Is journaling really that good for you? It turns out there are many benefits of journaling for mental health. I’ve been journaling on and off for years and had no idea, so I learned a lot researching this blog post.
Let’s get into it.
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What are the Benefits of Journaling?
This a question with a multi-faceted answer, but I will try and simplify it into one list for you. The benefits of journaling can be boiled down into these points here:
1. Journaling is an Outlet for Feelings and Emotions
Journaling can be a release for all those pent up feelings and emotions you have. Keeping it bottled up inside is not good for you, so journaling can be a great outlet.
2. Journaling assists Healing
According to Dr. Pennebaker, his studies show journaling can help ill people heal and also keep them from getting worse. Journaling can literally help strengthen your immune system.
3. Journaling can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
The act of writing puts structure and thought into your anxious feelings and emotions. It helps you process them more quickly than just keeping it pent up in your mind.
Journaling to Calm Your Mind
So journaling itself is about reflective writing, processing feelings and labeling emotions. It’s about putting into words the jumble that goes on inside your head.
Once you get those thoughts down a page, your mind is empty and your brain can relax without having to process all the thoughts you just wrote down.
You in turn function better, sleep better and have a better mood without all the words weighing you down.
Even the process of writing itself, putting a pen to paper and focusing on getting words onto a page can be immensely calming.
How do I Journal?
Since you now know the benefits of journaling, you should try it yourself! All you need to start is a pen and paper or the notes app on your phone or an application on your computer. It doesn’t matter where.
Just start writing whatever comes to mind. It could be what you were thinking about when you got up in the morning or something stressful during your day that you write down to get it out of your head.
The writing will comes easier as it becomes a habit.
How often should I Journal?
You don’t have to journal every day. Forcing yourself to write might not be beneficial as it may turn into rumination according to Dr. Pennebaker.
You can journal 2 to 3 times a week to get the benefits.
Types of Journaling
If you are interested in further organizing your journaling process, you can get into bullet journaling. I’ve done it for a couple years as a way to reduce anxiety. Working on the journal spreads each month gave my mind something to focus on instead of anxious thoughts all the time.
Bullet Journaling Posts:
Buy a Journal
If you want to develop a regular journaling practice, making a commitment by buying a journal can help you get started. There are so many journals out there right now, but my favorites are on PaperWrld. It’s one of my favorite stationery sites to order from and they have some really beautiful journals like these.
Stationery Shops are the best places to buy journals, so check out my Best Shops for Stationery Addicts post!
NY Times Article: What’s All About This Journaling?
American Psychological Association: Writing To Heal
Greater Good Magazine: How Journaling Can Help You in Hard Times
More Mind & Body Posts
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Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. If you want professional advice, seek out a trained health care professional.