For centuries, humans have kept some type of journal or diary of life’s events and their emotions, using it as a therapeutic form of self expression. Journaling is a way of remaining present while keeping perspective by supporting emotional catharsis and regulation.
The mind can be a chaotic space, overloaded with various information, thoughts, and emotions. A single pen and a piece of paper can lead to relief, reduced anxiety, clarification and greater self-awareness. Therapists have identified journal writing as one of the most efficient stress management techniques. By allowing the mind and soul to interconnect, thoughts and feelings can be articulated when verbal communication creates a barrier to resolution.
Journal writing has many short and long-term effects on one’s mind, body and soul. Physiological effects of journal writing include (but are not limited to) decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels by controlling stress hormones, faster closure during a grieving process, and released emotional tension. Journaling is a form of meditation that helps to calm and declutter the mind while supporting a healthy release of stuck, uncomfortable emotions.
Journaling can have an indirect impact on our relationships. Strengthening our self-awareness helps to facilitate change by helping us to identify destructive patterns and habits. Reflecting on days, weeks, and months of expressions and confessions inevitably highlights our learned problematic behaviors and helps us to observe and track our growth.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. In fact, all you need is a notebook, pen, and (ideally) a quiet, uninterrupted space. Don’t forget that it is important to write about both the good and bad in order to effectively track your healing process.