Journaling can improve mental health and wellness

Writing down your thoughts once a day can help you gain control of your emotions

A woman holds a pen and notepad on her lap, in a portrait of journaling

The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult period of transition that has disrupted day-to-day activities. However, research shows that regularly writing down what’s on your mind can help you release emotions and make sense of what’s going on in your life. Journaling also can help improve your relationships with others, lower your blood pressure and decrease symptoms of depression.

There’s no ‘write’ way

There are many different ways to go about journaling. You can write about your thoughts and feelings. Or you could use your journal to help problem-solve. Try taking a big problem that you’re facing and then make a list, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts that you can tackle one at a time so the issue no longer feels so overwhelming.

You could also journal by jotting down a few things you’re grateful for. Shifting your focus from your daily hassles to gratitude can help lower stress, improve your mood, boost the quality of your sleep and even reduce inflammation in your body, studies show.

How to journal

  • Try to write every day. Set aside a few minutes every day to write. This will help you to write in your journal regularly.
  • Make it easy. Keep a pen and paper handy at all times. Then when you want to write down your thoughts, you can. You can also keep a journal in a computer file.
  • Write whatever feels right. Your journal doesn’t need to follow any certain structure. It’s your own private place to discuss whatever you want. Let the words flow freely. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes or what other people might think.
  • Use your journal as you see fit. You don’t have to share your journal with anyone. If you do want to share some of your thoughts with trusted friends and loved ones, you could show them parts of your journal.

The key is finding what feels best for you. To make journaling a part of your daily routine, try linking it with a habit that you already do. For example, after brushing your teeth in the morning or in the evening, take a few minutes to write in your journal. Over time, writing will become just as automatic — and beneficial — as reaching for your toothbrush.

Keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time. It’s a time when you can de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing, maybe with a cup of tea. Look forward to your journaling time. And know that you’re doing something good for your mind and body.

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Posted In Behavioral Health, Coronavirus, Healthy Living, Wellness

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