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Mental Health Benefits of Journaling

Mental Health Benefits of Journaling Image

Are you looking for a daily practice that will help you live a happier and more authentic life? Then look no further than journaling!

BENEFITS OF JOURNALING

Journaling helps you process your emotions and learn more about yourself. If you tend to get caught up in your head about stuff, writing it down will help you step away from the citation and get some perspective.

Things always seem a lot scarier when it is right in front of you. By journaling about what is going on in your life, and in your head, you can step away, assess the situation, and come up with a solution!

Studies have shown that a journaling practice can significantly lower symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When you keep things bottled up in your head, it’s easy for one little thought to spiral into a meltdown of catastrophic proportions. We’ve all been there. Maybe someone cut you off in traffic or your friend said they couldn’t hang out because it had been a long week and they needed some self-care time. Then, you sat there thinking that your friend doesn’t like you anymore, and maybe no one likes you, and actually, everyone hates you, and there is no point in going on.

Or, perhaps you made a mistake at work today and you’ve gone down a shame spiral. You got home and started telling yourself that you aren’t good enough for your job and you are dumb. Everybody knows it and you are going to get fired soon.

When you write it out, it seems a little over the top. But, sometimes our minds get carried away. Writing things down will help you avoid irrational reactions and keep on going strong!

NOT YOUR TEENAGE JOURNAL

Before I started journaling, the thought of it made me think of a sixteen-year-old girl professing her love for the boy who smiled at her in the hallways.

And, well it’s kind of the same concept. Except you probably have other problems you help working through now!

The great thing about journaling is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You could write a recap of your whole day if you want. Your journal is a place where you can express your feelings, thoughts, worries, and dreams. You can write for as little or long as you want.

YOUR JOURNAL IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE!

Not sure how to start? Here are some tips to help you get going. Play around with different styles and find what works for you!

HOW TO START JOURNALING

STEP 1: Get a journal!

Rather than just grabbing a piece of paper from the printer or writing in your work notebook, get a journal just for this purpose. Let it be a safe space for you to work through whatever you need.

Or, if you are more of an everything-on-the-phone type of person, you can make a journal entry by just sending a text to your Take2Minutes account… More on that later!

STEP 2: Start writing!

That’s it. There are just two steps. Not too bad. Huh?

I know that getting started can be hard. If you are not sure what to write, don’t worry, there are lots of tools to help get the ball rolling.

Here are a few!

1. Use a journal prompt

There are TONS of resources out there to get prompts that will help guide your writing sessions.

You can set up your Take2minutes account to send you journal prompts daily that you can respond to right on your phone. This is a great way to get started if you have trouble making the time to sit down and write.

If pen & paper is more your style, you can still request the prompts and just go ahead and start writing about it in your journal. There are also a handful of books and Instagram accounts with thousands of journal prompts. A quick google search will do the trick too.

2. Stream of consciousness writing

Try not to censor yourself when you write. The point is to get a wholesome picture of what is going on in your life, your head, and your emotions. If you keep yourself from writing something because you think it is wrong or embarrassing, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Set a timer and don’t stop writing until the beeper goes off. When you find yourself unsure of what to write, just scribble out the first thing that pops into your head. Maybe it’s “I really like donuts.” Or, “Traffic makes me mad.” Whatever it might be, just keep writing.

You are not trying to write a beautiful poem or comprehensive article. It is more important than you are just getting your thoughts out on paper. I am a professional writer, but you wouldn’t guess it if you were judging my skills based on my journal! That’s the great thing about it– no one is ever going to read it except me.

Just keep writing and see what comes out. You may surprise yourself by writing out something that you didn’t even realize you were feeling.

3. Turn it positive!

If you need to take out your frustrations on your journal, then by all means don’t let me stand in your way. However, don’t get consumed by the negative things in your life. Focusing on writing out the positive things will help improve your mood by shifting your focus to all the amazing things that you have going on in your life!

Gratitude journaling has been proven to help improve mental health, so give it a shot! Take2minutes makes it super easy to improve your day by expressing gratitude. Just send a text to the number starting with “I am grateful for…” and your entry will be automatically saved to your account!

4. Set some time aside

Starting a new habit can be hard. Decide exactly when you are going to journal and set aside 5-30 minutes. Sit down, maybe turn on some relaxing music, and get writing.

I challenge you to journal every day for a month and witness the amazing shifts in your mental health and well being!

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