The Benefits of Journaling: How Writing Can Improve Your Mental Health
Journaling has been around for centuries and has been utilized by great minds such as Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and Mark Twain. While some may view journaling as a simple act of recording daily life events, the practice has been proven to have significant benefits for mental health. Science has shown that journaling can help individuals process events, vent out emotions, sharpen their minds, and even drive creativity. This article will discuss the study findings on the effects of journaling on mental health, how it helps individuals cope with stress, and tips on how to get started.
Studies have shown that writing three to five times for 15 minutes in each session is enough to help individuals deal with emotional and even traumatic events. However, it is not enough to simply write about the events. How individuals write about them is also significant. Researchers told participants to write about one of three things. One group focused on how they felt about a stressful situation, the second group wrote about the thoughts and feelings they had when dealing with stress, and the third group was told to write factually, without emotion, about events in the media.
The participants who wrote about their thoughts and feelings on an event were actually able to see the positive benefits of the event. They were less likely to focus on the trauma or anxiety. Those who wrote only about their emotions suffered more, possibly because they focused on their negative emotions while they were writing. However, research indicates that writing out those negative thoughts is still preferable to keeping them inside because writing about negative thoughts prevents individuals from avoiding them, which is linked to helping them cope with stress more effectively.
According to Kitty Klein, a researcher from North Carolina State University, “If you’re suffering from a traumatic or stressful event, your ability to pay attention and focus on life’s stressors isn’t what it should be.” Journal writing can help individuals focus on the problem at hand, ensuring that they do not bottle everything up inside.
How It Helps
Even if individuals are not going through a stressful period, regular journal writing is still a useful tool. Rather than processing emotions and thoughts, individuals can use a journal to help remind them of their accomplishments and mistakes. Although it may seem like a record of all mundane details, such as a new dishwasher or a meeting at work, when individuals return to their journal later, they will have a new perspective on their day. Then, they can really begin to re-evaluate where they are and where they came from.
Putting a pen to paper is a cathartic and private way for individuals to deal with the stress of their daily lives, whatever that stress may be. When individuals keep a journal, they can approach and release the anxiety they have. Using a journal allows them to process their emotions in a place that is safe and secure. Ultimately, keeping a journal allows them to relive the day or week’s events with perspective, a very valuable tool when it comes to dealing with the hard stuff.
How to Get Started
The most important thing about writing is that it needs to be about individuals. Their decision to start a journal should reflect no one else’s needs or ambitions. Thus, their decision should be a highly personal choice so that it means more to them, and so that they’ll stick with it.
If it suits individuals, the traditional pen and paper method is a fast way to get started. If they’re looking for more structure, they can look for notebooks that feature prompts like “Name 3 Successes Today.” If they’re living their life online, they can use journaling apps and websites. Here, they can combine their thoughts with photos, videos, and links. They can also use a simple word processor and keep everything stored on the cloud.
Another option is to try blogging. If individuals are looking for outside perspective, or they want to share their story, there is no better platform than the internet to do so. They can try one of these options or all of them. There are no rules when it comes to keeping a journal. Just remember to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself if you want to maintain your privacy.
Remember, individuals do not need to be a master of prose to write a journal. Their journal is a judgment-free zone. Instead, keep writing time all about them, and they’ll quickly see the results.
In conclusion, journaling has been proven to have significant benefits for mental health. It helps individuals process events, vent out emotions, sharpen their minds, and even drive creativity. Writing out negative thoughts is better than bottling them up inside, as it helps individuals cope with stress more effectively. Journal writing can also help individuals focus on the problem at hand and reminds them of their accomplishments and mistakes. To get started, individuals can use the traditional pen and paper method or opt for journaling apps and websites. A journal is a judgment-free zone and is highly personal. So, it should reflect no one else’s needs or ambitions but yours.