Journaling is an excellent tool for overall mental health and self-awareness that gets overlooked. With so much to do and so little time, it can seem like such a frivolous thing to do, writing. In this article, we want to share with you some of the great benefits of journaling, and how you can improve your mental health one page at a time!
Stress is a natural part of life, and it can become overwhelming at times. Having a place to jot down your thoughts without the fear of judgment is one of the great benefits of journaling. Your journal is a safe haven; you can say whatever you think and feel without worrying about anyone’s feelings or being PC.
Getting out your feelings can immediately help you destress; however, once you’ve got it all out, you can focus on finding a way to deal with the stress and problem solve. When we start seeing things clearly, we can easily move through the world and deal with life a little easier, which is excellent for our overall well-being.
One of the exciting side effects of using journaling to destress is that you will increase your immunity. When we are stressed, we put more pressure on ourselves and our body, building up energy that research has shown lowers our immune system. This, of course, opens us up to getting sick, which can cause more stress. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, grab a piece of paper and let it all out; your mind and body will thank you!
Let’s be honest; being overwhelmed and stuck in a place of anxiety sucks. Having a place to write out your feelings can help alleviate some of what you’re feeling, as it will help you become more aware of what you’re thinking so you can find a constructive way to deal with it. You also get all of the cooped up energy out and onto paper, which is a great way to reduce your anxiety.
When you start writing out your anxieties, you will find that your mind naturally wants to create solutions to these problems. You can begin to see things a little clearer and offer up different alternatives to your thoughts by giving yourself grace and understanding. This can help you relax and be ready for what the day brings; having had that chance to dump out your thoughts and anxieties on paper, you can come back to your clarity and solutions throughout the day!
Become aware of your inner thoughts
Since journaling helps you get your thoughts onto paper, you will recognize thought patterns and become more aware of what you are focusing on. We spend so much time outside ourselves that we aren’t always self-aware of our thoughts, leading to negative self-talk and more anxiety and stress than necessary.
Taking time out of our day to journal allows us to take stock of what we are paying attention to. We can spend too much time either thinking about our past or worrying about the future that we never really manage to be present here and now. The more moments we can live and appreciate the current moments, the better for our mental health.
Take time out to enjoy life!
Life is constantly swirling around us, and it is natural to get caught up in the hum-drum of it all. There is usually so much to do that we can overlook the more delicate moments of the day that seem to pass by us.
Journaling can help us slow down and reflect on our day and life. We can look at the small wins and hurdles we’ve overcome that get overlooked when moving through the day-to-day. This can put life into perspective and help us learn to celebrate the day’s victories more often.
Helps with self-awareness
Sitting down with your journal allows you to get a first-ticket view of your emotions and feelings throughout the day. After a while, you may start to realize patterns within your life! You might notice how your boundaries aren’t being respected, how draining that friend is, or even how much you hate your job! Or maybe you realize you have negative self-talk that needs to change!
Once you’ve become aware of these developing patterns, you can decide if they are serving you or hurting you and how you may go about changing those habits and relationships.
Another side to self-awareness is that you will start to see how you relate to others. It is easy to get sucked up in our own lives and world that we may not realize how we are showing up in the world and those around us. This can help us become more empathetic to others and decide how we want to show up in the world.
Getting over negative thinking
As we’ve been discussing, journaling is a great way to get your thoughts onto paper and help you recognize patterns of thoughts. You can start to notice your beliefs around relationships, money, body image, jobs, and so much more. As you become aware of your thoughts, you’ll see if you have negative thought patterns.
Like, suppose you are someone who is consistently writing about how you’re bad at relationships and how everyone sucks, and you can’t seem to figure it out. In that case, You can then take that negative thinking and turn those thoughts into more positive, hopeful thoughts.
You don’t have to jump from I’m bad at relationships to I’m great at relationships as that can be quite the leap in consciousness. Instead, you can create something that feels a bit easier, like, I am open to becoming better at relationships, giving a more hopeful outlook.
Taking these baby steps can help you turn around negative thoughts and give you a more positive outlook on life where you expect great things to happen. Our thoughts create our reality, so it is of great importance to get in touch with ourselves and realize our negative thoughts to create stronger positive ones.
How and when to journal
The big question then, how to journal! Great news, there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. You can use it as a way to go through your day and process what has happened and your thoughts and feelings on it. You can let out your anxieties about the day, an issue, or topic/struggle you’re currently facing. You can get out your frustrations so they don’t build up inside your mind and body! The most important thing is to take time out of your day to journal and be more self-aware of your thoughts.
You could ask yourself how you feel or what you’re thinking. You could talk about your day and your feelings concerning it. You could start writing and see what comes up if anything! There really is no right way; you have to figure out the best way for you!
So then, when is the best time to journal? Some would say in the morning as it gives you time to process and get your thoughts before the day has a chance to swoop you up in it. Others prefer to do it at night as you can then go about and reflect on the day that you just had to help process and get it out of your mind, to unwind before bed. Either is fine; it’s up to you to play around and find out what works.
Journaling is a unique journey specific to each person, so it doesn’t entirely matter when you do it. The important part is to take some intentional time out of your day to help gain clarity and understanding of your thoughts which can help improve your mental health and self-awareness.
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Natalie is a freelance content and creative writer whose passionate about self-awareness and others coming into their own sense of self, whatever that may be.