The Top 10 Mental Benefits of Journaling
Journaling is a wonderful way to supplement treatment because it is one habit that can be done during treatment and for the duration of one’s life. Finding healthy habits to incorporate into your life after treatment is an ideal way to ensure long-term recovery from addiction or illness. While journaling is helpful to individuals in treatment, it can be beneficial for anyone to do on a regular, on-going basis. Here, we’ll look at ten benefits anyone can experience from regular journaling:
- Problem-solving. Journaling promotes problem-solving by helping people to sort through their own thoughts versus emotions. When experiencing a problem, it is likely emotions are running high, which can cloud judgment. Journaling helps to organize thoughts, specify facts and compartmentalize emotions so a problem’s solution can become more clear. Some people use journaling for exclusively this reason after experiencing this benefit.
- Healing. Journaling promotes healing by providing a private outlet for our deepest thoughts and struggles. Journaling about our most personal concerns, from infertility to drug addiction, can lead to great insight and self-awareness about the matter. Writing down the feelings regarding troublesome times can help identify triggers, facts and misconceptions in a way we never thought about before writing them down. Through emotional journaling, healing can take place.
- Intelligence. Writing is long-said to be a promoter and catalyst of intelligence levels. The self-generating language and reading what is written is an excellent combination to increase cognition and enhance brain function. People who journal regularly may feel more clear and focused throughout the day and more able to tackle other responsibilities because of this increased brain function and intelligence.
- Emotional Intelligence. In addition to improved brain function, journaling also enhances emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a term used to refer to our own perception of emotions in ourselves and others. People with high emotional intelligence are less susceptible to mood swings or irritability because they are able to more quickly identify the root of any unpleasant emotions, and, therefore, solve the problem accordingly.
- Creativity. Journaling never looks the same between two people. Some people’s journals look like lists, while others’ looks like an artist’s sketchpad. Journaling can be any combination of words, symbols and drawings. Deciding which words to use, how to format your journal and even what to draw is a form of creative expression. Using creative expression in addition to self-reflection is a healthy and effective way to increase one’s creativity in general.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness seems to be an “it word” lately, but it is truly important to understand. Mindfulness is a term used to describe a person actively thinking and being aware of their current thoughts, without anxiety about the future or worry about the past. Mindfulness is thought to boost happiness and overall satisfaction. Journaling can help focus the mind and keep it from wandering during the exercise, but regular journaling can help promote this focus in all areas of life.
- Memory Boost. Journaling can boost one’s memory by providing insight on the past and present. Having a running record of daily life or important life events, can not only boost our memory, but it can also increase our comprehension of the happenings. Scientists say there is a special relationship between the brain and hand, so when you write something down, it is more likely you will remember it than if you simply said it aloud or just thought about it.
- Communication Skills. Have you ever heard someone suggest writing something down before saying it aloud? Maybe it’s a speech or maybe it’s something emotionally-charged to say to a loved one, but it is widely regarded as helpful to write something down so you can communicate it more effectively. Journaling can help promote better speech by routinely practicing writing in the first-person and considering yourself in other situations.
- Goal-setting. Many people use journals as a way to track progress in achieving goals. Planners work in similar ways, and people may even write down checkboxes to indicate daily goals. Studies show that writing goals down ensures better results when compared to people who only think or talk about their goals. It is unknown exactly why writing goals down helps us to achieve them, but we’ll use it as an effective strategy nonetheless!
- Confidence. Journaling can cause you to re-experience situations, feelings and thoughts you otherwise would’ve forgotten about or repressed. However, reliving positive experiences can help you to experience happy hormones, or endorphins, which boost your confidence. Additionally, keeping a written record of your own achievements and goal-setting can serve as a confidence-booster to reflect on in times of self-doubt or insecurity.
Journaling can have positive effects on anyone, regardless of if they are in recovery for addiction or not. Try your hand at journaling, and see where it leads you.