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Writing is the Way: The Benefits of Journaling on Mental Health



Journaling is a way to express oneself. All a person’s ideas, emotions, and experiences are placed onto paper as they go about their day-to-day life. Journaling itself may be a simple activity; however, the act of writing everyday can have several benefits for your mental health in the long run. Here are some ways journaling can improve your mental health.


Develops Self-Awareness and Sense of Identity

The goal of journaling is to reflect and document your inner voice as you go about your day. Journaling may even be seen as the act of putting oneself onto paper. Your journal, therefore, becomes a mirror of yourself. You get a sense of your ideas, feelings, abilities, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. As a result, you can form your identity (Kozoil, 2021) and become more aware of the different aspects of yourself.


Facilitates Learning

Journaling is sometimes used as a learning strategy by educators (Miller, 2017). For example, teachers provide guide questions to facilitate the reflection process and set expectations for the class. Then, students use journaling to connect information, review their learnings, and find significance in them. In everyday life, you can use journaling to document your progress as you go through your studies or develop your skills. You can connect your learnings from different aspects of your life, reflect on your current capabilities, and find ways to improve.


Improves Critical Thinking

Journaling could potentially improve your critical thinking skills since it involves lots and lots of reflection (Raterink, 2016). As you mull over your thoughts and experiences, you may ask questions about them, such as “how did this happen?” and “what factors played into this?”, or ask questions about yourself, such as “why do I feel or think this way?” and “what meaning can I get from this?”. Basically, journaling is an opportunity to thoroughly analyze learnings, thoughts, and experiences and interpret them in different ways.


Helps with Problem-Solving

Reflecting on and analyzing yourself and your experiences can help you solve problems at present and in the future. For example, as you are reflecting, you can imagine yourself in different situations and how you will behave in each one (Hiemstra, 2001). If you encountered a problem or difficulty, you could think about what went wrong and what could have been done to avoid or mitigate it. You may also dissect your problems through journaling which can help you process your thoughts and emotions as well as identify its causes and factors. Journaling can essentially help you address your current problems and prepare you for future ones as well.


Provides Catharsis

Sometimes, you may have thoughts or feelings that bother you or weigh you down; however, you may not feel comfortable sharing it to other people. Keeping all these thoughts and feelings bottled up could be harmful to your mental health especially if they add up over time. Through journaling, you can freely express yourself in private and without the fear of judgement from others. You are therefore able to let go of all your angers, frustrations, sadness, and other negative emotions which can reduce your stress and improve your mood. Journaling is even used in therapeutic practice to facilitate the healing process (Kozoli, 2021).


Journaling is a simple and effective way to take care of your mental health. If you want to try out journaling, feel free to grab your devices or a notebook and pen. There is no one reason for journaling, so write about whatever you want, whether it be your own thoughts and feelings, your experiences, your progress, or whatever else comes to mind. It may take time to develop the habit, but even writing a little every day can go a long way.


We at Fidecita wish you the best in your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.



References

Hiemstra, R. (2001). Uses and benefits of journal writing. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(90), 19-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ace.17


Koziol, C. (2021). Journaling’s impact on mental health. UWL Journal of Undergraduate Research, XXIV. https://www.uwlax.edu/urc/jur-online/volume-xxiv-2021/


Miller, L. B. (2017). Review of journaling as a teaching and learning strategy. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 12(1), 39-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.teln.2016.10.004


Raterink, G. (2016). Reflective journaling for critical thinking development in advanced practice registered nurse students. Journal of Nursing Education, 55(2), 101-104. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20160114-08


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