How Writing and Journaling Can Improve Your Mental Health

Author: 
Brenda Berg
Publication date: 
14 May 2018

Writing has been used as a therapeutic tool for hundreds and hundreds of years, but it’s only since the introduction of computers and smartphones that many of us have started to leave the practice by the wayside.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to pick it back up again. Today, we’re going to explore the benefits that the act of writing can bring to your everyday life and how it can have a positive effect on your mental health.

Getting Started

Firstly, you’re going to want to get yourself a book to keep your journal/diary. However, while there are notable, according to study, benefits to writing with a pen and paper, if you feel more comfortable writing on a Word document, you’re more than welcome too.

Using writing guides, like the ones found at State of Writing and Via Writing, you can learn about to improve your general writing skills which, in turn, will help you to convey your emotions and feelings, as we’ll discuss below.

Start with the Positives

Ideally, you’re going to want to write every single day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. According to Harvard Medical School Health Report, writing about emotions helps to reduce worrying. When you start writing, you don’t want to associate it with being negative mentally, so make sure that you start by writing down the positives of your day.

“There are several ways you can do this, such as writing down something good that happened to you that day, something you’re grateful for that day or just a random positive thought from your day,” shares Don Kenan, a psychologist at Academized, “If you want an advice on how to write positively, or how to portray your feelings, try to avoid negative words and thoughts. If something bad had happened to you, write about the positive income and experience you got from those situations. At first it might be hard but then you’ll get used to it.”

Talk About Your Emotions

Now that you’re off to a good start try talking about the emotions you’ve been feeling throughout your day. It doesn’t matter whether your day was good or bad, just the act of writing it down can help you understand why you felt this way or come to terms with your emotions.

“This is a proven way to help lower your stress levels and increases your overall emotional intelligence since you’ll be verbally communicating your emotions in a safe place where you’re free from judgements. We practice it with our students and see positive effect every day,” says Charlotte Denham, a mental health writer and psychologist at Academadvisor.

Become Observant

One of the biggest problems that come with mental health, especially conditions like anxiety and depression, is the fact that we end up living and listening to what’s going on in our heads, rather than paying attention to the world around us.

Since you’ll be developing the skill of writing, you’ll naturally learn to become more observant throughout the day because you’ll be looking for things to write about later that evening. This is a great way to get out of your head and start living your life to the fullest. According to study, this is also a great way to improve your brain’s memory functions.

Setting Goals

Another prime benefit of keeping a journal is the fact that at the end of your daily entry, you can take the opportunity to set yourself goals for the next day. It doesn’t matter how big or small these goals are, whether you’re trying to get up at a certain time or bring a more positive mind frame into your day.

“By writing out your to-do list in your journal, you’re helping to solidify and visualise the things that you want to achieve the next day, making it far more likely that you’ll make them happen which can be an incredibly rewarding and momentous achievement” says Taylor Harrison, a psychologist at Paper Fellows writing community.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many benefits that writing and keeping a journal/diary can bring into your everyday life. Take the time to really explore yourself and your feelings through your emotions, and you can guarantee that you’ll start to see life in a more positive mind frame in just a few short days.