The concept of journaling and writing in a diary at the end of every day is not one that is new to the world we live in today. While some people have a stop-start relationship with their journals or diaries, others write consistently at the beginning or end of each day. The practise of journaling or writing for oneself may initially start off as a task that must be ticked off a list every day, but over time, there are many who find that there are several benefits to journaling and personal writing.
To begin with, personal writing can be extremely freeing. For one, your thoughts are something that are completely your own. No one in the outside world has access to them, and so writing them down or typing them out can provide you with a sense of release. If you choose to journal or write down your thoughts every now and then, you may be surprised by how much ideas there are in your head, and how many thoughts there are that you haven’t expressed out loud before. Ordinary life is full of trials and various problems that can sometimes become too difficult to deal with, and you may find that you have no outlet to express your frustrations and worries. A journal is a great place to start.
By choosing to write down your thoughts in a book or in a file on your phone or computer, you are also creating a space that is purely for your own expression. This journal or file is yours, and it is a space that is free of judgement because there is no one else that has access to it. There may have been times when you chose to open up to another person, but you may not have gotten the response that you had hoped for, or that person may not have listened to you in the way that you had initially hoped they would. The space that you created for yourself in the form of a journal is yours. This means that you are also free to express certain things that you may not be able to express otherwise, out loud.
In creating a safe space for yourself in the form of a journal, you can begin to document how you feel and clear your mind, even if it’s just for a little while.
Your mind is a space that can sometimes feel as though it is overflowing with thoughts and worries. Sometimes, by simply writing down how you feel, you are clearing out some of the clutter in your mind and expressing your feelings in a place that is empty and free from whatever is bothering you. You may even discover additional feelings that you didn’t realise were inside your head until you wrote them down. By clearing your mind as you write things down and express whatever you are feeling, you could be relieving some of the worry that you feel, while allowing your mind to relax, even if it is just for a short amount of time.
If you have a lot on your plate, and a lot on your mind all the time, writing in a journal can also help organize your thoughts a little better. In the same way that a messy desk can inhibit your productivity, a cluttered mind can inhibit you from functioning as well as you normally would otherwise. You may even find that if your thoughts are disorganized, you may forget certain important tasks that need to be finished, or you may even forget to do simple things like drink water and stay hydrated. Therefore, by writing things down, you can also create lists of tasks that you can refer to later on in the future while calming your mind down by freeing it from a variety of thoughts and difficulties.
The phrase ‘calming your mind’ can sometimes sound like a slogan that is hung in the waiting room of a spa. Aside from treating yourself to a massage and some aroma therapy, you can also relieve stress by taking 10 to 15 minutes to write down how you feel at the end of every day. If you cannot find the time at the end of each day, pick 4 days a week to write in your journal. In the same way that you would set time aside to watch Netflix and unwind, set a few minutes away on those specific days to sit alone and jot down how you have been feeling. Write down whatever you want, such as things that have been bothering you, things that made your day from bad to really good, or things that you are confused about.
As mentioned before, your journal is a safe space, one that you have chosen to use for yourself. Therefore, by choosing to use it as place for expression, you can also use it as a place that relieves tension and stress. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a place where you write about only the negativities or stresses in your life, but if that is where you choose to start, feel free to just write.
You may be able to find a way to work through some problems by confronting them on paper. Writing, as a form, is something that is so freeing. This may sound cliché, but the pen is mightier than the sword. Using your words and the act of writing to confront certain problems that are bothering you is a good way to start sorting out what you would like to do with said problems. You could simply start by weighing out the pros and cons of that particular problem, and then decide what direction you would like to go in with regards to the problem. After writing down whatever is it that you wanted to deal with, you may find that the simple act of writing ended up with you making peace with the things that were bothering you for a very long time.
The journal that you use is something that is just for you. The world we live in has turned self-care into a brand and a hashtag on social media, and it seems to have forgotten that taking care of oneself is more than just a face mask and a post on Instagram. By choosing to take care of yourself and your mental health at a level that is deeply personal and more meaningful than what is shown online, you are proving that self-care is more than what the majority assumes it to be.