As a young person, it’s very common to make journal entries on a regular basis. Some adolescents may have to write in a journal for school classes, while others choose to jot down feelings or life goals. For many people, though, a journal is a place to confess struggles, fears, or life goals that may seem foolish to others.
Many people stop journaling once they reach adulthood, but keeping a journal as an adult is not a fruitless exercise. Journaling does more than simply record your memories and help you express yourself. Writing down your feelings, thoughts, and experiences, can be an effective tool for dealing with anxiety, depression, or stress. Several studies found that people who journaled experienced better mental health than their non-journaling counterparts.
Whether you are new to journaling or you’re a lifelong writer, putting your thoughts to paper can benefit you in myriad ways. You may be able to cope better with stressful situations or better handle your anxiety. Keeping a journal can be a great idea and help you establish more control over your emotions and mental health. Continue reading to learn about five powerful benefits of journaling.
Strengthens Emotional Functions
It is much easier to become more in tune with your health by connecting with your thoughts and needs. By regularly writing in a journal, you can remain present while keeping perspective about your life. It’s a cathartic practice that evokes mindfulness and may help keep your mood regulated. If you encounter a big life change or stressful situation, journaling can help you manage the change and highlight how you can grow. According to research, expressive writing (such as journaling) can help you be more structured and adaptive.
Mental health experts say that writing about your feelings can help decrease mental distress. In fact, one study monitored people with varying anxiety disorders who wrote online for 15 minutes, three days a week for a 12-week period. The researchers behind the study found that the participants experienced fewer depressive symptoms after one month. Additionally, they experienced better overall well-being and their mental health continued to improve during the course of the study.
It’s no secret that everyone deals with some form of stress on a daily basis. A little stress can sometimes help you accomplish tasks, but too much can wreck your physical and mental health. Journaling is an excellent tool to help you combat stress. When you don’t address the stress that you feel, it can slowly eat away at the way your body functions. For example, one study found that expressive writing for 15 to 20 minutes a day, three to five times per week, was able to lower blood pressure and improve liver function. Writing about stressful situations can also help you manage them in a healthier way. When you write about the things that stress you out, you may look at them from a different perspective and find a solution.
Encourages Space From Negativity
It’s easy to get caught up in the catastrophic stories of negative or worried thoughts. Writing down these thoughts is a way to release them, allowing you to separate from that negative energy. This distance creates a space and helps you look at your thoughts more objectively. Clinical psychologists refer to this “distance” as cognitive defusion, a concept of acceptance. Ideally, you reach the conclusion that you are not your thoughts, physical symptoms, or emotions. Journaling creates this separation between you and your thoughts to help you out both physically and mentally.
The human mind is like a puzzle, and you get to spend your whole life figuring out where all the pieces go. Journaling can help you identify certain patterns that help you see which pieces fit together. Through journaling, you can reconnect to yourself and discover who you are. Writing out a plan, emotions, fears, pains, etc., can help you learn more about who you are as a person. Because you constantly evolve, journaling can help you bear witness to these changes and understand yourself on a deeper level.