Life can be very overwhelming. There’s a lot of things to be stressed about on a regular basis. If you’re going through something difficult in your life, experiencing high levels of stress or just want to be more mindful in your day to day life, try keeping a journal. Journaling is a great tool to express your thoughts and feelings, that’s simple, low cost, and has incredible benefits on your mental health. Here are some of the top benefits:
Relieves Stress And Anxiety
Keeping things bottled up is never a good thing. If you’re experiencing stress or anxious feelings, journaling allows you to identify emotions and work through them so you can release them. How many times have you been awake at night, unable to sleep thinking about the things you need to get done the following day? Studies have shown that journaling tasks and writing to-do lists help people fall asleep faster.
Learn Through Reflection
Reflection and self-awareness are essential for our growth and personal development. When you journal and reflect on your day, you’re most likely to take away lessons from your experiences. When you’re learning to reflect you can choose to write freely or use journal prompts. Journal prompts are incredibly useful to get inspiration for what to write about. A great reflection prompt is the rose, thorn, bud strategy.
- Rose – The best part of your day or something that made you happy.
- Thorn – A challenge you experienced or something you didn’t enjoy.
- Bud – A blossoming idea, something you’re looking forward to, or something you want to explore.
Keeping a gratitude journal can have such a positive impact on your outlook on life and overall well-being. Research has shown those who practice gratitude were less depressed, less fatigued, and had a boosted immune system. Gratitude journals are incredibly simple yet can dramatically influence your perspective. Everyday write at least one thing you’re grateful for. In stressful or sad times, it can help to look back at your gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the beautiful things in your life you have.
Improves Communication Skills
Making journaling part of your routine can help you express yourself better. This can help you communicate your feelings better with others. Writing your thoughts helps you gain clarity and you become more self-aware making it easier to clearly communicate.
Writing about something that hurt you, can help you to overcome it by stopping the obsessive thoughts around it. By writing, you are able to fully express your thoughts and feelings, labeling them and helping you to heal.
How to Journal
- First decide what it is you want to accomplish for journaling. Do you want to explore your thoughts, heal from something, or chronicle your life? There are many reasons people journal, so having a personal goal you’d like to get out of it will help you get started.
- Try to write every day. If you take days off from journaling it’s likely you won’t continue to make it a habit.
- Chose a time, making a routine for when you journal or simply keep your notebook handy with you when you can. You also can journal on your phone if that works better for you.
- Don’t be so picky about what it is that you write. Be open and honest, letting your thoughts and feelings flow freely.
Journaling has many benefits and it’s a great tool to improve your overall well-being and mental health. If you’re going through something difficult in your life or experiencing any kind of emotional distress, it’s important to address it and adopt healthy coping mechanisms. A licensed therapist can offer support and other strategies to help you manage your mental wellness so you can be the best version of yourself.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.