Senior women writing in journal

Brain Boosting Benefits of Journaling for Seniors

As many people age, they notice that their cognitive abilities start to decline. This often happens because certain areas of the brain shrink as you get older. Decreased blood flow and inflammation could also affect your ability to recall the names, places, solve problems, multi-task and pay attention.

Luckily, there are things you can do to stall the decline of your cognitive abilities. One of the easiest things you can do is to start writing in a journal every day, or at least as often as possible.

If something as simple as journaling sounds like it can’t benefit you, take a few minutes to learn about how expressive writing has helped others as they age.

Improve Your Problem-Solving Abilities

Journaling gives your brain a good workout that will help you retain your problem-solving abilities. Consider all the things that happen in your brain when you write about your day. Different areas of your brain have to:

  • Remember events.
  • Think of ways to describe events.
  • Draw connections to other events and people in your life.
  • Concentrate on a single task for several minutes.
  • Recall words that you may not use often.
  • Control your hands and fingers so you can write legibly.

When several parts of your brain work together, you get to maintain the neural connections that help you solve problems and multi-task.

Just like exercising will make your body stronger, writing can make your brain function better. If you’re worried about losing your problem-solving abilities, journaling could be the right hobby for you. Writing may not sound difficult, but it’s an excellent workout for your gray matter.

Avoid or Recover From Mental Health Issues

Journaling gives you an opportunity to express your innermost thoughts and feelings. Researchers find that the catharsis many seniors get from journaling can help them avoid or recover from mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma

When you take a few minutes to write about how you feel, you may discover that you have successfully lifted a burden. The act of writing also gives you an opportunity to articulate feelings you may not understand well. After writing in your journal, you may find that there is a connection between an event and your anxiety.

You can use these insights to understand yourself better and make changes that will benefit your life. Without a journal, though, you may have never made the right connections.

Gain a Better Perspective on Life Events

It’s easy for people to think that they’re the center of the universe. It happens to everyone, especially when they feel emotional.

Journaling creates an opportunity for you to gain a better perspective on your life’s events. As you start to write about an upsetting event, you may start to think about how other people felt or why they behaved in certain ways. Perhaps your friend didn’t snub you in the hallway. She did look a little pale, so maybe she wasn’t feeling well.

Writing takes you out of your head so you can see events from multiple perspectives, in particular, those perspectives you likely wouldn’t consider while talking to yourself.

If you want to learn more, start journaling from the perspectives of other people. You don’t have to do it daily, but you can have fun writing from someone else’s perspective on occasion. As a result, you might gain more insight into your life and the people in it.

Improve Your Emotional State

Journaling is a great way to improve your emotional states through neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Don’t let the technical term scare you away. NLP is just a process of changing negative emotions into positive emotions.

The process only takes three steps:

  1. Identify how you feel, and write it down. For instance, you may write “I feel lonely today.”
  2. Ask yourself how you’d prefer to feel, and write it down. For instance, you could write “I want to feel confident” in your journal.
  3. Ask yourself how you feel when you experience your preferred emotion. In this case, you would write about how you feel when you’re confident. Use as much detail as possible to describe your mental and physical state when you feel confident. Perhaps you walk differently or you talk more. Use this step as an opportunity to explore a feeling deeply.

After you finish this exercise, you should find that you feel more confident than you did before. Of course, you can apply this to any emotions. No matter what you choose, writing about your preferred emotional state will push you closer to that state.

The human brain ages just like the body. As long as you exercise your brain, you can keep it in good shape. Journaling is just one of the many ways you can exercise your brain. Yet for many people, journaling quickly becomes the most relaxing, insightful way to spend time while boosting brain power!

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