For as long as I can remember, writing has been therapeutic to me. I can remember as early as about age 8, I would write poems, often about how I was feeling. In fact, I still have some of my old "notebooks" that now, I realize were journals. It can be hard to get words out and to verbalize feelings and emotions, it can also leave us feeling more vulnerable. In journaling we are able to get our words out in a different way, while still expressing feelings, emotions, yet often without feeling as vulnerable.
Sometimes when I bring up journaling to clients in therapy they roll their eyes, but I assure you there's something to it. It doesn't matter if it's pen to paper, or keys to a keyboard, getting it out can be and often is helpful. We may often journal different aspects of our lives, travel journals, goal journals, journals with wishes and dreams, prayers, gratitude, or, as brain dumps to simply get it all out.
Journaling can help us keep our thoughts organized! we think about so many things, it's no wonder sometimes our thoughts get jumbled and can be confusing to navigate. We can also compartmentalize things differently if we can see them and get them out of our cluttered minds. Not to mention if we are writing we are improving our skills of writing and getting things out and down on paper (or into a word document or app).
A journal is a great place to write your goals, to break them down into more realistic and attainable goals. To plan ahead as to what's needed, why it's our goal in the first place, and to note progress along the way. Celebrating and noticing all accomplishments, all progress, and how far you've come since setting and starting that initial goal. We can write about ambitions and aspirations, and the struggles that may come with them, or as I like to call them, bumps in the road on the journey we call life.
Another great thing about writing or journaling is that as ideas fill our brain throughout the day we can make note of them, Maybe it's an idea for a kids book, a weekend plan, a conversation you want to have and how to start it, whatever it is, we often forget or get interrupted as we take in so much new information each day. Write it down and come back to it later! Writing can also help us be more creative, sometimes it's nice to let your mind run free. We all have creativity within us, sometimes as we get older, it get's lost in translation.
Journaling also allows us to reflect on how we are doing, our overall well-being. You might note your mental or emotional state, how you feel, and why. You might note how you physically feel, and maybe you will notice how close your physical and mental well-being are connected. I mentioned earlier a "brain dump" I often use this with clients who are struggling to get things out, perhaps they are dysregulated, but not always. Writing everything you are thinking or feeling out so that it no longer owns you and you can get it off your chest. It can release fears, anxieties, pains, uncomfortable emotions, frustrations, and irritability. Writing it down is a great way to release tension.
The other part I want to mention, is that writing it down can help with memory! We often store the information that we write down, we can pull it from our mind faster, allowing your mind to make stronger connections, it becomes easier to recall things.
So, now you see there are so many wonderful benefits to journaling, writing it out, getting it out. I hope you will consider trying, or at least not rolling your eyes the next time someone mentions journaling to you.