Those of us that grew up without social media, smartphones, tablets and personal computers did have a way that we were able to express ourselves. Call it “old school,” primitive or old fashioned, we had what was called a "Diary” and it worked for us. Whether it was an official, fancy covered diary, or a cheap, spiral bound notebook, a diary was a great way to write down feelings, thoughts, and log our experiences. And we kept it PRIVATE!! Well, unless a sibling, parent, or friend decided to take it upon themselves to pry into our personal business. Diaries still exist today but the modern term for them now is “journals.” Whether you journal about your life on paper, or make it open to the world in a blog, there is a very real sense of mental clarity one finds when putting their thoughts down on paper (or on a computer screen).
Journaling, keeping a diary, blogging, or writing therapy, whatever you choose to call it, is a very helpful process for anyone in any stage of life. And, just in case you are feeling unskilled or unprepared when it comes to writing things, it’s SO EASY!! You aren’t trying to pen the greatest American novel, you are just writing down your thoughts and feelings for YOU! You don’t have to show it to anyone (unless you want to) or publish it anywhere, it’s just an easy, personal outlet for you to put your own deepest thoughts, feelings and emotions down for yourself. Still not sure where to start? Not a problem! Think through these pointers:
As we go through seasons of life, especially ones where multiple things are going on at one time, it is quite common to not be able to pinpoint exactly how we feel about something because there are multiple things going on. This is another reason journaling is so good for your mental health. Taking the time to write out your feelings and thoughts actually shows you what those thoughts and feelings are, especially when you are having a hard time trying to figure them out. In fact, journaling isn’t just a good hobby, psychologists refer to it as Writing Therapy, and consider it an important type of therapy. Journaling, writing therapy, keeping a diary, blogging, or whatever you choose to call it, there are many benefits to journaling, such as:
As much as we like books and movies about other people, their lives and their stories, there are parts of our own story that are just for us. Parts for us to see, to learn from, to grow from, to cherish. Your own narrative is your choice. You get to decide what you want others to know and learn about you. And, after you have been journaling for a while, see the value in self reflection, growth and understanding, maybe you will want parts of your story to be known to help others who will one day walk through similar paths of life that you have. As helpful as writing therapy is, it can’t take the place of counseling or therapy when we find we need help with our mental health. If you find you need the help of a professional we encourage you to find one in your area. Everyone struggles with something. Isn’t is encouraging to know that something as simple as keeping a journal can unlock truths about ourselves that can make positive changes and growth for us in our lives! Pen to paper, finger to keyboard, can unlock great potential!
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