The Surprising Benefits of Journaling

5 reasons travel nurses should grab a pen!

Journaling…sounds a little old school, right? But just wait, there’s a lot you may not realize about the benefits of journaling, or expressive writing, when you do it on a regular basis. And yes, there is great technology out there, but you’d be surprised to learn that research shows physically writing actually makes a difference. Read on for some interesting tidbits that might just get you curling up with pen and paper again.

1. Journaling helps with mental health

Studies have shown that journaling can reduce the frequency of intrusive, negative thoughts. Since depression and anxiety are often accompanied by negative thoughts, journaling allows you to get these thoughts down on paper, process them in a more analytical, non-emotional way, and then reconcile in an appropriate manner. You can also write about your emotional responses to events that have happened throughout the day as a way of coping with the resulting stress. This can help put things in clearer perspective, help you rationalize behavior and alleviate some of the burden.

2. Journaling helps improve physical health

Expressive writing studies have found evidence of health benefits in terms of self-reported physical health outcomes. Studies have reported health outcomes that include fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, reduced blood pressure, improved lung function, improved liver function and even significant benefits in several measures of immune system functioning. And while journaling should never be a substitute for professional medical advice and treatments, it is an option with virtually no risk and can help contribute to improved well-being. 

3. Journaling encourages reflection

When you journal, you are remembering and reflecting upon the details of events during a particular time period. This can be beneficial in several ways. First, by recording your thoughts it helps you retain those memories for a significantly longer amount of time. Additionally, you could choose to analyze past events for patterns. Patterns may exist in your own behavior or in the behavior of others. This can help bring a new awareness and help you respond appropriately. For example, you may take steps to modify your behavior, avoid triggers that create negativity, or surround yourself more often with positive influencers. The best thing about reflection is that it encourages learning and new self-awareness.

4. Journaling can help pave a positive path forward

It’s easy to find yourself unsure of where to go next, physically or even emotionally. A demanding career and unfamiliar surroundings only adds to this uncertainty. Articulating your thoughts and feelings about a situation is the first step in understanding how best to proceed. Reading back your concerns, questions, and emotions really helps clarify your needs. Even making a simple list of pros and cons can quickly provide deeper insight into your desires and goals. Next you can weigh these against your options and determine the best path forward. 

5. Journaling can help plan your personal journey

Travelers lead very hectic lives and face many changes on a regular basis. Journaling is a very effective way to simply keep track of what you need to do each day, short and long-term goals, memories, special people that impact your life, and anything you don’t want to forget. Writing things down is a foolproof way to help keep your mind uncluttered and remember what’s important to you. Leading a more organized, balanced life is a great way to get where you want to go and do it with less stress.

Key Takeaways

Here’s the best news about journaling—there is really no right or wrong way to do it. Any time spent recording your feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, frustrations, goals, events, can help improve overall well-being. It is a universal no-cost tool that is proven to have measurable benefits. If you’ve never journaled, here are a few easy tips to help you get started:

  • Choose a quiet, private place to reflect and write
  • Try to journal on a regular basis, about 3-4 times a week
  • Be honest about your private thoughts
  • Secure your journal where others can’t read it
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself, if you skip a few days, or only write a brief entry, don’t view it as a failure
  • Let your journal evolve as you learn what style is most rewarding to you personally

As a traveler, you are exposed to so many new things that journaling is a fantastic way to keep track of your memories. Technology has given everyone the ability to capture virtually every moment in photos or video, but really reflecting on your personal feelings about a time or place adds a new level of self-awareness and understanding.

What’s more, journaling about your assignments and locations can help you make better decisions about where to travel next. What you like and dislike about the geography, climate, and culture can help you choose enjoyable locations in the future. Consider adding a “gratitude” component to your journaling as well. Being thankful on a regular basis and documenting that gratitude leads to a happier optimistic outlook.

We hope this brief guide to journaling will help you experience some of the many benefits. And be sure to call on your Go Healthcare team at any time for recruiting help and advice on your next assignment. We have your back! To find your next adventure and join the Go Team, apply here.