Journaling your way to happiness
March 27, 2023
Journaling sounds recreational for some and drudgery for others. However, writing down thoughts, feelings, and daily aspects of everyday life has been shown to help improve well-being. I have personally experienced the benefits of journaling on my well-being.
Research shows that journaling has many benefits, including stress relief and managing anxiety and depression. With this, we can also learn about ourselves from our daily events and responses, so we can detect patterns, behaviors, and emotions by rereading our journals. Researchers have found that people who journaled that had disorders such as anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found it to be an effective practice for their health. Also, it has led to better well-being and can boost other healthy routines like exercise, having a sleep schedule, and keeping to a nutritional diet.
Given these benefits, how do we go about journaling?
Journaling is helpful when it is regular but does not have to be done daily. Structure matters less in journaling. The free flow of writing down your experiences or problems is more important. Here are some tips that I have found helpful:
- Find a physical or electronic journal that you like
- Sit in a comfortable place with minimal distractions
- Write about things that matter to you
- Write as much as you can when you can
- Ask yourself questions and explore who you are through your journal: growth is a big part of journaling, and by doing these things, you can learn more about your identity.
As someone who has struggled with mental health, I have looked to many ways to try and find a healthy release. I was introduced to the idea of journaling as a child, but like most of us, I did not develop the habit until I was a senior in high school. As I took to this, it became an outlet for my life stressors. I found that the more I journaled, the better I felt in my day-to-day life. I became more positive, my focus improved, and I became more understanding of my feelings and the people I encountered daily.
Journaling is messy and unpredictable, but it can have a large reward in what it can do for your well-being. I hope this encourages you to start journaling your way to happiness.
Jaeda Carpenter is a freshman at Purdue University. She is currently in Exploratory Studies but is on her way to majoring in Psychological Sciences. Her hobbies include reading, watching Gilmore girls and Friends, drinking coffee and listening to music.
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