Keeping a diary may sound like something straight out of a teen drama, but there are a lot more benefits to journaling then most of us realise. If you’re going through a rough patch and find it hard to keep your spirits up, it might be time to pull out a notebook and pen and jot your thoughts down. Journaling can be a really therapeutic practice and a good tool for sorting out your thoughts – here are some of the reasons why.
It lets you unload your emotional burdens
When you write in your journal, you are acknowledging all the emotions that you experience – some of which you may subconsciously end up repressing. Unlike conversing with others, your stream of thought doesn't get interrupted when you journal, so you are free to unleash all your emotions at one go. Writing out your problems also helps you see it from a different perspective and analyse these feelings from a more objective point of view. When the problems are laid out on paper, it sometimes becomes much easier to think of solutions in a calm, logical manner.
You can write anywhere and anytime
Journaling doesn’t have to be done only at night before you sleep. You can pen down your thoughts whenever you feel emotionally overwhelmed. If carrying a notebook around everywhere isn’t convenient, just write a note in your phone or laptop. In fact, spontaneous and flexible journaling is so much more beneficial than forcing yourself to write at fixed timings. In the latter, you have to hold in your feelings until it’s time to write, and by then it may be hard to properly express what you’re feeling.
Writing stops you from doing things you may end up regretting
How many times have you posted an angst-filled rant on social media or snap at people around you, only to regret it later? Writing your thoughts allows you to release and process your emotions before they escalate and lead to an emotional outburst. It’s hard to control your impulses when you are really upset, but it always helps to calm down before you start to address the issue. Journaling can aid you in this and create a buffer zone, so you won’t end up saying or doing things in the heat of the moment.
It facilitates goal planning
A tangible checklist of what you need to do to achieve your goals makes it much easier to actually get there, as compared to keeping it all in your head and telling yourself “I need to be happier” or “I need to stop worrying about what others think of me”. Writing it down will remind you to keep working on things you want to improve about yourself and allows for better visualisation.
Journaling is a simple hobby that really facilitates the self-help process. The best thing about journaling is how it compels you to face yourself – it provides an avenue for you to be honest in a way that just can't be replicated with anyone else. It doesn’t only have to be done when you’re going through a rough patch and want to get back on track; you can turn it into a lifelong habit to help chart your self-improvement and journey through life!