How Journaling Can Be Beneficial for Mental Health

When you think of journaling, what do you think of? Maybe a pink, fuzzy diary that you kept in middle school where you documented events that happened during the day? Maybe you think of a fancy writer sitting at a desk with a feather pen writing deep, long, meaningful thoughts? Maybe you think of something totally different? Pat Conroy describes journaling as, “Writing and journaling is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” This itself is the beauty of journaling. Journaling is whatever you want it to be, by you and for you.

There are so many real life examples of how journaling has helped people. A study published by Behavior Research Therapy in 2005 found that Vietnam War veterans experienced higher levels of gratitude and lower levels of PTSD due to consistent journaling. A similar study done in 2007 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that journaling was a key contributor to building resilience and gratitude for 9/11 victims and bystanders (Morin, 2015). How everyone heals and recovers from situations with mental health is going to be different. There are so many outlets and tools to help with what anyone is going through. Please note that everyone has their own journey when it comes to mental health. If you are having serious problems and think you need medical attention, please go see a professional. Here are just a few impacts journalizing has had on me and may be able to have on you.

Image result for journaLING TUMBLR1. Gives You a Visual and Perspective

Writing your feelings and thoughts out on paper can help you visualize what you are going through. Writing down what you are thankful for or what went wrong in your day can help give you perspective. With mental health, it’s so common to get in your own head. You can overthink situations and it can be really hard to see reality. Having a journal can help you see things from another perspective and angle, which can be really helpful and healing.

2. Gives You Something to Look Back On

Reading old journals can be a very therapeutic thing. I have dozens of old journals that I look back and read, and I thank God for so many blessings in my life. Reading about problems that I used to have, answered and unanswered prayers, blessings and broken roads, I am able to see how far I have come. When you keep a journal, you are able to look at the journey you have been on and see how much you have accomplished. You are able to see how certain situations worked out and how prayers were answered. You can look back and be proud of how much you have gone through and recognize how strong and capable you are. Reflecting is such an important part of self-growth and awareness.

3.  Increases Creativity and Gratitude

There are so many different methods of journaling for all different occasions! Bullet journaling, taking notes on your phone, typing them out, or traditional pen and paper journaling. You don’t have to be a creative writer to journal, you don’t even have to be a writer! The famous saying that “practice makes perfect” is not necessarily true. I think it should say “practice makes better” because the goal that we should strive for is to be better for ourselves. Writing more often will help you become a BETTER writer, not a perfect one. It can help you think more creatively and outside of the box. Look at journaling as a tool to help guide you through different events in your life and to communicate your thoughts in a written way. Along with creativity, journaling can help increase gratitude. Challenge yourself to a “15 Day Grateful Challenge” and write down all of the things that you are grateful for everyday for 15 days. It will absolutely give you perspective and increase your gratitude in the amazing things that you have in your life.

Image result for journaLING TUMBLRJournaling has had a great impact on my life. I have always enjoyed writing and have kept a diary or journal since I was in 3rd grade. As a kid, I had severe social anxiety, and writing has always been my outlet and my safe space. My journal is not just a place to document moments, but also to remember feelings. You know when you read things and you can just feel the emotions in the words? That’s what reading old journals feels like for me. Like I previously said, everyone is going to have their own way of healing. How you process and work through things is your own unique journey. Writing has just been an amazing tool for me that I believe can help others too. Happy writing!

Reference: Morin, A (2015) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-we-worry/201308/mental-health-stigma