Hi everyone and welcome to 2020 and our learning for wellness blog! After working across many fields over 25 years including individually as a psychologist, I realised that I loved to teach people both in groups and individually. Then I discovered I love to write, when I chose to, rather than “having to”.  Over time I have mostly written for my clients or training and seminars as requested by others.

I’m passionate about being part of well communities so each month I plan to share tips about positive psychology and neuroscience. These tips will allow others like you to share in this knowledge to build your own health and wellness. This year I have set a goal with another Positive Psychology Coach to deliver meaningful training online through Webinars and courses so others like you can access the strategies and techniques we have learned to live a more meaningful and flourishing life. We will also be regularly blogging about small habits you can practice you can do regularly to build your emotional wellness and reduce stress in 2020.

So, for our first blog I‘m choosing to write about how to journal to stress less in 2020 to enhance wellbeing with positive Psychology and Neuroscience.

Positive Psychology is a science and aims to discover what makes us thrive. It looks at questions like, ‘What contributes to happiness?’, ‘What are the health effects of positive emotions?’ and, ‘What habits and actions can build personal resilience?’ I will write a blog about Positive Psychology in the future. The research in this area is clear that when we consistently have negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness, these can impact our health in negative ways, such as triggering our stress response and contributing to chronic stress, making us more vulnerable to illness.

Positive Psychology has identified several positive emotional states that can contribute to greater emotional resilience, health, and fulfillment.

So why journal? There is an abundance of research that supports writing about your daily experiences can enhance your overall emotional and physical wellness.

From a neuroscience perspective we understand that the act of journaling or putting pen to paper can take you out of the part of the brain responsible for reacting to stress (the impulse brain) and into the smart part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) where we do all of our thinking, reasoning and rationalisation. Even just this simple understanding makes so much sense, you can put those worries onto paper, so they don’t continue to swirl around in your head and at the same time create a clearer story of what is happening. In one research study Pennebaker (1982) found that when individuals wrote about a ‘past trauma’ in a deep thoughtful, emotional manner as compared to another group of individuals who just wrote about the facts of the ‘past trauma’ for 15 minutes per day over 4 days. The study found the group of individuals who wrote emotionally had less visits the doctor for several months afterwards. Indicating that writing emotionally can improve wellness.

Positive psychology can enhance the experience of journaling by using and boosting strengths such as ‘appreciation for beauty’, adding or drawing along with writing to really ‘savour’ some of the positive events people have in their life. Writing can have a calming effect on the brain, reducing stress and helping to make sense of our life stories.

Some way’s you can journal is through:

  • Simply writing your life story (past) or parts of your day
  • Keep a gratitude journal either by asking the question what are 3 things you most grateful for each day and spend 2 minutes doing this each day. Even in the most challenging times we can cultivate this practice by noticing another person’s kind gestures, moments of awe
  • You can journal about what you want more of in your life
  • Writing about the moment you might be experiencing such as looking at the stars in the night sky can help bring you into the moment

Through journaling or expressive writing, you can start to create a narrative of your life and what certain experiences have shaped you and continue to shape you.

Find yourself a nice journal and pen and start your journal journey today so you can boost your health and flourish.