The Benefits of Journaling
By: Kelly D'Souza
I remember my overly decorated diary which had a lock on it. The safest place to write down secrets and experiences of how it made me feel. Somewhere between keeping the key to that diary safe and running out of pages, I grew up. I completely let go of that practice. Now I’m 20 something, browsing through posts that remind me of the practice of journaling. One post was uploaded by our Conscious Counselling Instagram page. It said “I’ve got 99 problems and writing it down in the journal solved 87.” It made me realize that it's been a long time since I journaled my experiences, and remembering all the benefits writing down my feelings had on my overall well-being.
I’m going to start journaling again to experiment how it works for me. But before I decided to start it, I also looked up some research which all of you might find useful. Studies have shown that journaling can reduce depressive symptoms (Lepore, 1997). Journaling has been beneficial to students and adolescents by enhancing their self-efficacy and giving them a healthy sense of control over their life. (Fritson, 2008). Overall, writing down our thoughts and feelings can help us make sense of them and the process of writing them down or speaking them out loud can be very therapeutic.
There are a number of techniques and ways to practice journaling. As a beginner, I’m not going to focus too much on the techniques. The few basic steps I’m going to start with for a couple of weeks are:
1) Staying committed by writing every day.
2) Not pressuring myself or overthinking about the structure.
3) Writing whatever I feel like – personal experience, gratitude notes, anxious thoughts.
I am looking forward to the experience of writing down my feelings, thoughts, notes of gratitude. It also feels like a safe place to begin with, in terms of opening up.
We’d like to know more about your experiences and styles of journaling. You can reach out to us via email or on any of our social media accounts. Stay tuned for more on Journaling.
Lepore, S. J. (1997). Expressive writing moderates the relation between intrusive thoughts and depressive symptom. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1030-1037. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1990
Fritson. K. K. (2008). Impact of journaling on students’ self-efficacy and locus of control. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 3, 75-83. doi:10.1037/e741342011-010