While journaling may sound like an activity only professional writers should take part in, everyone can reap the benefits of this activity. You should not be intimidated by this process, considering that you likely have already had to complete some type of journaling when you were younger. Perhaps it was writing down thoughts in a daily diary entry as a youth or completing a free writing activity while in high school – journaling is a process we often have already taken part in.
What exactly is “journaling?” Is there a specific process to it? How often should you journal to experience the advantages? These are all questions you may have when it comes to beginning this routine. Journaling is the practice of writing within a notebook your thoughts and feelings surrounding your daily life. The entry can be a stream-of-conscious written entry, done right before bed, or it can be more organized, such as an early morning routine where you list concerns and worries to get them out of your mind. Either way, journaling can be extremely beneficial for a person’s mental health. In terms of how often you should journal to experience the gains, it is vital to be consistent. This can be through making it a daily routine, or weekly activity. Only if journaling is happening routinely can you experience how helpful this can be. Finally, how can writing down your feelings and thoughts be helpful to your mental health? Here are five of the top reasons why journaling is extremely valuable, and all should try and complete it!
Journaling Advantage #1: Journaling can help you clear out your mind. By putting down thoughts and worries on paper, you can at least try and let go of those stressors. Rather than letting these circle in your brain, journaling enables you the opportunity to put space between life’s dilemmas and take a clear view of what should be the next step.
Journaling Advantage #2: Writing daily can help log specific symptoms. Whether someone is suffering from anxiety, depression or another mental illness, writing can be extremely helpful. Oftentimes in therapy, one of the key exercises that doctors often recommend to patients is to write down their feelings and thoughts once a day. Not only is writing a great tool to help vent feelings you may be struggling with, it can also help by putting down what is happening in your daily life. If you can view your symptoms or triggers to a potential breakdown occurring, you can then use this to seek help—either from their therapist or close confidante.
Journaling Advantage #3: Journaling can also be a creative outlet. Writing things down can be a way to creatively express yourself. It also does not have to only be through words that you can journal. Often drawing pictures or doodles within your journal is an excellent way to let out feelings, worries and fears. Journaling is your own private place to discuss whatever you’re feeling, therefore using art as a method to do so is one way to try.
Journaling Advantage #4: Writing can help you physically heal from trauma as well. According to the article, “Mental Health Benefits of Journaling,” a study on forty-nine adults in New Zealand found that cancer participants who wrote for 20 minutes about their feelings on upsetting events, healed faster after a biopsy than those who did not write. Specifically, women with breast cancer who wrote positively or expressively about their experience with the disease
had fewer physical symptoms and fewer cancer-related medical appointments.
Journaling Advantage #5: Writing can help keep memory sharp. Journaling helps keep your brain in excellent shape. Not only does it boost memory, but it also aids comprehension, and increases your working memory capacity.