I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Intimacy, Independence, and Ice Cream to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “J”.
Journaling and Joking
You have probably heard about journaling before. I remember when I was a kid that journaling was more often referred to as writing in your diary. In my youth, it was a place to write down my deepest and darkest secrets. However, the purpose, styles, and types of journaling have progressed since then.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can help you understand them better. One of the ways to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy outlet in which to express yourself, which, in turn, makes a journal a helpful tool in managing your overall happiness. There are many other benefits from journaling as well. However, for the sake of this article, we’re discussing the mental health benefits.
There are both immediate and long-term benefits. At the moment when you are expressing your thoughts and feelings into words, journaling is an extremely healthy coping mechanism. It’s a great way to handle feelings that seem too large to deal with. Having the opportunity to express yourself in private allows you the opportunity to also feel safe and secure knowing that you don’t have to possibly face the criticism or judgment of others.
There are times when it will seem as though your journal is only filled with stories of heartaches and challenges. But, I think you will be pleasantly surprised how often you will write about positive and uplifting events that occur in your life. Years later when you have an opportunity to go back and read through your journals, you will be able to recall how many times you worked your way through difficult times.
Being reminded of how you worked through those situations will also help you realize that you are, in fact, a lot stronger than you realize. This opens the door to an opportunity for you to feel better about yourself, to realize your worth, and to increase your self-esteem. Where do all of these opportunities lead to? Yep, you guessed it. Feelings of happiness right now and in the future! Give it a try!
No, we’re not talking about telling jokes or being the subject of a joke. We’re discussing the act of joking. As per the dictionary, joking is “something not to be taken seriously, kidding/teasing someone or something.” Specifically, we’re talking about how you can use the action of joking as a tool to feel better about yourself and to feel more happiness in your life.
You’ve heard the statement, “Don’t take things too seriously.” That’s what we’re talking about. Too often in your life, you are faced with something, physical or emotional, that you have dealt with many times before. So, the question I have for you is, do you need to give that moment as much time and attention (and seriousness) as you have in the past? My answer is a resounding “No.”
Right now, I want you to try something. Read the following words out loud. As you do this pay attention to how these words make you feel. Not only think about what you’re feeling, but also pay attention to how your body is reacting.
NOT AGAIN! SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?
How do you feel right now and what are you thinking? Do the words feel negative? Do they feel almost threatening in nature? Do you feel somewhat angry? How about argumentative? How does your body feel? Did you notice any muscle tension? Did you notice whether your jaw clenched?
How can you possibly feel any happiness at all when you are saying these types of statements in your mind and under your breath? You can’t. I’m suggesting that you try something different.
What if, instead, you joked and made fun of yourself? You can refer to yourself with funny nicknames. You can refer to common situations with humorous titles and make-believe characters. You can make fun of yourself and your situation. In a previous post, we talked about using humor in your life. The difference here is that joking is the action of using humor. We’re talking about what you can say and think to work through your depressed mood.
Being more kind and gentle with yourself is part of the equation to achieving happiness. But, being able to approach situations in your life in a joking manner is also extremely beneficial. Humor and laughter can go a long way in helping to elevate your mood.
As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “K”.