Ready to get help? Our Treatment Consultants are available 24/7.

A woman sitting on a rock while she writes on her journal

The Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health & Healing

Once upon a time, when you were in primary school, you probably filled your notebook with everyday happenings in school, wrote about your crush(es), and drew a couple of hearts here and there.

The humdrum of adulthood typically takes away journaling habits and replaces them with something a little less exciting like writing meeting notes, reminders, and to-do lists.  

Why Should You Keep a Journal? The 5 Main Benefits 

But there are many reasons why you should pick up the habit again or start now if you haven’t tried it before.

You’ll be surprised, but keeping a journal can do a lot of good for you. Take a look at the five major benefits of journaling for your physical, mental, and emotional health!

1. It Boosts Your Immune System

Research says people who journal for at least 20 minutes a day on three to five occasions are able to look at their everyday experiences more coherently, integrate them into their overall view of life, and enable them to create a holistic picture of themselves in relation to the rest of the world.

This positive outlook makes you less vulnerable to anxiety and depression which in turn results in:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved liver and lung function

2.  It Improves Memory and Cognitive Function

When you write in a journal, you’re actually doing two things: recording and processing what happened at a particular time in your life. This allows you to reflect on the details of the event which might otherwise go unremembered. 

It’s sort of like a mental exercise. When you journal regularly, you give your brain the chance to enhance its retrieving, intaking, processing, and retaining power.

This isn’t just a claim—it’s backed by science too. Neurologists agree that the habit of keeping a journal helps the brain focus, boosts long-term memory, and promotes conceptual development and cognitive function.

 A man sitting meditating in a field

3. It Calms Anxiety

Therapy, coaching, and medication are strategies that can be used to battle anxiety. But journaling can help in this regard as well.

When used in conjunction with therapy, writing down your deepest fears can help you unravel the reasons behind those fears. It can teach you how to deconstruct, demystify, and make sense of what you feel.

Certain journaling techniques can even teach you how to notice triggers that lead to anxiety and substance abuse and can empower you to stop them from becoming chronic. Again, this is backed by science. There are studies showing that those who journal experience decreased anxiety and mental distress a month after starting a journal.

4. It Helps in Trauma Recovery

One of the many benefits of journaling is for trauma recovery. 

People who’ve suffered emotional or physical trauma find it hard to deal with their traumatic experiences. So the tendency is to avoid thinking about the experience altogether.

However, avoidance only causes the pain to fester and ultimately damages your mental health. Instead of going through intrusive, repetitive thoughts that don’t have any direction, writing in a journal allows you to confront a difficult experience

Upon the loss of her husband, Jessica Lourey, a writing professor and author, said she needed to convert the pain, package it and ship it off. She said she feels a deep satisfaction in expressing something in writing she couldn’t express before starting to write.

And that’s what journaling does: it enables you to grieve and process the experience so you can become ready to move forward.

5. It Increases Self-Awareness

The act of writing is an opportunity to express and explore your thoughts and feelings. When doing this, you also become self-aware in the process.

And because you gain an understanding of who you are, what you need to do to improve also becomes clearer. Setting goals and visualizing a step-by-step plan on how to achieve them becomes easier which ultimately leads to a higher level of self-confidence. 

How to Start Your Journaling Journey 

If writing doesn’t come easy for you, you can start by practicing 15 to 20 minutes a day.

Pick a time when you can sit down undisturbed. Add it as a regular part of your schedule so you can form a habit. The journaling tips below will help you get started:

  • Don’t just buy any notebook; pick something you really like.
  • Store your journal where you can easily access it to help you stick to the process.
  • Journaling isn’t about writing perfectly, so don’t self-edit! Let your thoughts and feelings flow freely and don’t worry about grammar. Resist the temptation to check what you wrote and let your stream of consciousness take you wherever it wants to go.
  • Don’t know what to write about? It might help to use daily or weekly prompts. Prompts are ideas you can write about to help you focus on a topic and write in a more organized way.
  • Another idea is to use “themes” when you write. For example, if the theme is about gratitude, then you can write something to be grateful for each day. Or you can write about personal growth. If this is your theme for the week, you can focus on your strengths and personal challenges you’d like to overcome.
  • Journaling isn’t always about words—it’s about expression. If you feel like sketching, doodling, or using coloured pencils, feel free to do so!

A person keeping track of their habits in a bullet journal

Get Into The Habit and Reap the Benefits of Journaling 

If you want to reap the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of journaling, make sure to do it two to three times a week. Once you get into the habit, you’ll see the difference!

Although journaling is therapeutic, it can’t replace therapy. If you or someone you love is suffering from mental health issues and/or substance abuse disorders, we can help.

Freedom From Addiction offers a wide range of programs that help our clients cope with mental health issues so they don’t turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution. Get in touch with us today or visit our website to know more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *