It’s time we have some serious conversations about mental health, we might as well talk about why you should journal your thoughts. Keeping a journal sounds a little hormonal-teenage-I-have-a-new-crush right?
That’s okay, no one has to know about it. Have you ever come across a photograph long forgotten, and it brought back a flood of memories? That’s how your future self may feel when they find your journaled thoughts.
There are proven benefits to keeping a journal. A Forbes article goes into detail about the benefits of journaling your thoughts and lists the following benefits:
- It’s a good way to clear your mind. With the daily demand of work, studies, children and so much more. Our minds can swell up with thoughts of what we should have done, what we want to do and what we are going to do. Writing down all these thoughts can be a way to create space in our brains for better thoughts. Look at this like that junk clearing button on your phone.
- Journals can be a safe space for you to express yourself. Creating safe spaces for yourself is a great way to keep a healthy mind. Writing down your thoughts on a blank page can be one of these spaces. The page will not talk back, nor will it throw judgemental glances your way while you bear your deepest thoughts. You can be vulnerable to the person that matters most, you of course.
- Our brains can only remember so much. Your journal can be a way of writing down your experiences as you feel them in that space and time. You will be surprised at how much memory is stirred up by just reading one sentence you may have written maybe months before. This can allow you to see yourself from a fresh perspective too. Making it so much easier to reflect on yourself and see the bigger picture of your life.
- There are surprising benefits to keeping a journal besides just your mental health. Health experts have also found that keeping a journal can help patients with asthma and IBS for example. Writing about your personal trauma can help speed up the process of healing and sometimes finding solutions to complex problems. Sometimes our brains respond better to a more organised way of looking at problems, so listing them out can bring creative solutions.
These are the benefits to journaling your thoughts. Writing the journal itself is a more personal journey. You can start by writing one sentence, or two. This lessens the idea of writing being a task. For those willing to do a bit of writing, Julia Cameron’s Morning Page would be a great option.
This idea is rooted in the stream-of-consciousness, that is writing whatever is on your mind without stopping to think of the what and how. This allows your brain to tap into a more authentic creativity not hindered by your own self-judgement. This is a great method if you are in the business of creative writing.
So let us start taking care of our mental health in the best way we can. Its time journal your thoughts. The when and the how are up to you.
Written by: Sanelisiwe Nyaba