The majority of people use journaling as a way to help them achieve their goals and streamline tasks to make life easier which ultimately means improving productivity and achieving results but you can actually use your journal to improve your mental health and well-being.
Journaling as a way to improve your mental health can be a fascinating way to practice self-care even when you do not understand what you’re doing or if you’re one of those people who feel self-care is selfish.
Writing down your emotions daily i.e. how you feel, and what you want to feel versus what you’re actually feeling is calming.
For a fact, most of us work in places we don’t want to be but because we need money and we have to pay bills, we have to be working even though we don’t like our job.
Back then while I was doing a job that I totally hated, I used midnight journaling to calm my brain and get my s*** together for the following day. oh…it was hard, but with journaling, it became quite bearable and it helped me get together until I was able to be somewhere better.
Journaling has been a popular practice for centuries, and for good reason. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for improving your mental health and well-being. Let’s explore some benefits of journaling and tips on how to use your journal to improve your mental health.
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Some Benefits of Journaling
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Writing in a journal can be a therapeutic way to express your feelings and reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that writing about your emotions can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety levels, as well as improve overall mood.
Instead of being angry and depressed all day, you can instead focus your negative energy into writing it down in your journal and after you’re done, you realize you are way lighter and less angry.
- Helps Identify Patterns and Triggers
You don’t want to be known as the “Angry Mary” The truth is people who are almost always angry are people who haven’t identified markers and can’t really place why they’re always angry and it seemed uncontrollable.
Journaling can help you identify patterns and triggers that may be contributing to your mental health issues. By tracking your thoughts and feelings, you can start to see patterns and triggers that you may not have noticed before. This can help you make positive changes in your life and develop coping strategies.
- Increases Self-Awareness
Journaling can also help you increase self-awareness. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand yourself and your emotions.
This increased self-awareness can lead to better self-esteem, more fulfilling relationships, confidence, and improved decision-making.
- Improves Your Sleep
Journaling before bed can help you process the day’s events and clear your mind, leading to improved sleep quality. Writing down any worries or concerns before bed can also help prevent racing thoughts, and unchecked anxiety and promote a more restful night’s sleep.
How to Use Your Journal to Improve Your Mental Health
1. Set Aside Time for Journaling Daily
To reap the benefits of journaling, it’s important to set aside time for it. This can be as little as 5-10 minutes a day. Try to make it a consistent part of your routine, such as writing in your journal before bed or first thing in the morning.
I particularly prefer a few minutes before night’s sleep as this will give me enough time to reflect on the day. I’ll be able to figure out what I need to change or improve upon.
There could be a lot of things that happened at work or with your relationships, the night will help you figure out what you did wrong or what they did wrong to you and how you can manage the situation and find a balance.
2. Write Freely and Be Honest With Your Emotions
When journaling, it’s important to write freely and honestly. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling – just write down whatever comes to mind. This will help you process your thoughts and emotions more effectively.
Try not to skip any parts and ensure you jot down even the most painful parts where you want to mind-block, just write it down and find a way to go from there.
After writing it down, take your time to process what you have written. It’s OK to feel any type of emotion; you can cry if you want and then find a healing and coping mechanism in cases where it seems unavoidable.
3. Use Familiar Prompts
If you’re not sure what to write about, consider using prompts. There are many journaling prompts available online or in books that can help you get started right away. Some examples include:
- Write about a challenge you’ve overcome and how you did it
- Describe a moment when you felt truly happy
- Write a painful experience
- Write a letter to your future self.
4. Track Your Mood
Consider tracking your mood in your journal. This can help you identify patterns and triggers, as well as monitor your progress over time. You can use a simple scale, such as 1-10, to rate your mood each day.
Try to be consistent while tracking your mood as when you go off and on, it could be hard to track eruptive emotions enough to provide yourself with a solution.
5. Experiment with Different Styles
There are many different journaling styles, from traditional written journals to bullet journals and art journals. Experiment with different styles to see what works best for you.
You may find that a combination of styles works well, such as using a bullet journal for daily tasks and a traditional journal for emotional processing.
I particularly prefer the plain old traditional journal as it allows me to freely scramble whatever comes into my head without me worrying about everything else.
Don’t forget you’re totally allowed to do your own thing, you don’t need to follow patterns just ensure your journal is helping you calm your mental health and bringing you focus and happiness.