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People are emotional creatures. You can be happy, sad, angry, confused, scared, excited, and everything in between. Managing your negative feelings can be incredibly difficult. Your bad moods will hamper your productivity and even health as stress compromises your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to high blood pressure, obesity, migraines, heart problems, and more.

Talking to a friend, family, or psychiatrist can help, but you sometimes need to rely on yourself. A journal can work as a personal therapist. It will always be there to listen whenever you need it. Just taking a few minutes each day to jot down your feelings can significantly improve your mood and mental health.

One of the most extensive studies on journaling, conducted by University of Texas professor James Pennebaker, describes how he started to experience turmoil in his marriage and fell into depression. He began writing out his feelings on a typewriter. Soon enough, his mood improved, his relationship blossomed, and he was able to get a better understanding of his life goals.

Pennebaker conducted experiments where participants would spend 20 minutes a day writing about emotional experiences in their lives. These entries ranged from sexual abuse to guilt over accidental deaths. Months later, the journalists began to show signs of improvement. They had better mental and physical health, lower blood pressure, and fewer doctor visits.

Pennebaker’s method is to just write non-stop for 20 minutes. You could write about something that happened today or even something that occurred years ago. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling don’t matter; just get your thoughts out. Then, delete the document or throw away the paper. Rip it up and toss it in the fire if you wish. These ideas and feelings are no longer a part of you.

Another method is to use an emotional journaling technique divided into four steps:
• Write down an emotional experience you’ve had
• Say how you responded to the situation
• Write down your analysis of the situation, digging deep to determine the causes of your emotions and reactions
• Conclude with self-reflection. Ask yourself what you learned and what you would do if you reencountered the situation.

Journaling also helps when trying to make decisions. You might feel conflicted when deciding to start a new class, move to a different country, enter a relationship, or make a significant purchase. Writing down your multitude of thoughts can help organize them into coherent statements. You can quickly weigh pros and cons of each decision.

Writing is an incredibly therapeutic process. Taking a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts help put them into words and distance yourself from your emotions. It helps you critically analyze yourself and your feelings. Once you start journaling, you’ll notice significant differences in your mood and health.

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What Type Of Vacation Will Soothe Your Soul?

A good vacation can be the antidote to so many of life’s problems. Travelling lets you get away from the struggles of the daily grind and gives you valuable time to recharge your batteries. Of course, vacations aren’t one-size-fits-all – your dad’s dream holiday is probably pretty different from yours. In fact, the kind of vacation you need will change depending on how you’re feeling and what kind of recharging you need. Translating your specific feelings into the right type of holiday will let you get the break you really need.

You’re Feeling: Run Down

The Perfect Vacation? A spa trip.

When you’re tired out and your energy is depleted, nothing is better than a spa break. Get massages for your sore muscles, let facials soothe your weary skin, and hop in the hot tub to chill out. A spa vacation is the perfect way to bring you back to yourself and send you home with energy in abundance, and it’s the perfect thing to do alone, with friends, or with your partner.

You’re Feeling: Bored

The Perfect Vacation? An adventure holiday.

If you’re feeling like your day-to-day life has turned into a Groundhog Day situation, try an adrenaline-fueled adventure holiday. Whitewater rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking – anything that will get your blood flowing and give you a change of pace.

You’re Feeling: Disconnected

The Perfect Vacation? A girly holiday or romantic getaway.

It’s easy to feel like everyday stresses are chipping away at your relationships with friends or your significant other, so sometimes a vacation can be the perfect way to reconnect. Spend a few days drinking wine and chilling out with your girlfriends or staying in at a luxurious hotel with your partner, and you’ll feel good as new.

You’re Feeling: Worried

The Perfect Vacation? A simple break somewhere nearby.

You don’t need to stress yourself out with a crazy exotic vacation when you’re feeling anxious. The strain of long-distance travel, dealing with another language, and navigating confusing situations can just add to your worries. A simple break in a nearby city or a trip to a countryside cottage is just what you need to calm down in a reassuring setting.

You’re Feeling: Stuck In A Rut

The Perfect Vacation? An exotic getaway.

If your vital energy and creative juices are drying up, you need a change of setting. Leave the farm behind and go somewhere exotic – the sky’s the limit! Immersing yourself in another culture with novel sights, a different cuisine, and a whole new way of life will change your point of view and leave you feeling refreshed.

Getting away from it all is a luxury and you should always make the most of it. Next time you’re planning a trip away, try to pinpoint what kind of break will best ease your soul. Make your vacation more than a trip away from home – turn it into a restorative experience that will let you head back to the farm with a clear mind and a happy heart.

 


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