This week is all about raising awareness in the area of mental health. So, are you aware of your own mental wellbeing? Sometimes it's easier to just accept life's difficulties and survive them, rather than to challenge them and use this awareness to thrive. This can be easier said than done, so instead of trying to speak about them, write them down first. We often have so many thoughts swimming around our heads that it can be hard to work out what is actually going on up there. Journal keeping is now seen by many as a useful tool to help solidify your observations and feelings for the day, as well as capturing your dreams and aspirations for the future.
Not convinced? Here are just some of the reasons to grab a pen and paper and jot your thoughts down in a journal.
More open to mindfulnessThere’s a strong link between happiness and mindfulness and as keeping a journal focuses your mind very much on the present, it can make you happier. When you write things down, past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge and cease to occupy precious mind-space.
Programmed to achieveWe’ve said a number of times about the importance of writing things down if you want to actually achieve them. Keeping a journal encourages you to crystalise your hopes, dreams and ambitions. Once articulated, they become real – and once real, they, in turn, become easier to achieve. In your head, dreams may seem fanciful and unattainable; once in black and white you're more likely to believe in your own ability to achieve them.
Emotionally awareEmotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Keeping a journal provides us with an outlet for exploring our emotions, which increases self-awareness. Once we're more aware of our own emotions and how to manage them, we are more likely to better understand others, which enables us to be more empathetic and build stronger relationships with others.
Self-disciplinedSetting time aside to write every day is an act of discipline. Plus the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Once the writing habit is formed, you’ll find it easier to stick to routines elsewhere in your daily routine too. If you write in the morning it will set you up for the afternoon; if you prefer to write in the afternoon, you’ll be keener to keep to your morning schedule so that your writing time isn’t interrupted.
Keener to communicateYou'll be amazed at how your journal keeping will help you to better communicate with others on a verbal level too. As your ability to write down what you're thinking becomes easier, so does your ability to speak with confidence. You’ll also find that your desire to communicate with others increases as you have more to talk about – even if it’s only to glean content to write about in your journal!
HealingThere are many who believe that writing down our troubles is the first step on the journey towards healing. Stress and sadness often come from an inability to process our feelings or through over-thinking hypothetical events and situations. Being able to articulate our emotions, provides us with a release and frees our mind. From this clarity comes calm and this is when the healing can start.
This blog post on PsychCentral suggests that writing for around 20 minutes a day is all it takes to release the health benefits. So, what are you waiting for?