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The Discovery of Journaling



Journaling is a simple yet effective mental wellness practice that we can all do. Most of us have kept a diary at some stage, the recording of our day to day lives.  Though similar, keeping a journal focuses on writing down your thoughts and emotions.

Our families and friends can provide us with a space to talk and find support. Talking to a therapist also provides a space for self-reflection and personal development.  While valuable, these supports may not always be available to us. Yet we can always journal.

Expressing our thoughts and emotions through journaling allows us to engage in a deeper exploration of our inner self without the need of another person. Self-expression can take many forms, the act of journaling allows us to express what is going on in our inner world, to release the stresses and strains that we are experiencing.

By writing down our feelings and thoughts as they come to us, journaling provides a private space to engage in self reflection, helping to put a structure in place which can help us understand what we are thinking and experiencing.

A person is free to explore anything that comes to their mind, through this self reflection, past trauma and pain can be processed, habits identified and broken and increased mental wellbeing and providing contentment.

Starting a journal

Journaling is a subjective experience, yet keeping it simple at first can help. You can journal whenever you feel you wish to, we all know what time in our week may suit us best. You can do it everyday or a couple of times a week, though the more regular the better.

Journaling can be done on a piece or paper or a blank diary. Some people record their journals on a computer, some on their smart phone. Others even use an audio recorder. Do what ever feels comfortable to you, do what ever suits your tastes.

What should I write when journaling?

Again, this can be what ever you want, self reflection is a personal experience so you decide where you wish to go with it. Feel free to write whatever comes to mind, there is no right or wrong. Use it as a safe space to express what you want to say, what you think.

The benefits of Journaling

Regular journaling can provide many benefits:

·         The act of recording our thoughts and emotions can help us become more aware of the negative patterns in our lives allowing us to change them.

·         Journaling can allow us to explore our anxieties and stresses.

·         Anxiety and stress triggers can be identified and challenged.

·         The act of writing itself can lead to increased creativity and creative thinking.

·         Documenting our daily lives can help us plan for our future and even improve our memories.

·         Allows for the expression of pent up feelings and worries.

·         Increasing emotional wellbeing and calmness.

To be objective of ourselves and our experiences can be a tough thing to do. The trick to journaling is that it allows us to put our experience into an observable form, something tactile that we can review or even reread at later time.


Putting a form to the formless

When we exist in our heads, it can be hard to put a shape to the different thoughts and emotions that we experience. Through the act of journaling, putting these things into word form can help us pin down and put a shape to what we are experiencing. Through this, we can find a greater and more defined understanding of ourselves.

To be objective of ourselves and our experiences can be a tough thing to do. The trick to journaling is that it allows us to put our experience into an observable form, something tactile that we can review or even reread at later time.

Learning who we really are

The act of journaling gives a space where our thoughts and emotions can be expressed without fear and worry of what others may think. This freedom of expression can be valuable place to explore our deepest thoughts and desires, our hopes and dreams and our plans for the future. What we can discover about ourselves through journaling can be invaluable, it can allow us to get in touch with who we really are and what drives us. Journaling can also help us learn the things we wish to challenge about ourselves, helping us to put a name to things about ourselves we wish to change.

Maintaining our mental health

We maintain our body and its health in many different ways, from exercising and eating well, to practicing healthy grooming and proper sleep hygiene. All these things help us maintain a good standard of physical health.

Journaling and self reflection then are two vital tools in maintaining our mental health. Through journaling, we can look at the thoughts and emotions we are having on a day to day basis. This self reflection can help us adopt healthier thinking patterns while weeding out unhelpful ones. It can also allow us to express our pent up emotions, helping to clear them out rather than letting them fester.

Journaling on a regular basis can help maintain and improve our wellbeing and mental health. It is a simple and straight forward practice we can all adapt and make our own. Mental health week gives us all a chance to self reflect, to ask ourselves that question “how is my mental health?”.

No better time to grab a pen and paper to find out.

Written by James Byrne

Centric Mental Health are the leading provider of private mental health services in Ireland and are an Irish owned company. Our team of psychologists and psychotherapists are experts in their fields and offer top notch care to our clients. If you’re like to seek therapy or have any further questions about treatment, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or call us at 01 611 1719.

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