Lord Byron once said, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” One of England’s most renowned poets, Byron found most of his catharsis in writing poems. That said, you don’t have to be a poet to reap the mental benefits of writing- you just need your thoughts, a pen and paper. Once you free your mind of clutter and noise, it opens up space for reflection, and that, in turn, can lead to more positive thinking, and an improved mood.
Most of us tend to avoid facing our difficult thoughts and feelings head-on, but this only leads to bigger problems. In reality, the only way to confront challenges is to face them head-to-head, because when you do this, you learn it’s possible to overcome them. This is why writing helps, as it allows you to capture your thoughts on paper, right there in front of you, and when you do that, you literally face them head-on- beginning your journey to a better wellbeing.
Journaling allows you to check in with yourself and unlock your emotions
How many times a day do you ask someone how they are? Whether it’s on the school run, chatting with a colleague at work, or your partner over dinner. You ask because you care and want to know how the other person is feeling. Now, how many times have you asked yourself if you’re okay? Asking yourself if you are okay is just as important as asking others, especially if you’re struggling with negative emotions.
Journalling is a way of checking in with yourself and your happiness, it’s asking if you’re still doing what you need to be or if you need to make any changes. It’s writing down and processing your feelings in a non-judgmental, completely unbiased space. It’s one of the best ways you can support your mental health- and it’s free! It’s a blank page for you to state what’s happening in your life or inside your head, and reflect on it.
Journaling allows you to be honest by creating a safe space for your feelings
Are you honest with yourself? It’s a tough question, and for most of us the answer is probably no. Humanity strives for perfection and this can sometimes make it harder for us to highlight the cracks and downfalls in our lives. But your thoughts are real reflections of your inner-self, and having a personal and confidential space to offload how you feel will allow you to do so in an honest and authentic way.
Sometimes journaling can reveal some feelings you rather you weren’t experiencing. Jealousy, resentment or anger. Just seeing those feelings written in front of you is courageous and forms the all-important first step in doing something about them. Once you see how you feel in front of you, it encourages you to see what action you could take to feel better. Even if you don’t know, simply acknowledging your feelings will be useful, even if you can’t see it at the time.
Journaling allows you to take control by accepting your emotions
Accepting your feelings is a healthy and important part in moving forward. So rather than wasting your energy pushing away emotions, learn to accept them. This is much better than avoiding them and negative emotions tend to lose their destructive power once acceptance takes place. Accepting how you’re feeling means that you can practice letting your emotions be what they are without judging them.
Although writing down negative thoughts and feelings is not a quick fix to get rid of them, it does do several things. First, you proactively take control over something that has burdened you. You establish a more positive, healthier practice into your life. Secondly, over time, writing out your worries will prove that much of what you fear is needless because the worst-case scenarios you worry about never actually happen.
Journaling allows you to become self-aware and look back on how far you’ve come
Self-awareness is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are able to experience ourselves as unique individuals. We are then empowered to make changes like correcting irrational-thinking, making peace with what you can’t control, and increasing your understanding of anxious feelings and triggers.
Through journaling, you can gain so much self-awareness, simply via the dialogue you have between yourself and your writing. Documenting your worries in a journal, and reading them back at a later date can allow you to see a pattern of unnecessary dread, and in time, create new and healthier entries that you relay to yourself. You can see the journey you’ve made, and how far you’ve come.
Journaling allows you to be kind to yourself by having no room for the inner critic
Just as important as it is to be kind to others, it’s equally important to practice kindness towards yourself. This can be achieved through the power of acceptance and growth. Being kind to yourself promotes happiness and confidence and leads to better overall health and wellbeing, so why not welcome that into your life?
Journaling has no place for the inner critic to appear. That persistent, negative voice that lingers in the back of your mind and lets you know all the ways you’re doing things wrong. With journaling there is none of that, it is what it is- no judgements, just kindness. There’s no better kindness you can express to anyone than love and acceptance, and it appears that with just a pen and paper, you can show that kindness to yourself.