Unleashing Emotional Wellness: The Power of Journaling for Mental Health
The only person who knows you absolutely is yourself! And the best way to know more about yourself is by practising Journaling. A Journal is for noting your personal feelings and thoughts thereby enabling you to work over them and organize them better to get over difficult times.
It is a form of self-care, and not very time-consuming at all. Given the speed at which we are moving nowadays, we need to give importance to our mental wellness as well. Journaling can be creative too. There are no fixed patterns to be followed. You just have to pen your thoughts and feelings as you feel them. No need to spellcheck or grammar check. Just go with the flow of your thoughts! All you need is to write daily and continue with this practice.
Therapeutic Benefits of Journaling
There are various therapeutic benefits of Journaling.
- Meeting goals: When you note down your goals, you can prioritise, thereby making it easier to work towards achieving them.
- Chart progress: You can chart your progress and see how far you have come to achieving your goals.
- Boost self-confidence: Your self-confidence will boost once you see how your journey has been, how you faced the obstacles and how far you have come to reach your goals.
- Improves communication skills: Your writing improves with practice and you become more adept at communicating better. Who knows, you may become an accomplished writer at the end of the day!
- Decreased stress: Writing down the negative feelings and thoughts will help to release them from your system. Once done, you may be able to think better, as you are calmer, and easily get the perfect solution to the nagging problem. In addition to this, it lowers your blood pressure levels, enhances your mood and aids in improving your wellness quotient.
- Enhances Creativity: You can get creative by adding some of your favourite quotes, a couple of sketches, a few doodles, stickers, photographs, newspaper cutouts, hand-made bookmarks, colouring the pages, using colourful pens to write with, sticking buttons/motifs, anything that you want, that your imagination wants. This helps you become more creative with the passage of time.
- Sharpens memory: We generally write down what we want to remember. Writing helps to do away with all negative thoughts and we are left with a working memory. This sends a message to the brain which sharpens our memory.
- Calms mind: Once you are done with your Journaling of the day, you feel much calmer and safer as all the thoughts whether good or bad, are now out of your system. You can now put up your feet and enjoy your favourite coffee and revel in its taste.
- Me-time: The time taken for Journaling is your ‘Me-time”, where you can be yourself and free to give pen to your thoughts and feelings as they flow through you. Just keep writing whatever comes to your mind.
- Prioritise: Journaling helps to prioritise and plan your day ahead and how you want to go about it. This helps in building your discipline and following the path that will take you towards your goals.
- Improves Analytical skills: Once your Journaling is complete, you can read what you have written and analyse it. This will help you to review the matter from another perspective and you can easily find a solution to that nagging problem.
- Improves mental health: Journaling promotes mental wellness as all our suppressed/pent-up feelings and emotions pour out on paper
Exploring the Diverse World of Journaling
In fact, Psychiatrists recommend Journaling to their patients, as an exercise, and this aids them to treat their patients effectively.
You can maintain Journals for just about anything:
- Health/Fitness Journal: You can maintain this with details of your health parameters, your exercise regime, your Zumba session, your Yoga routine, your diet, your medication, your Meditation, your weight loss objective, and all physical activities you engaged in to maintain overall physical wellness.
- Gratitude Journal: You can pen your gratitude towards what you have, what makes you feel good, express gratitude for negative situations that were escaped, mention any events that were surprising which made you feel good, mention the good deed you did, mention how you helped a colleague by filling in for them so she could visit her ailing parents, mention all the positive thoughts that you feel. This promotes positivity and mindfulness.
- Work Journal: Chalk out your tasks on hand, the ways to deal with them, the progress as you complete each task, the lessons learnt while doing so, and mention what mistakes are not to be repeated again – this helps you work efficiently.
- Child Journal: Mention all your thoughts and feelings about your child, how you felt when you were informed that you are going to be a parent, the medical checkups, the prenatal workshops, the diet followed, the exercises done, the mood swings, the irritability, the feeling when your newborn was placed in your arms, the tears of joy, each and everything that you experienced – this promotes happiness when you read back.
- Travel Journal: If you love travelling, this is a great way to document all the places you have travelled to, different cuisines eaten, different monuments visited, various fellow travellers you encountered on the way, interesting tidbits about the places you visited or places you dream of visiting which are in your bucket list. This boosts your self-confidence as you learn to take care of yourself in your travels.
- Food Journal: If you are a Foodie, I bet you will definitely have one of these ! Be it Grandma’s ancient recipes, the details of the tiny shops selling antique silverware/crockery, to the gastronomical delights savoured in different eateries, the ambience of the eatery, the service, the murals adorning the place, to just about everything about the place. This helps as a review to others who may want to dine at the same eatery.
- Dream Journal: This is a record of the dreams that you had last night. This is best written in the morning as soon as you are awake so that the dream is still fresh in your mind. This helps to sharpen your memory and is also a tool used to treat patients undergoing Psychological therapy.
- Music Journal: This is a must for all artists, who love music. Write about the time you acquired your first instrument, your music lessons, your music teacher, your music school, your music degree, your first gig, the long practice sessions, your first paycheck, your new music etc. This boosts your self-confidence as an artiste.
- Dance Journal: Similar to the Music Journal, this traces the journey as a dancer, your practice sessions, your inspiration, your aspirations, your hard work, sweat and tears that will make you a better dancer, and sooner become one of the best dancers.
- Art Journal: This can be very arty and colourful. You can write about or rather sketch, draw, paint, colour, shade, your feelings and thoughts, and mention your inspiration. This promotes growth as an artist as you learn to express yourself through this medium.
- Unsent letters: This involves prompts that advise you to write a letter to yourself when you were a child/ a teenager/ a senior citizen, or to the person you love the most etc. This promotes the expression of feelings and thoughts.
.. and many more…
There are various types of curated Journals available nowadays as people have taken up Journaling seriously. These curated Journals range from all the above topics to even more. The list is very vast! There are cute cue cards and prompts with the Journal that are designed to make this activity enjoyable and interesting.
So whether you opt for a curated Journal or a blank notebook/Journal or your laptop/notepad, remember that Journaling is one of the easier ways to know yourself, your potential, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and evolve. Just keep writing daily and see the magic happen!
To conclude with a saying by Oprah Winfrey “ Keeping a Journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined”.
Author: Ms Rupal Sonpal
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