God designed our brains to work in harmony and balance. But when His design is altered, through illness or trauma, the brain reacts in ways that don’t make sense. This results in anxiety and fear when there is no real danger, or numbness and apathy when action is required.
The good news is, I’m not a slave to my brain. God gave me a free will and I can make choices that will help my brain come back into balance.
For me, medication is part of the solution. Genetic mutation and faulty wiring set me up to fail in the arena of brain balance. Medication has helped to recalibrate my brain so that I have a fighting chance to achieve that balance.
But medication can’t cure mental illness. It can keep me alive and get me started on the right path, but I still need to make choices to get to a healthy place.
Journaling is one of those choices.
Journaling slows me down so I can think things through.
I can’t write as fast as I think. That can be very frustrating sometimes, when I’m trying to get my thoughts on paper.
But that’s actually one of the benefits of journaling. Choosing to write out my thoughts forces my mind to slow down enough to allow it.
And slowing my mind down, even a little, gives me a better chance to find stability.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
There’s a meme that says, “Never, in the history of calming down, has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down.” But this is precisely why God has given us other tools to achieve the goal.
When I write down what I’m thinking and feeling, I’m not telling my mind to calm down. I’m actually giving it free reign to go over whatever is upsetting me. I’m just doing it in a way that starts slowing the wheel-of-emotions down.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Journaling forces me to put my feelings into words, which changes my brain.
The frontal lobe of the brain is involved with language. When we start putting our feelings into words, the activity in our brain moves from the amygdala, which is more engaged in emotions, and into the frontal lobe.
Basically, choosing words to describe my feelings turns down the volume on those feelings. The stress chemicals caused by anxiety that were running through my whole body are turned off and that part of my brain gets a rest.
When I choose to write in my journal, I’m giving my brain a chance to relax.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Of course, it’s not a magic wand. I don’t just start writing and instantly experience serenity. But when I use the tools God has given me, I’m giving my body a chance to come back to its original design.
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Journaling on God’s Word opens the door to His power.
In addition to the physical and mental benefits of journaling, God has provided spiritual benefits.
When I journal with God’s Word, I’m feeding His supernatural power into my mind and my brain, giving them an even better chance at success.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Sometimes I’ll read a scripture verse that I don’t completely understand, so I’ll journal about it and look up other verses to help me figure it out. God uses that effort to lead my thoughts to the truth and I will learn things I wouldn’t otherwise know.
Sometimes, when I’m struggling with an issue, I look up what God says about it. I reinforce His truth in my mind, especially when I need assurance of His grace and mercy.
I John 3:20
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
God’s Word is God (John 1:1). Writing His Word in my journal engages my eyes and my hands, as well as my mind. This means I’m interacting with the Almighty Creator of the Universe, and I will be better for it.
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
God knew we would need help keeping our minds focused on Him. So, He gave us journaling.
How has journaling improved your mind?
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