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Penning Positivity: How Journaling Supercharges Mental Health

Written by Iman Mansoor



Grab your pens or keyboards and get ready to journal your way to bliss! We're diving into the wild world of diary-keeping, where scribbles and doodles aren't just for kids.  In this article, we’ll go over why journaling is beneficial for practicing mindfulness and fostering self-awareness and self-compassion.                                                                                      



Mental health
Mental health

You’ve probably noticed that after a long day, it’s a lot harder to deal with your emotions and thoughts using the same rationality and attention you’d been able to apply when you’d been better rested. Just like you need energy to go on a run, even mental acts require energy from the brain. Think of your brain as a water bottle and the water inside as the energy your brain needs to function at its best. Sleep is the ultimate water faucet in this case. Sleep allows your brain to clear waste products, process the information obtained during awake hours, and allows both your mind and body to recharge. The pressures and stressors of the day are like little pins that poke the water bottle and cause it to leak, using up the energy. You begin feeling both mentally and physically drained, making you more prone to rash decisions, irritability, and emotional outbursts. When these feelings of exhaustion and stress become chronic, it becomes harder to find motivation to perform daily activities which can eventually lead to burnout. So how can journaling help?


All these feelings of stress and anxiety have a mental toll and take up the energy for the brain’s cognitive functioning. The more worried you are about trying to complete one task in the future, the more likely it is to impair your performance on another, which can in turn increase your overall stress. Simply writing down your feelings or even the tasks you are trying to complete can help ease the burden on your mind because you have mentally sorted and externalized your thoughts. In fact, not only does this help you become more self-aware and in tune with your mental and physical needs, but it also improves your productivity as you have freed up some of the energy in your mind. In such a way, journaling helps you foster self-care and practice mindfulness. You will be able to recognize a trend in your concerns and worries, understand how you can work through them, and gain a better understanding of yourself.     

         

There is scientific evidence suggesting that the practice of journalling or keeping a diary can even bring positive changes to your physical health and immune system. While that’s quite the combination with the benefits to mental health, what makes this even more interesting is that there isn’t any right or wrong way to go about journaling! Just as your mind is unique to you, expressive writing allows you to release your emotions and thoughts in a safe place that is suited best for you. So go ahead and write, be it self-affirmations, stories, poetry, or even a rant, let out those bottled up emotions!




References


Allen, J. (2022, November 9). Self-care is listening to all of our emotions. The Minds Journal; Minds Journal. https://themindsjournal.com/quotes/self-care-is-listening-self-love-quotes/

Find people. (2017, September 14). For worriers, expressive writing cools brain on stressful tasks. MSUToday | Michigan State University. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/for-worriers-expressive-writing-cools-brain-on-stressful-tasks

Intelligent Change. (2020, October 7). Benefits of journaling: The science and philosophy behind keeping a diary. Intelligent Change. https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/read/benefits-of-journaling





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