Live a little better every day

Start now! Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your inbox

A woman ponders while writing in her journal and drinking orange juice.

Written Emotions: How Journaling Heals Mental Blocks

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which brings more awareness to mental health and the fact that it is just as important as physical health. As a society, we are growing increasingly aware of just how important our mental health is, but as individuals, we may not always know the best way to achieve it.

Therapy is an activity that most people only think when considering trying to achieve better mental health, but there are many ways to help foster mental health from the comfort of your own home. One of the easiest, most affordable methods for mental health care is journaling.

When you think of journaling, you may envision a bright pink diary with a lock on the side — the kind you saw around in grade school. But journaling is just as much of a grown-up activity as any other, especially when you consider the benefits of journaling.

Journaling Can:

Provide Clarity

Sometimes we can feel in a funk without knowing what is bothering us. This can be frustrating. By simply opening up your journal and putting the pen to the paper, you’re allowing yourself to explore your emotions and find out where they might be coming from. Start by stating your emotions or feelings and then question where they are coming from. During this process, you may even discover feelings you didn’t even know you had and provide the clarity that was missing before.

Reduce Fear

The scariest monsters are always the ones we haven’t seen yet or don’t know by name. When you give a name or an image to a scary concept, it can become more manageable. Journaling provides a safe, healthy space for you to confront the things that give you anxiety or cause fear by allowing yourself to write about your deepest fears, anxieties, or emotional triggers. This will reduce their power over you! You’re calling your fear out, giving it a name, and letting it know that you won’t back down in its presence. By picking up a journal and deciding to explore the scarier feelings, you’re setting an intention to overcome these fears.

Stay on Track

We all have desires and goals we would like to achieve, even if they look a little different on the surface. Whether you’re trying to earn a promotion, stop eating junk food, start exercising, keep journaling, or stop drinking, journaling can help you keep track of your progress.

Manage Stress & Depression

Sometimes, we just need an outlet for our feelings. Though it can feel nice to share our emotions with others, the act often comes with unwanted advice or the feeling of being misunderstood. When you explore your emotions within the confines of a journal, you don’t have to worry about anything other than expressing yourself. Psychologist and researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, James Pennebaker, says that writing about upsetting experiences can help you move past them and calls journaling an effective “stress management tool.” So when you have an appropriate, healthy outlet for stress and depression, they don’t have the same opportunity to build up and multiply within your mental space.

How to Start Journaling

Journaling can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. If you’re like the author of this article you may find yourself obsessed with notebooks, collecting as many of them as humanly possible and dedicating each one for a specific, unique journaling purpose. It doesn’t have to be complicated, if the multiple journal idea stresses you out, you can use a simple composition notebook from the drugstore. Whether you choose a colorful, fancy journal or a simple, inexpensive notebook is up to you. What matters is that you can feel enough of a connection to your journal that you want to spend time with it.

Some people like to date their journals and write in chronological order. Some people just open their notebooks up and start writing about whatever’s on their mind. You may feel enjoy forming your feelings into poems, or rather, creating an art journal and turning your emotions into a visual masterpiece. Your journal should reflect you and your style: If you prefer a straightforward method, open up the cover and let the words flow. If you’re more methodical and artistic, grab your favorite gel pens and washi tapes and plan your inked attack.

In Conclusion…

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that this is not yet another area of your life where you get to be harsh and critical and self-judgmental. This process is not about finding fault; It’s about freeing yourself from the endless barrage of self-criticism that many of us experience. It doesn’t matter if your handwriting is pretty or your word choice is eloquent, journaling is about expressing yourself from the inside out and embracing any (and all) flaws that manifest.

Mental health is not perfection. There will not be a magical time where you are suddenly 100% mentally healthy and no longer have to work on mental health care; It’s an ongoing process that demands a gentle demeanor. Journaling is just one simple, effective, inexpensive method for maintaining and promoting mental health care.

So, find an old notebook that’s collecting dust on your bookshelf, or head to your local bookstore and buy the journal that most clearly speaks to you, pick up a pen, and start writing. You got this!

Related Article: How to Take the First Steps Towards Healthier Habits

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

You May Also Like

A Meditation to Find Your Inner Happiness Mind
A Meditation to Find Your Inner Happiness
Tense Relationships? Try These Tips to Ease the Stress Mind
Tense Relationships? Try These Tips to Ease the Stress
Feed Your Body Friday: Chickpea, Celery, & Apple Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette Body
Feed Your Body Friday: Chickpea, Celery, & Apple Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette
Dancing With The Divine: How To Tap Into Your Divine Feminine Soul
Dancing With The Divine: How To Tap Into Your Divine Feminine

Next Article