How Journalling Can Be The Ultimate Source of Self Care

When you were a teenager, chances are you had a diary. Kept hidden under your pillow, your diary was your catch-all for fears, worries, changes, and plans.

As we grow older, many of us stop journalling. One day we set our pen down for the last time, only to spend our adult lives stuffing our thoughts deep within us. Research has proven that journalling has enormous benefits for mental health.

There is no “right way” to journal. Journalling as an adult means releasing your thoughts and emotions onto paper. That’s it! You can let your pen flow while you write down whatever comes into your mind, draw pictures to express yourself, write down positive affirmations or list three things you have been grateful for on that particular day. Whatever works for you!

So, how can writing your ideas and feelings onto paper help you? We’ve created a list of the top 10 benefits journalling can have for your mental health and well-being.

1. Detoxes Your Mind

Many of us roll out of bed in the morning and immediately are bombarded with emails to check, kids to get to school, breakfast to make, and schedules to remember. With all this chaos, our emotions often get pushed to the wayside.

Journalling can help you detox your mind to think clearer and release any pent-up frustrations, stressors, confusion, or anxiety.

Journalling has been called a “mental windshield wiper”. It allows you to get out of your head and never think about those thoughts again.

2. Helps You Achieve Goals

When you journal about future goals, you’re creating an intentional mindset shift. Writing out and organising what you want in life can make it much easier to create a plan. Goal journalling can help you recognise the daily actions hindering you from making your dream life.

By laying out a roadmap for your goals through journalling, you’re less likely to give in to immediate satisfaction, knowing the delayed gratification is coming. In addition, journalling can keep you on track and focused, allowing you to crush your goals faster and without distraction.

3. Spot Negative Thoughts

Through journalling, we can go back and read through past entries to spot any recurring negative thoughts. By identifying our negative thinking patterns, we can consciously change them.

Our negative thinking patterns can run a constant loop in the background of our brains, so addressing them can be a crucial step in becoming more positive and hopeful for the future.

4. Can Help Identify Triggers

Journalling is a powerful tool when it comes to self-realisation. If you constantly find yourself in emotional turmoil, you may need to help understand precisely where it comes from. When you journal, you can identify any triggers in your daily life that negatively impact your mental health and then create a plan to change them.

For example, through writing, you may realise your mornings consistently end in stress and chaos. While you may have chalked this up to you “not being a morning person”, through journalling, you can spot ways to simplify your morning routine and create a happier start to your day.

5. Helps With Anxiety

For those struggling with anxiety, their brain is a never-ending worry machine. It’s widespread for someone with an anxiety disorder to dwell on anxious thoughts (‘ruminate’). It can be incredibly emotionally draining. When we journal, we rest our brains and allow the paper to soak up our worries, fears, and concerns.

Once our worries are out, we can look for alternatives to the problem. Often, when we get our anxious thoughts out, we realise how minimal they are.

Researchers have found that creative writing helps many psychological and physical symptoms.

6. Helps With Depression

When it comes to depression, journalling can look a bit different. Research has shown that someone with depression may benefit more from deeper-level journalling than recording daily life. An easy way to incorporate this is through gratitude journals.

By writing down a few things you’re thankful for daily, you can rewire your brain’s neural pathways and re-train your negative thoughts into more positive ones. In addition, journalling for depression is an effective way to spot triggers that may make your depression worse.

7. Increases Self Awareness

Whenever you do anything without being fully or wholly present, you’re operating through your subconscious. Think of your subconscious as your autopilot. You may see this on your drive to work. You’re breaking at stop signs and using your blinkers to make a turn. However, your mind may be on your fight with your partner the night before. Once you become more aware, you’ll realise how often you’re in this state.

Journalling allows us to be fully present with ourselves and our thoughts. This time spent with your thoughts may be the only time you let your conscience take over all day. This time spent in the present is a powerful state to be in for emotional healing.

8. Helps You Make Better Decisions

By increasing our self-awareness through journalling, we empower ourselves to make better decisions. Every time we journal, we remind ourselves that our choices today affect our future tomorrow. We can see this clearly as we go back and read through our past entries. You’re much more likely to make healthier decisions when conscious of your choices.

9. Allows Us To Reflect

While there is still some debate about this statement, some mental health professionals have argued that reading past writings is more beneficial than writing. We glimpse back in time when we read through our old entries. Quite literally isn’t possible any other way.

Journalling gives us a unique view of our old selves and allows us to see how we’ve grown, changed and healed over time. In addition, past journal entries can serve as a potent reminder not to return to old situations or relationships.

10. Gives Us Clarity

When our thoughts and emotions are constantly swirling around, we can unlikely think 100%. When we journal, we are writing down what matters to us the most. We prioritise our main worries, fears, goals, or emotions when we take the time to journal about them. This time helps give clarity on which issues at hand are most pressing to resolve or overcome. When we write our problems out onto paper, we may find we have had the answer to our questions within us all along.

All In All…

Journalling is a free, influential tool to empower growth and enable you to become more in tune with yourself and your feelings. As our world operates at a fast pace day in and day out, give yourself the gift of peace through journalling. It may be the only time you can sit with your thoughts all day and cultivate a life you’re excited to wake up to.

While journalling should be a daily practice, in time, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to prioritise as the benefits become crystal clear.

Self-help techniques such as journalling can significantly help your mental health. However, if you feel you would like more support, you can reach out for professional help by contacting Clear Haven Therapy for a free discovery call.