Coping with life’s daily stresses can be hard. Sometimes it can feel like once you get through one storm, the next one is right there waiting for you. One of the most frequent recommendations I give to clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, is journaling. There is a wide range of benefits to journaling and it can be very effective. It isn’t just writing in a dairy or recapping what happened in your day, (although it can be), there are a lot of ways to journal that can reduce the effects of mental illness. Below are some of the many benefits to journaling.
Five Benefits to Journaling
Journaling can slow down racing thoughts:
Naturally, you can’t write as fast as you think, but journaling can slow down those racing thoughts by writing and forcing your thoughts to slow down. I recommend journaling at night, because the majority of people experience racing thoughts at night when they are trying to go to sleep and the business and adrenaline from the day starts to wear off.
Journaling can improve your memory:
Studies show that journaling can improve your memory. The obvious reason may be because you have written something down you can go back and reread it. But does anyone else remember writing out vocabulary words as a kid? We do this so that the information we write down can be obtained easier. As your journaling habits increase, your cognitive reasoning abilities increase as well. Y’all, it really works!
Journaling can boost your mood and reduce stress:
Expressive writing, like journaling is a great way to manage or cope with your stress. Creating a habit of journaling establishes long term benefits that reduce the level of stress, and more importantly how you deal with that stress. Journaling has been proven to have positive effects on your physical health. There is a research study that shows journaling habits leading to lower blood pressure and improved liver functioning.
Journaling increases your emotional intelligence:
Beyond just the benefit of reducing stress and boosting your mood, journaling helps you tune into your emotional well-being. Creating habits of continually checking in with your emotions provide you the opportunity to improve your emotional intelligence or EQ. Journaling engages the creative side of your brain while utilizing the reasoning side of your brain, which naturally unlocks your brain’s full potential.
Journaling reduces symptoms of depression:
Therapists often assign journaling or mindfulness as homework for clients who struggle with anxiety and depression. Mindfulness helps people remain present while keeping perspective. Therefore, journaling helps you express your emotions and regulate them at the same time. This naturally has a positive effect that will boost your self confidence and self-identity.
If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or any other overwhelming feeling I would strongly encourage you to try journaling. There is no shame in it! If you would like some help on where to start with journaling or maybe you are needing other coping skills too, reach out. If you are in the Jacksonville area, there are trained therapist at Family Therapy Associates of Jacksonville that are waiting and willing to help you experience the happiness you deserve.