How Journaling Helps?
It’s not always easy to identify what’s causing you to feel anxious and stressed. Although in today’s climate, just turning on the television can be a catalyst. Amid a global pandemic and the increase in nationwide violence, it’s easy to understand why we might feel a little more anxious and stressed these days.
Journaling is a healthy way to organize your thoughts and feelings. It can reduce stress and assist with managing anxiety. Used as a coping strategy for depression and mood stabilization, it may help to reveal triggers and open the door to figuring out useful ways to avoid them.
It is also an effective tool to help work through the stages of grief after the death of a pet or a loved one. Feelings can often become erratic and overwhelming when dealing with such loss.
Through journaling, you may also be able to identify common issues or themes that need to be addressed by a counselor or therapist.
Journaling is a healthy mental exercise for your brain. Writers use journaling to stimulate creativity and stave off writer’s block. Just grab a notebook and a pen or pencil to get yourself started. Whether you journal in the morning or the evening, it’s a mentally productive addition to your daily routine.
Types of Journaling
Writing down what you are grateful for is always a good practice. However, during times of stress and emotional turmoil, it can provide a good distraction. You can do it in the form of a bulleted list or just write paragraphs expanding on all that you have to be grateful for.
This type of journal combines pictures with words. Images can be drawn or clipped from a magazine. Creating a visual representation of what you are journaling about has been shown to reduce stress and ease anxiety.
Stream of Consciousness Journaling
I find this type of journaling very effective. You don’t have to worry about punctuation or grammar. You don’t even have to write in complete sentences. Simply write down whatever comes into your mind. Be sure to have a lot of paper handy because once the stream starts flowing, you want to minimize distractions. You will surprise yourself at how much you can purge through this type of journaling.
Unsent Letter Journaling
This method is particularly effective for anger. It allows you to get thoughts and feelings down on paper in a safe way. Ultimately it’s up to you whether you want to send the letter, but it’s essential to write it as if you have no intention of sending it. Write down anything and everything that you have always wanted to say but didn’t dare. If it makes you feel better, you can shred it when you are done, but this exercise is especially cathartic.
Sometimes we lose touch with our intuition or what our gut is telling us. It is especially true in relationships where there may be emotional abuse or gaslighting going on. If you are repeatedly told you are crazy or you are useless, this starts to become your truth. You stop listening to your intuition, and that can be dangerous.
Start by writing down a question such as, “Is this relationship worth fighting for?” Then sit with it for a while and see what your gut tells you. Relearn how to hear your intuition and listen to it.
- Set aside quiet time in your day to write in your journal
- Let journal time be YOUR time, just relax and enjoy the outlet
- Remember, you don’t have to share your journal with anyone unless you choose to
- Get to know yourself through your journal
- Watch for patterns of negative or self-defeating talk
Types of Journals
There are many types of journals to choose from, right down to a spiral-bound notebook. My favorite is the Moleskin brand, it has a quality feel to the cover and they make both lined and unlined journals. The Strategist just published The Best Notebooks on Amazon According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers in May, so I am going to refer you to that as it seems to be a pretty comprehensive list. No need to reinvent the wheel.
A Final Word
I’m a fan of journaling and mental health awareness. Life isn’t easy; it takes work to keep your ducks from running amuck. Journaling is one small tool you can use to keep your thoughts organized and visible. Writing down thoughts and feelings frees up space in your mind, can increase your focus, and helps to troubleshoot what might be holding you back. Give it a try; what do you have to lose?