The Powerful Benefits Of Journaling & Meditation

One of the best things to alleviate anxiety is to release your worries by expressing them. This can mean talking with a friend, talking to yourself,  journaling your thoughts, or meditating to quiet the mind. Generally, when we bottle up our thoughts and feelings, they can seem bigger and more overwhelming, whereas releasing your thoughts allows a burden to be lifted off your shoulders and make stressors more manageable. 

Sometimes the problems that we are experiencing anxiety around are something we do not want or feel comfortable sharing with others. This is okay, and why meditation and journaling are great outlets. 

Benefits of Journaling and Meditation 

Meditation and journaling are both simple practices that can be incredibly beneficial for individuals seeking to improve their mental health and overall well-being. One great thing about both of these mental health practices is the fact that you can do them anywhere. Feeling stressed at work? Close your eyes for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. Angry with your spouse? Journal about it. Traffic and commuting getting you down? Wash your frustration away by turning inwards. 

The reason journaling and meditation are so important to mental health is because they require introspection and reflection. In order to fully understand ourselves, our problems, our fears, and our stressors, we need to first understand the way that our brain works, what our values are, and why certain things irritate us while other things do not. 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and is rooted in various spiritual and religious traditions. Luckily, in recent years, it has become increasingly popular and trendy among all kinds of people seeking to improve their mental health and reduce stress.

The foundation of meditation involves drawing one’s attention to a particular thing, such as deep breaths or a mantra, like gratitude or peace. This allows people to cultivate a sense of calamity and clarity. Although meditation can work wonders for our minds, it is one of the most difficult practices to do. 

For example, in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts’ character is living at an ashram (which is a place where people live to deepen their spiritual practice through the Hindi religion). In the movie, Roberts’ character deeply wants to find her inner peace and her purpose through meditation, but she has a very challenging time quieting her mind and focusing on her mantras. 

This is an example of how our minds work. We are naturally inclined to wander and get distracted by to-do lists, stress, work, family, friends, and whatever else may be on our list. Despite the challenges, meditation can help to quiet the mind and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress if practiced consistently. Studies have shown that a regular meditation practice can lead to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, improved focus and concentration, and increased feelings of well-being.

One of our favorite places to meditate is in the garden as it offers unique benefits that can enhance your meditation practice. Here are some of the advantages:

Connection with nature: Being in a garden allows you to connect with the natural world. The sights, sounds, and scents of plants, flowers, and the environment can create a calming and grounding effect. This connection with nature can deepen your meditation experience and promote a sense of peace and tranquility.

Sensory stimulation: Gardens provide a rich sensory experience, offering various stimuli such as the feel of grass or soil under your feet, the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze, or the sounds of birds chirping. Engaging your senses during meditation can help anchor your attention in the present moment and enhance your overall mindfulness.

Increased relaxation: Gardens often have a serene and peaceful ambiance, away from the noise and distractions of daily life. The combination of natural elements, such as greenery, flowers, and natural light, can create a soothing environment that promotes relaxation and stress reduction.

Mind-body connection: Meditating in the garden allows you to cultivate a stronger mind-body connection. As you sit or walk among plants and observe their growth and cycles, you may develop a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living beings. This awareness can foster a sense of harmony within yourself and with the world around you.

Improved focus and concentration: Gardens can offer a visually stimulating yet calming backdrop for meditation. The presence of plants and the overall beauty of the surroundings can help hold your attention and support your focus during meditation, making it easier to concentrate on your breath or chosen meditation technique.

Inspiration and creativity: Nature has a way of inspiring creativity and opening up new perspectives. Meditating in the garden can stimulate your creativity and bring forth fresh ideas or insights. You may find that the peacefulness and natural beauty of the garden spark your imagination and help you access a more expansive state of mind.

Stress reduction and emotional well-being: The combination of meditation and being in a garden can have a synergistic effect on stress reduction and emotional well-being. Meditating in a peaceful outdoor environment can induce a sense of calmness, lower stress hormone levels, and promote a positive mood. It can also provide a respite from daily pressures and contribute to a greater sense of overall well-being.

Mindful walking: Gardens provide an excellent space for practicing walking meditation. The act of walking mindfully, paying attention to each step and the sensations in your body, can be heightened in a garden environment. Walking meditation allows you to combine the benefits of meditation with gentle physical movement and the natural beauty of the garden.

