lifestyle

My journaling experience and how it’s helped my mental health

It’s no news that I love writing. I’ve posted about it before, participated in Nanowrimo and in camp Nano as well. However, I’ve only talked about my fiction writing. Today, inspired by this amazing post by Cath, I thought I could talk a little about another kind of writing.

Just to put you in context, a couple years back I was diagnosed with a few mental health issues that were making my life pretty difficult. Therapy and medication have been helping quite a bit, put it doesn’t always feel like enough. Sometimes my head was too full, spiraling thoughts that threatened to drown me and my next therapy appointment wasn’t for another week. I didn’t know what to do to make myself feel better in the meantime, to handle my thoughts and organize them into something that could be easier to deal with. And that’s when I first considered journaling.

I’ve always heard that journaling is great for clearing your mind and making sense of your thoughts. I’ve also seen quite a few people claiming that journaling really helped them with their mental health. I was always curious about it, especially because as I said before, I really enjoy writing. But I never tried it, too intimidated by the task, afraid of feeling too vulnerable or that I couldn’t keep up with it or be consistent in any way. Not to mention, it didn’t feel safe to lay all of my thoughts into a notebook that could be picked up and read by anyone. As time passed and my head felt messier by the second, I decided to give it a try with no expectations.

giphy

As it turns out, I love journaling. I don’t write about my day of what I’ve done, I just pour into the page all the thoughts that are circling around my head, making it harder for me to think properly or concentrate on what I’m supposed to do. I also don’t write every day, just when I feel like it. As I continued to do it, I no longer journaled just when I felt like my head was about to explode, I started writing on good days as well. 

It’s been helping me immensely. It helps me clear my mind, organize my thoughts and analyze them. Sometimes it helps me realise that whatever is eating at me is actually pretty insignificant. Or something that I can’t control. It makes me calmer, I feel at peace inside my own mind after shoving my thoughts out through a pen. I also love writing, of course, and like playing music while I journal, so it’s a very pleasant activity. I try not to censor myself while I’m writing, try to just get all the words out, and later reading what I was thinking and why I was thinking that has helped me understand myself and how my mind works so much!

journaling

For me, journaling has become some sort of therapy, a release when my anxiety is too much to bear. I often find that when I’m done writing I feel much lighter, like the pages are now carrying the weight that was previously pressing on me. And contrary to what I used to think, people don’t actually go around opening other people’s journals. Even if I do carry it with me everywhere. Not because I necessarily plan on writing that day, but because I find that having my journal on me makes me feel better. I know that if my thoughts became too much, I could easily write them down. It makes me feel in control, knowing that I got this, that I can quiet my mind instead of letting my panic and anxiety run my life. And on having no expectations that I need to write every day, it doesn’t feel like a chore, but something that I choose to do. Even if I do end up writing every day. 

This post turned out much longer than planned, but I hope it was at least helpful. 

Until next time,

juli

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