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Updated May 16, 2011

Definition: Journaling, though not an official word found in Webster's Dictionary, is a coin termed to describe the act of writing about one’s thoughts and feelings (on paper or via computer). Journaling has many benefits that range from stress management to sharpened mental skills to health and wellness, and more. Research on journaling has shown that it’s more effective to write about your thoughts and feelings surrounding a stressful event, rather than just your feelings or your thoughts alone. It has also been found that exploring thoughts and feelings, and brainstorming solutions as well, brings greater benefits for anxiety reduction than mere exploration of feelings. (Read more research about journaling and worry here.) Journaling about what you appreciate in life, or gratitude journaling, can be helpful in lifting feelings of depression, and can leave you with a book full of wonderful things you can enjoy reading over when you're feeling sad or stressed in the future. Journaling can be useful even in short sessions, which makes it a useful technique for most people to explore.

Read more on how to start journaling to make this healthy practice a regular part of your life.

Ullrich, Philip M., M.A.; Lutgendorf, Susan K., Ph.D. Journaling About Stressful Events: Effects of Cognitive Processing and Emotional Expression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2002.

Also Known As: Journal Writing, Keeping a Diary

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