When you think of journaling you might picture a teenager laying on her bed and writing about her crush, addressing the journal as"Dear Diary." But journaling is not just limited to teens and young girls —it’s for anyone who can write! Used as a form of self-expression it can lift and empower people to understand and reflect upon their complex feelings, help one snap out of obsessing over them, manage stress and ease the symptoms of mental illness. Overtime writing in a journal as a way to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions can be a life-changing habit.
Given the fact that the pandemic has led to unprecedented and trying times, it has taken a toll on our mental health (some which we might not even be aware of). Not only has it left us feeling frazzled, but has also made us suppress our true feelings and emotions.
One may not always feel comfortable talking to a friend or a family member, and this is the time it's important to realise that you can always seek help from a professional. However, if that isn't possible immediately, journaling your thoughts is always a good place to start. Be it after a long day at work or when you just want to spill your heart out, your notebook will be your best friend. Penning down your thoughts in a space that allows you to explore and reflect on how you truly feel, free of judgement and comments, is extremely liberating. If you're still not convinced, we've listed down a few benefits of journaling that might change your mind! And we suggest trying it out before saying a blunt no!
Benefits of Journaling
1. It can help clarify thoughts and feelings and in turn helps to release pent up frustration.
2. May help to evoke mindfulness by calling a wandering mind to attention, by actively engaging with your thoughts through the writing process.
3. Works as a stress reliever after a long day. Studies have shown that the emotional release from journaling lowers anxiety, stress, and induces better sleep.
4. It can help in recovering from a traumatic experience.
5. Can boost self-confidence since journaling is a positive experience. It allows your brain to relive the good moments, freeing you of self-doubt.
6. It might help spark creativity in ways the once in a while journaling can't. Further it may also help you discover your voice.
7. It helps you get closer to your goals and achieve them.
8. It can help you identify your thinking patterns, behaviour and feelings that may go unnoticed otherwise.
9. It boosts your sense of gratitude and makes you count your blessings each day.
10. By putting down your problem on a piece of paper, it helps you look at things from different angles and thus helps with problem-solving.
How to Start Journaling:
1. Start with 10-15 minutes of writing daily. Begin by writing about how your day was and let the thoughts flow naturally.
2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by writing down five things you are grateful for everyday.
3. If there is an unpleasant thought in your mind, write about it in third person.
4. Begin by writing about something or someone that is extremely important to you.
5. Write down five good things that happened today and five things that you would like to improve upon.
6. Pen down three positive affirmations to say before you go to bed.