Why Keeping a Journal is Beneficial for your Mental Health

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about overthinking - ironic I know. Everyone over thinks sometimes, but some of us definitely tend to do so more than others. Spending time dwelling over things that have happened or are going to happen is metally exhausting, and  unfortunately, there is no easy way to shut your mind off once the wheels start turning. The process of overthinking can be a vicious cycle that creates more stress and anxiety in our already hectic lives. People regularly encourage others to just ignore whatever it is that is weighing on their conscious. However, this “ignore it” mechanism never truly works; your worries will only resurface at the least convenient and/or unexpected times. I have found the best way to cope with the jumble of worries, thoughts, or anxieties in your head is to get them out of your brain and onto paper. Keeping a journal is one of the most useful ways to manage a brain that constantly overthinks. 

When you actually take the time to sit down, take out a pen and paper and write, the messy and tangled thoughts in your head are instantly transferred elsewhere. There is something calming about being able to physically see your anxieties; it makes them tangible and therefore less scary than when they are swirling around in your mind. I always feel a sense of relief after I write in my journal because I am able to acknowledge my thoughts while also clearing my mind of them. Journaling makes me realize the things in life that are actually worth stressing over and the things that are not. More often than not, I will go to write in my journal about something that seemed like a major problem, and after writing about this issue, I realize how arbitrary it actually is. Yet, I would never come to this realization if I did not actively take the time to write everything down. 

Journaling does not have to be a time consuming or complicated activity. All you need to successfully journal is a pen and a notebook of your choice. You may feel like you are too busy to sit down and write, but you can easily find the time. Sometimes just a five minute journaling session can boost your mental health and ease your conscious. You by no means need to write well in a conventional sense. Your writing is purely for yourself, so it does not need to be grammatically or structurally correct. The process is all about getting whatever is in your head out on the piece of paper in front of you. Once you write a couple of times, the practice of journaling will become more natural; you will get into a rhythm that works for you specifically. It is also important to keep in mind that you do not have to journal solely when you are feeling overwhelmed. Writing about the positive aspects of your life is also helpful because you are then able to realize all the things you have to be thankful for. Your mental health should be a priority, and journaling is just one of the many ways you can actively preserve and even improve your mental state.