Everyone has heard that journaling is great for your mental health. However, it is still an underutilized mental health tool. Journaling has been found to have the following benefits:
- Reduces anxiety
- Reduces depression
- Better coping with triggers
- Recognizing negative self-talk
- Improves positive self-talk
- Reduces stress
So, how can something as simple as talking your thoughts to pen and paper improve your mental well-being? Journaling creates an outlet to pour your deepest feelings and thoughts. This allows your brain to process these emotions instead of ruminating. Journaling allows you to focus on the present and release emotional burdens of the past and future. This can provide the insight needed to overcome difficult life challenges.
Journaling also has the power to work through traumatic events and triggers. Writing out the traumatic event or the feelings associated with the event can be therapeutic. The healing process requires that we work through hard feelings and a piece of paper is a safe place. The writer also has all the control and can let go of shame.
Journaling also helps the writer to prioritize their goals and keep their decision making in line with their values. Think about it as having a brainstorming session with yourself. The more you commit to your journal the more likely you are to commit to your future self.
So, how do you journal?
First, make it a routine. The positive effects of journaling occur because it is a common practice. Where in your day can you commit to taking 10 minutes to journal? It could be over your morning coffee, during your lunch break, or right before you go to bed. The point is that doing it at the same time every day will help make it a habit.
Second, make it accessible. The easier it is for you to get to your journal the easier it will be for you to maintain the habit. Some people prefer a small notebook in their pocket and others prefer a leatherbound journal on their nightstand. Whatever works best in your world make sure that it doesn’t get lost in the drawers never visited.
Thirdly, have fun and let go of any pressure to “journal correctly.” There is no right way to journal. Let your mind take you where it wants to go. Simply give into the pathways your brain takes you and keep your journal experience shame free.
Lastly, think outside the box. Journaling does not have to have rules. It doesn’t always have to be full sentences written between lines. Maybe it’s a drawing, poem, or list of feelings. The possibilities of journaling are endless.
Enjoy this inexpensive and fun way to improve your mental health!