Cultivation of gratitude: Gardens can evoke feelings of gratitude for the abundance and beauty of nature. By meditating in the garden, you can develop a sense of appreciation for the environment, the cycle of life, and the interconnectedness of all living things.

What is Journaling?

Unlike meditation, journaling is the practice of writing out your thoughts, dreams, feelings, and life on paper. Like meditation, journaling has been around for centuries and has been used for various purposes, from processing emotions to keeping a record of one’s experiences. One of the reasons that we are able to have personal recounts from centuries past in our historical archives is due to journaling, so this is no new concept.

Journaling is a way of external processing without ever having to speak something out loud. It is a way to get thoughts and feelings out of your mind and onto a piece of paper that can allow you to process, understand, and move past challenges with a bit more clarity. 

I am a huge fan of journaling, generally journaling five to six times per week. I use my journal to write down funny dreams I had the previous night, talk about my travels, recap my day, implement gratitude practices, and of course, write about challenges and roadblocks that come my way. One of the reasons I love journaling so much is because of the documentation of thought patterns, the increase in self-awareness, as well as the records to look back on to see how far I have come from a particular point in my life. 

Studies have shown that people who regularly journal about their emotions and experiences experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who do not journal. When used together, meditation and journaling can complement each other in powerful and transformative ways. 

Journaling has numerous benefits for mental health. Here are a few of the key advantages:

Emotional expression: Journaling provides a safe and private space to express and process your emotions. It allows you to explore and understand your feelings, reducing their intensity and promoting emotional well-being.

Stress reduction: Writing in a journal can serve as a stress management tool. By putting your thoughts and worries on paper, you can unload the burden from your mind, gain clarity, and experience a sense of relief.

Self-reflection and self-discovery: Journaling encourages self-reflection, introspection, and self-awareness. It helps you gain insights into your thoughts, behaviors, and patterns, enabling you to identify areas for personal growth and make positive changes.

Problem-solving: Writing down your challenges and concerns can help you analyze them objectively. Journaling allows you to brainstorm potential solutions, weigh their pros and cons, and develop action plans. This process enhances problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.

Increased mindfulness: Journaling promotes mindfulness by focusing your attention on the present moment. As you describe your experiences or engage in gratitude journaling, you become more aware of the positive aspects of your life, fostering a sense of appreciation and contentment.

Tracking progress: Keeping a journal enables you to track your progress over time. You can record your goals, aspirations, and achievements, and revisit them later to see how far you’ve come. This practice cultivates motivation, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.

Improved mood and well-being: Engaging in regular journaling has been associated with improved mood, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and enhanced overall well-being. It provides an outlet for self-expression and fosters a positive mindset.

Increased self-compassion: Writing in a journal promotes self-compassion by allowing you to treat yourself with kindness and understanding. You can offer words of encouragement, validate your experiences, and practice self-care through the act of journaling.

Enhanced problem awareness: Journaling helps you identify recurring patterns, triggers, and obstacles in your life. By recognizing these patterns, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your circumstances, leading to personal growth and positive change.

Release of negative thoughts: Journaling provides a healthy outlet for releasing negative thoughts, frustrations, and anxieties. By writing them down, you can externalize and distance yourself from them, which can be therapeutic and liberating.

Remember that journaling is a personal practice, and its benefits may vary from person to person. Experiment with different journaling techniques and find what works best for you.

The Power of Meditation + Journaling

Why are mediation and journaling so powerful when used together? Well, meditation can help us to cultivate a sense of calm and focus, making it easier to sit down and write in our journals without getting distracted. On the other hand, journaling can help us to process any insights or revelations that arise during meditation practice. For example, if we notice a recurring thought or feeling during meditation, we can explore it further in our journal and gain a deeper understanding of its origins and impact on our lives.

Combining meditation and journaling is a great way to deepen your practice in both disciplines. For example, before you begin to journal, you could start with a simple meditation of deep inhales and exhales and begin to quiet the mind. Following your breathwork meditation, you can being to journal and scribble down whatever thoughts or feelings that arose during the meditation. 

There is no right or wrong way to practice meditation or journaling. As long as it is serving you well and creating the impact you desire, you are doing it right. May we recommend mediating in your garden?