As adults, we don’t always allow ourselves time to reflect on life and the thoughts and feelings that go along with it. We tell ourselves we have to focus on the next thing on our never ending to-do-list. Or we inadvertently keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to deal with our emotions.
Unfortunately, this lack of self-care can have a negative impact on your mental health. Much like the diary you kept under your bed as a teen, your journal can be a safe haven, a place where you can gain clarity and control of your daily emotions instead of letting them rule your life. Once you allow journaling to become a habit, it can have a profound effect on your mental health.
Here are 4 unexpected ways that journaling can transform your mental health and improve your life.
- Sleep Better: Getting a more restful night’s sleep is just one way that journaling can benefit your mental health. It’s common to carry a load of worry and stress to bed without even realizing you’re doing it. As your head hits the pillow, every problem and concern from the previous day comes to light making it impossible to sleep. When you start journaling and brain dump your problems, thoughts and feelings onto paper, it takes the weight off your shoulders and your mind, even if it’s only for the night. Pushing pause on those troublesome thoughts racing through your head can greatly improve how fast (and how well) you sleep each night.
- Find Your Voice: Each and every person has a unique inner voice that sometimes gets lost in this crazy chaos called life. By hiding your feelings, not speaking your mind and consistently meetings other’s expectations over your own, you put yourself at risk of forgetting who and what you really are. Journaling can get you back on track by helping you dig deep and awaken a part of yourself that you’d long forgotten – feelings, emotions, likes, dislikes, dreams, goals and so much more. However, it’s not going to happen overnight – the key is to keep writing. Don’t censor yourself and don’t hold back from any thoughts or feelings that keep coming to the surface. Be transparent about your experiences and let your journal be a safe haven for your deepest desires and biggest dreams. Have some patience and you’ll find your way back to YOU in no time.
- Reduce Anxiety: If you’ve struggled with anxiety in the past, you know it can be debilitating when it comes to everyday life. Picking up the habit of journaling can be a great way to manage stress and relieve any anxious thoughts and feelings that come your way. Anxious feeling are often fueled by the uncertainly of what will happen, not so much by what is happening in the present moment. By writing down your worries, stressors, and fears you can delve into them at a deeper level and examine what is really going on beneath the surface. This will help you challenge your thoughts, explore your true options and finally begin to flip the switch on your thinking so you can have a different outlook. Instead of letting anxiety rule you, get it off your chest, out of your head and onto paper. This is the perfect way to take back control and start living life on your own terms.
- Increase your Optimism: We live in a world where it’s easy to fall victim to the gloom and doom mentality without even realising it. We take little things for granted and don’t give nearly enough credit to how beautiful our lives really are. Journaling can help you do just that. Putting pen to paper is a powerful way to shift your perspective and remind you to focus on the good in your life rather than the bad. Take time each day to write about a positive experience or simply take note of a couple things you’re grateful for. By doing this consistently, your journal will become a source of positive energy, a place where you can visit even on the worst of days to bring a smile to your face.
Journaling can benefit you in more ways than one, especially when it comes to maintaining strong mental health. Putting pen to paper can set in motion a mindset shift that will positively impact your life for years to come. If you need a starting point for your journaling, download my free workbook.