5 ways to start journaling effectively to boost your mental health
Blame it on my reasonably-long stint as a writer or simply on my immense love for writing, I have always heavily relied on journaling to boost my mental health and to clear any emotional/mental blocks.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as the practice of maintaining a record of news/events/personal feelings in a diary of sorts; but I call it the perfect, safest way to keep all your secrets and maintain sound mental health too.
In fact, several studies including the one conducted at the Harvard Medical School found journaling to be a super-effective way of easing stress, trauma, and anxiety. Another study conducted at the University of Chicago touted this practice as the perfect way to vent out your feelings, minus the fear of the world knowing about it ever.
If, by now you’re convinced about beginning to pen down your feelings in your own secret diary for the sake of your mental health, here’s how you can take the plunge and do it effectively:
1. Don’t play by the rules
Let’s not forget that the real idea behind writing your feelings is to vent out in a healthy way. So, don’t pressurize yourself to write something in your diary every day.
I mean, you really don’t want to dig yourself deeper unnecessarily, even when you’re in a good mood—just for the sake of writing something in that diary, right? Do it when you feel like and do it only if it makes you feel any better.
2. Writing is not the only way
If unlike me, writing doesn’t excite you, you can count on voice recorders to speak about your feelings and record them or simply draw out your emotions on the digital screen or a scrapbook.
Come on! We live in the age of technology, which is also a part of the reason our mental health is deteriorating. So, why not use it to our advantage, now? Just don’t forget to put up an app lock if you wish for those voice recordings to be a secret.
3. Keep your journal handy
Turning to your journal in times of need can really stop you from making an impulsive decision that you might regret later. Hence, keeping a journal in your bag/near your desk/in your bedside drawer/close to you always can help you count on it easily when you need to vent out.
Easy accessibility to the journal might even help you form a habit of penning down your feelings regularly.
4. Use them as a means to convey those unexpressed feelings
We all have someone in our lives, we wish to say so much to, but just can’t muster up the courage, owing to the circumstances. However, keeping those unsaid words inside will only make you more frustrated and thus, you can use your journal to write a letter to the person you wish to say things to.
Sending or not sending it is totally your call. But the unsent letters will also make you feel way better.
5. Don’t forget to review your journal too
If you’re particularly stressed, anxious or depressed, writing about your feelings when these problems are at their peak and reading that record later when you’re in a better mood and state of mind can help you reflect on your feelings, identify your triggers, and enable you to manage your emotions better. After all, reading about the past can help you plan a better future, right?
So, try these ways and let us know how they worked out for you in the comments below.