 2022.