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Health Benefits of Journaling

While this year has been full of unforeseen circumstances that may have affected each and every one of us in various ways – a lot has been out of our control. The events that have occurred and constant news can be mentally and emotionally taxing.

While we can’t control the events of the world, one thing that we can control, and have the power to take into our own hands is our own health.

Do you often find yourself with frustrating thoughts and emotions about certain areas of your life? Whatever it may be, if you do not already, incorporating journaling into your daily routine can have many health benefits.

There are many different types of journals that can help you continue or start healthy habits as we enter the new year. Today we are going to focus on the benefits of journaling for mental progress while diving deeper into the specific benefits of a food journal.

Sometimes after a long, chaotic day grabbing a notebook or computer and beginning to write or type can be therapeutic and helpful in many ways.

 

Person writing in a journal at a coffee shop

 

 

5 Benefits to Keeping a Daily Journal for Mental Health

  1. Helps to clear your head
  2. Reduces daily stress
  3. Improves organization
  4. Helps to track emotional patterns
  5. Keep one accountability for achieving individual goals

 

Person writing in journal next to croissant

Food Journaling

Food journaling is not the same as tracking your daily food intake on a calorie counting app. It is far more extensive, personal, and helps individuals begin a healthier long-term relationship with food. It drives the emphasis away from counting calories, and instead the focus is on intuitive eating. Specifically, for individuals who may be struggling with an eating disorder, weight loss, or emotional eating, keeping a food journal can help one dig deeper within themselves to truly understand why they have certain thoughts around different types of food or meals. It can help with the self-realization of why an individual chooses to eat or help to understand the fear of why they may choose not to eat.

5 Tips for Food Journaling

  1. Write down what foods you have eaten throughout the day
  2. Take note of the time of day and where you consumed a meal or snack
  3. Include how/ if a meal was prepared at home or was purchased at the store/ eaten out
  4. Include a comment section where you can think about and take note of questions like these: Why am I eating right now? Am I physically hungry? Am I stress eating? Do I need to eat now because I will be busy later? Am I eating because I am bored? How did this type of food make me feel? Did I feel satisfied with how much I ate? Did I stop eating when I felt full? Why did I skip this meal?
  5. Take pictures of meals and snacks to help with assessing portion sizes

Changing your health habits may be difficult to implement at first, but setting a goal to begin journaling can be the first step in the right direction to improving health in the coming year.

 

Author: Karli McCarthy
Cal Poly, SLO Nutrition Student
@kale_n_it_karli 

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