5 Ways Journaling Can Improve Your Mental Health

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Effective coping mechanisms are necessary to navigate life for a healthier lifestyle. If you want to relieve stress and improve your mental health, you should start journaling. Just like diet and exercise, journaling is something you should make a priority if you are passionate about your health and wellness. It can positively impact your brain function, and emotional wellness in many ways.

Memory & Logic

In school, do you remember writing down your spelling words? The purpose of this was to help us retain the information for the big test day. In the same way, journaling can improve your ability to remember your past. The act of writing down events in your life can make them easier to understand and, therefore, easier to recall later on. Further, if you write in your journal before sleeping, your subconscious will absorb those memories as you sleep.

When journaling, it also helps to distance yourself from the situation and look at it with the eyes of an outsider. By doing this, you are more likely to see the situation clearly and come up with logical solutions because you are looking purely at the facts.

Growth + Self-Reflection

There are moments that are traumatic and others that are exhilarating. It's not enough to only write out the events, but to journal effectively, you should include how the circumstances make you feel. It can be helpful to keep a record, not only as a way to look back but also as a way to track your progress and prevent certain behaviours and situations in the future. This can boost your mood and reduce anxiety and depression. By acknowledging your feelings, you can define and control them rather than letting them control you.

Boost Creativity

Journaling is unique in that it engages both logical and creative thinking. Writing down dreams is one of the most effective ways to improve your creativity. The subconscious mind communicates through symbols. The colours and structures of your thoughts all have meaning and can inspire art, music and writing. Additionally, as you practice recalling your dreams and writing them down, the more likely you are to remember them. As your dreams become more vivid, you will find you have an increasing amount of material to use to produce something creative.

Express Gratitude

Having a grateful attitude toward life is instrumental to our mental and spiritual wellness. First of all, gratitude can release us from emotional and materialistic chains. The more we practice giving thanks for all that we have, the more satisfying life will become. This can reduce feelings of restlessness, disappointment and depression because instead of needing everything to be one particular way, we can adapt and be grateful for all the positives. As a result, we create happy memories, regardless of our circumstances.

To practice gratitude, start journaling about what you are specifically grateful for. Once you get into this habit, you will also become more aware and appreciative of all the moving parts of life.

Obtaining Goals

Using a journal to set and keep track of goals is proven to increase your likelihood of meeting your goals, whether those goals are fitness-, career- or family-related.

For example, I use my journals to set yearly, monthly, and daily goals. I check in every day, and I ask myself one question: Have I done anything to get me closer to my goals today? Goals can be anything from losing 5 pounds this week to writing a novel this year. This type of journaling can be helpful to your mental health because it keeps you organised and focused. Often, it can also lead you to understand what you want out of life, honestly. What aspects of your personality are you prioritising? Is there anything you wish you were doing? Through goal-setting and journaling, you have the power to unlock your potential.

You can journal when something is bothering you, but it is more valuable to journal regularly. Try to journal every day, for about 15 minutes at first. It's important not to worry about the spelling and grammar because this could hinder the process. Try to write continuously about anything that comes to mind - do not censor yourself. It's for your eyes only; the technicalities are unimportant. Tip: If writing is stressful for you, you can always record your thoughts using a voice recorder.

You can organise your journal any way that helps you. There are even journals out there specifically designed to improve your mental health. Here are three journals that are effective and unique.

Click the images above to be directed to the journal of your choice.

Photos: Amazon + Barnes & Nobles

Although you have many options, you don't need to purchase a fancy journal to begin your journaling journey. Use your computer, loose-leaf paper or a notebook. The most important thing is to take that first step and discover how journaling can improve your mental wellness. Make it a personal commitment. Take care of that beautiful brain of yours.