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8 WAYS IN WHICH WRITING A JOURNAL IMPROVES MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Health is an extremely spoken about, but seldom addressed topic in the social sphere. As mental health is more abstract and less tangible than physical health, recognising ailments gets tougher as compared to diagnosing and treating physical diseases and disorders. Conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect mental health and be detrimental for a person’s overall wellbeing, and disrupt a person’s routine. Problems in mental health have always existed, and so has the stigma attached to them. However, the world is becoming more inclusive, accepting, and aware, and mental health issues are no longer shunned or spoken about behind closed doors.

Of course, the problems lie before us, but how do we arrive at a solution?

This is a question that has frequently puzzled people. Bolstering mental health is all about accepting and managing emotions, identifying symptoms, troubleshooting, and letting the cat out of the bag. The mind often requires a channel to express or vent out pent up feelings and emotions. Like any toxic substance can harm the body if retained, toxic thoughts can harm the brain and hamper productivity greatly, if shut in.

Which is why, writing a diary, or maintaining a journal, proves to be an effective method to address and tackle such problems.

A journal or personal diary is a collection of writings that a person keeps, recording personal insights, events, reflections, questions, or feelings in the written form. Writing a diary helps in more ways than one. Here is a list of eight ways in which writing a journal improves mental health-

1. Stress reduction:

Maintaining a journal helps you reduce the scatter in your life. Life can feel extremely disorganised and chaotic sometimes, which may leave you confused, withdrawn, and down in the dumps. Writing a journal helps you sort out and get a clearer view of the order and fashion of events in your life, thus helping you increase focus on what matters. It also brings stability and offers a deeper level of learning, order, action and release. Often, you would notice that thoughts form and disperse so fast, it’s hard to connect and keep track of what you were pondering about a moment ago. A journal holds thoughts still so they can be changed and integrated, and made better sense of. A journal helps you process your thoughts in a natural and appropriate way, helping you release pent-up thoughts and emotions. It empowers you, and disentangles thoughts and ideas to form an organised and discernible chain and pattern that you could plausibly use. Journal writing bridges inner thinking with outer events, and helps you detach and let go of the past. It allows you to re-experience the past with today's mind, which helps you gain a new perspective, and incorporate changes you could’ve seen through yesterday, into building a better tomorrow.

2. Healing:

Maintaining a journal assists you in healing relationships, healing the past, and dignifies all events, irrespective of whether they held a positive or negative emotion. A diary is honest, trusting, and non-judgmental, and strengthens your sense of self and boosts your confidence and self-worth. It balances and harmonizes your life, and helps you recall and reconstruct past events in a sensible manner. It acts as your own counsellor, and integrates peaks and valleys in life, to soothe troubled memories. It facilitates management of your emotions, such as anger, pride, jealousy, sorrow, hatred, love, joy, and so much more. It furthers your emotional intelligence too. It helps you see yourself as a larger, important, whole and connected being, and leverages therapy sessions for better and faster results. It reveals and tracks patterns and cycles, facilitating the mental healing process, and turns traumas into tales of victory, regaling you with the pride of what you’ve overcome, which eventually constitutes your healing.

3. Assessing yourself and your truth better:

Keeping a journal builds self-confidence and self-knowledge, records the past, and in addition, brings out natural beauty and wisdom. It helps you feel better about yourself, and helps you identify your values. You can read your own mind, and connecting causes to effects, unravel the depths of who you are. A journal reveals outward expression of yet unformed inner impulses. A journal helps you see your life as a story, thus creating mystery and anticipation, and also aids in clarifying thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It unlocks your greater potentials, and by shifting you to the observer, recorder, counsellor level, reveals your processes - how you think, learn, create and use intuition. It creates awareness of beliefs and options so that you can change them, and indulge in self-discovery. A journal reveals different aspects of yourself you possibly didn’t know previously, and also helps you gauge the way and the reasons for people judging and perceiving you the way they do. It helps you see yourself as an individual and connects you to the bigger picture. A journal is a close, intimate, accepting, trusting, caring, honest, non-judgmental, perfect friend. A journal accesses the unconscious, subconscious and super consciousness, and finds the missing pieces and the unsaid, helping rid you of the masks you wear. A journal solves the mysteries of life, and adds meaning and value to it.

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4. Personal growth:

Enabling you to live life to the fullest, maintaining a journal is fun, playful and sometimes humorous. It expresses and creates, and plants seeds of your growth. It starts the sorting and grouping process, and integrates life experiences and learnings. Writing a diary or journal moves you towards wholeness and growth, to who you really are, and creates more results in life, organically and holistically. It explores your spirituality, and focuses and clarifies your desires and needs. It enhances self-expression, career progression, and community wellbeing. It allows you freedom of expression and offers progressive inner momentum to static unrelated events, exercising your mental muscles. A diary improves congruency and integrity, and engenders breakthroughs. You may not be an adept or keen writer, but a diary unfolds the writer in you. It also maximizes time and business efficiency. It helps explore night dreams, day dreams and fantasies, while measuring and tracking what is important.

5. Easier problem solving:

A journal eases the decision-making processes, making it less strenuous and overwhelming. It offers new perspectives, brings things together, shows relationships and wholeness instead of separation. A diary helps you adopt an organised and structured approach towards problem solving, rather than panic and stress about what you would do. It helps you collect yourself, calm your nerves, and think straight. It also helps you document your troubles, and explore plausible solutions without burdening your memory and overloading your senses.

6. It’s flexible and easy:

Journal writing can be applied to clarify any issue in your life. It takes so little time to stop, pay attention and listen to yourself. A journal meets your needs, style, and processing methods. It doesn’t force you to meet anybody’s expectations. It caters to left and right brained people, and has no rules - messiness, typos, poor writing are all allowed and accepted. A journal is often self-starting and motivating and supplies its own energy. No one is forcing you to do it. It isn’t a regular old mundane chore, it is a fun activity that you undertake everyday to remind yourself of a better choice that you made towards your own mental health. Therefore, it is extremely flexible, convenient, and easy.

7. Enhances intuition and creativity:

A diary improves self-trust, helps you gain faith in yourself, and awakens the inner voice. It helps you mute out distractions, and directs intention and discernment. It provides insights and tweaks sensitivity. It interprets your symbols and dreams, and increases your memory of events. It also allows your imagination to run wild, and aids you in interpreting your own imagination, bringing out strange and weird but amazing meanings, and fuels creativity like no other hobby. It also helps you predict the course of your life, analyse and read people better, thus enhancing intuition, as well as creativity.

8. Captures your life story:

Writing a journal teaches you how to write stories. It soothes troubled memories, helps you get a grip, all while making it seem heroic, movie-like, and positive to yourself. A diary acts almost like a mental camera to life, capturing your family, relationships, and your personal story. It stimulates and triggers personal growth. Writing a diary can be one of the best experiences you can gift yourself. It helps you celebrate every little achievement, and take note of and scrutinise every obstacle, helping you gain a better perspective to life.

Writing a diary can drive you to better overall mental health, and promote your feelings rather than get you to hide them. It brings about a change for good, and is definitely something you should give a shot.

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