Why Journaling Benefits Mental Health

Did you ever keep a diary when you were a kid? Do you know anyone who uses a bullet journal or a passion planner now? Whether you consider yourself to be a good writer or not, it may be a good idea to start journaling. Journaling benefits mental health for people who have depression or anxiety as well as people who are healing from an abusive relationship or the loss of a loved one. It lets you get your thoughts out and gives you a way to make better sense of everything that’s jumbled up in your mind.

These benefits of journaling and more are tried and true, and the following is a list of the top things that become available to you when you make journaling a regular part of your routine.

Stress Reduction

The more you go over and over a thought in your head, the more likely you are to stress about it. This is especially true if it’s a sensitive or time-imperative subject. Instead of working yourself up, get the thought out and let it be. Write it down and write out any details associated with the situation.

If it’s a major deadline, for example, list all the things you need to do to meet your goal in time. If it’s a problem that doesn’t have such a clear solution, write out all the possible ways to approach the scenario. This can help you feel more calm about whatever is going on, reducing your stress and better preparing you to overcome the situation at hand.

Higher Self Awareness

Another reason to start journaling is to become more connected to your true self. Although mental health tends to make you more aware of your thoughts as is, you may be feeling hyper-aware or generally confused about all the emotions you feel and things you experience. It’s easy for your thoughts to get cloudy or overwhelming.

That’s where journaling comes in. Writing things out allows you to differentiate honest desires from unnecessary temptations or good habits from bad decisions. It gives you a practical way of approaching things, guiding you closer and closer to a higher self-awareness. From there, you can use your newfound inner connection to be stronger against your mental health and eventually overcome it.

Easier Identification of Thought and Behavior Patterns

You don’t just start journaling one day and wake up enlightened the next; self-awareness develops over time. One of the main ways journaling creates this is by showing you how to better identify thought and behavior patterns.

The more regular your journaling is, the clearer your patterns become – even when you don’t have a pen and paper in hand. You’re better able to notice the thoughts that lead you into a downward spiral or the actions that cause you to stress eat, engage in self-harm, or isolate yourself from others. Whatever the signs and symptoms of your mental health are, they usually occur in patterns like those just mentioned. Such patterns are not the same for everyone. However, they are certain, specific things that come to your mind and that you do over and over. Journaling helps you to identify them, which is part of breaking the cycle of mental illness and getting better.

Better Communication with Others

As the conversations with yourself improve, so do those with others. Everyone needs a community, whether they’re struggling with mental health or not. But, those who are affected by a mental condition often have trouble relating their experiences to the people they care about or, when necessary, with strangers. This can strain relationships and create distance when what you really need is support.

Journaling helps you mend these troubles and maintain good relationships in general. It shows you when you need to apologize as well as when you just need to better explain the things you’re going through. It can even provide insights on the relationships you need to walk away from, which is also imperative to improving your mental health.

An Improved Wellbeing Overall

The final benefit of journaling is this: a better wellbeing. Not all mental health conditions last forever. In fact, many of them don’t. You may have certain scars that linger or memories that are hard to let go of as you work to improve your mental state, but journaling helps you see the big picture.

It shows you that you’re more than your diagnosis and helps you unlock many ways of improving your mood.  Journaling may remind you of a hobby you love but have walked away from, or it may be the tool you need to make amends with a person you love. If anything, it helps you love yourself more – both when you’re in the depths of your mental condition and after you overcome it. This is not just a tool you can use to get better, it’s a practice you can carry with you throughout your life to help you establish and maintain peace of mind and much more.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash