7th October 2022
Growing up, we were exposed to the idea of keeping a diary as kids or teenagers. These diaries would serve as important(and top secret) documentation of our lives and were meant for our eyes only. Diaries or journals were a safe space to articulate our struggles, fears and feelings without the fear of judgement or punishment.
In adulthood, most of us have long abandoned the practice of maintaining a diary. However, the concept and its benefits are still relevant today, perhaps more than ever before. The information overload of modern-day life coupled with the stresses and anxiety that it can induce often leads to mental health issues in several individuals. If you, at some point in your life have struggled with stress management, depression or anxiety, journalling for wellness can be a great idea. Writing in a journal can help you understand your own emotions better and improve your overall mental health.
Recent studies have shown that journalling about our deepest thoughts and feelings can even reduce the number of sick days we take! In the past, numerous studies have been conducted, with findings indicating that journaling is an extremely effective practice for self-regulating mental health and managing persistent symptoms of depression, anxiety and other related conditions.
Journaling has gained a lot of popularity in the recent past as an effective technique of treating clients who are experiencing anxiety. Articulating one’s emotions through journaling can help discover more helpful responses to stressful situations. (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Ford et al., 2018)
According to research, expressive writing and gratitude journaling can mitigate symptoms of depression while also providing effective intervention for clients who are receiving treatments as a part of therapy. Like with anxiety, these interventions appeared to be more effective when conducted over periods lasting longer than 30 days.
Studies have found that journaling can support and lower the impact of stressful events on individuals. It has been suggested that journaling can also help avoid burnout and chronic anxiety. Studies have successfully demonstrated the connection between writing about stressful events with decreased mental distress
It’s well known that it is difficult to have a clear perspective when we are stressed, tired or upset. Depression, anxiety and stress can make it hard to view our own situation and emotions objectively. Journalling can help us create the space and distance needed to reflect on what has happened and how we can manage it.
Journaling helps by creating enough cognitive defusion by helping us examine our thoughts from the perspective of an ‘outsider’ - this helps us create the separation needed to accept our feelings and commit to the changes or adjustments that we need to make.
Studies also suggest that journaling and expressive writing can greatly help those dealing with PTSD or other similar emotional trauma. Other finds have also confirmed journaling as a valuable tool that can aid in recovery from addiction.