Why Journaling For Mental Health Works

Journaling used to have a different feel as a kid.

Fictional characters were plastered on television screens scribbling in bedazzled diaries and sparking the obsession to write about yourself. Over the years though and with technological advances, the energy put into writing a diary shifted to the computer screen as blogs took their prime seat on the internet.

While blogging is therapeutic in its own right, we know now that writing by hand in a journal has a completely different impact on your mind. In fact, journaling has been proven as an effective method of aiding your mental health. 

How It Works

Let’s start at the beginning with retention. When you write by hand, you are processing the words and information at a different rate than you would when you type.

According to BBC Work Life, “Researchers have found that note-taking associated with keyboarding involves taking notes verbatim in a way that does not involve processing information, and so have called this “non-generative” note-taking. By contrast, taking notes by hand involves cognitive engagement in summarising, paraphrasing, organising, concept and vocabulary mapping — in short, manipulating and transforming information that leads to deeper understanding.”

Let’s take it one step further: Writing by hand itself is calming.

Hop onto Instagram and take a look at any #PlannerAddict hashtag and you’re bound to stumble upon beautiful journal and planner posts. The process of journaling can be adapted as an art form - art therapy. 

What are the overall benefits of journaling?

Now that you understand the finer points of the act of journaling, you’re ready for the general benefits that come with it. You may not realize it now, but by journaling, you’re creating your own emotional and mental relief kit.

  • Journaling can reduce your anxiety. Studies have shown that journaling consistently can reduce mental distress, creating more room for a better sense of wellbeing and pushing out symptoms of depression. Because of this, journaling is considered an effective method of stress management.
  • Journaling can help break emotional cycles. It’s easy to get stuck in a certain feeling or replays that are weighing heavily on your mind. Journaling can shift the vibe and act as a distraction from these feelings so that you can seize an opportunity to reclaim control of your day.
  • Journaling helps you process and regulate your emotions. This is especially true for people who learn through writing and reading. Sometimes you need to face your problems and anguish - literally - to fully understand them. Writing about how you feel can work towards healing. Additionally, when you write about your emotions, it can be a cathartic experience that gives you a creative way to vent and release your emotions you have locked up.
  • Journaling can improve your immune system. When your stress is properly managed, your immune system doesn’t take a hit as frequently. Remember, excessive stress is linked to physical impacts in the long term! Your health relies on your mind.

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Image Credits:
@alrence.trinona
@alwayseryka

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