Here’s how journaling can help you improve your mental health



While in your teens, there must have been days where you might have rushed from your school to home to scribble your heart out in a spiral bound notebook?

It was your safe haven where you could express your doubts and fears without fear of being judged or punished.

But lots amongst us wrote it as teenagers and grew up and stopped. However, the concept and its benefits still remain valid. It’s now known as journaling.

Journaling offers incredible physical and emotional benefits that go beyond that teenage diary catharsis.

At a time when the days blend into each other, journaling is helping people separate one from the next and clear out the distressing thoughts invading our heads.

Finding a healthy way to express yourself is one way to deal with any overwhelming emotion. And journaling may actually help ease our distress when we’re struggling.

The experience may not always be pleasant. Sometimes you might even have to force yourself to sit down and pen down your emotions.

In fact, that could even make you feel worse right after you write, making you feel more sad or guilty about it. However, in the long run, we can expect to cultivate a stronger sense of purpose as well as better health.

Why does journaling work?

Journaling is a way of disclosing emotions rather than stuffing them down, which is known to be harmful for our health. We are able to organise thoughts and feelings on paper so they no longer take up room in our heads. Writing down your thoughts allows you to identify stress-inducing thoughts and beliefs that are distortions of reality.

It can actually help people rise up from their low times: it allows them to release pent-up negative emotions, keeps them in a more positive frame of mind, and aids in the development of a buffer between their negative thoughts and their sense of well-being. Journaling about your worries calms you down and helps you come up with solutions to your problems. It also allows you to express gratitude and recognise what is going well, no matter how minor. When you write down your problems, they become more manageable.

How to journal?

It’s not necessary to keep a paper journal: It is advisable to write down your thoughts on paper because it forces you to slow down and helps you relieve your stress. But for a few, the speed of a key-board might work better. The ultimate goal is to be self-aware. Experiment with writing on paper, a laptop, or a smartphone to see what works best for you.

Schedule your journaling time into your day: Make journaling a part of your daily routine by scheduling it. Anchor it to another habit you’re already good at keeping up. If you are an avid morning coffee lover, make it a habit to pin down a few lines while you sip it half way. Or, if you like to unwind with a Netflix series at night, jot down a few lines before you start watching.

Start with whatever feels right: Your journal does not have to be organised in any particular way. It’s your own private space where you can talk about and create whatever you want to express yourself. Allow your thoughts and words to flow freely. Don’t be concerned about spelling errors or what other people might think.

Look forward to your journaling time. And know that you’re doing something beneficial to your mind and body.

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