Track Your General Health with a Journal

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Putting your thoughts to paper can help them feel realer.

Have you ever been beset by a crummy mood, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out where it originated from? The mind can be a frustratingly labyrinthine thing sometimes; it can be difficult to keep your thoughts straight enough in your head to analyze them. It’s in this situation that journaling can be a big help.

Some of you may have kept a journal or diary when you were younger; journaling as an adult isn’t an especially different endeavor, though your handwriting might be a little better. The point of journaling when it’s for the sake of your mental and emotional health, though, is to serve as a waypoint for personal analysis. When you’re in a funk and you’re not sure what’s causing it, your journal entries can serve as a map to your moods and thoughts over the last several days, helping you to pinpoint the moment where things turned sour. Even if you know what specific event caused your current state, having your experience of it jotted down in a physical place can help you to organize your feelings about it.

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There are other potentially handy applications of journaling you can try. Dream journals, for example, are a great way to tap into your subconscious. As soon as you wake up in the morning, write down what you can remember about your dreams before they fall out of your head. In addition to being an interesting source of creative ideas, they can help you to understand fears and concerns you may not be actively cognizant of.

The written word has a particular power, a certain sway over our feelings. By turning your thoughts into tangible words and sentences, they become tangible ideas instead of amorphous notions you can’t describe. Classifying something is the first step toward understanding it.