How Journaling Helps Your Mental & Physical Health During the Pandemic
Disclaimer: Journaling does not replace seeking professional help. If you need assistance from a professional, please don't wait. Act now.
We have all felt the effects of the pandemic for over a year now. Isn't it crazy how the days are long but the weeks and months seem to go by so fast?
Changes in the way we live and work, the loss of a loved one, and the uncertainties of the future have undoubtedly caused us stress. These heartbreaking situations, thoughts, and emotions that arrive will challenge our strength. It's natural to grieve. It's okay to be disappointed. All the range of emotions that we feel from these external and internal stressors are valid.
Although, making the decision to stay overly-stressed and not doing anything about it, is a form of lacking self-love. If we can't separate our pain-filled past from our potential-filled future, we become victim stuck in the thoughts that perpetuate in our head. Thus, we must take the responsibility to take care of ourselves. I invite you to collectively take care of our mental health and physical health together before it's too late.
Journaling is an accessible tool to transform our well-being. Journaling is the act of expressing ourselves by writing or drawing on a physical or digital medium. A consistent journaling practice can help us improve self-awareness, heal, manage stress, set our intentions, and record the life we are experiencing on Earth.
How Journaling Helps Your Mental Health
When our internal world is full of anxiety, sadness, grief, and other unpleasant emotions, we can't show up for ourselves and others in our fullest capacity when we are needed.
To be fair, it's easier to suppress our thoughts and emotions. We have been conditioned to. The majority of us weren't raised by our families or the education system to befriend and manage our internal world. If we continue to blame and say, "It's my parent's fault", "It's my school system that was suboptimal", then we won't really grow. It's also very easy to be distracted and suppress how we feel by finding solace in addiction to social media, eating, and other things.
We can express ourselves in a safe space, like talking to a trusted person or a professional. Although that option may not always be available to us. Our friends and family judge, and consulting a professional can be pricey if we just talk about our daily stress. This is where journaling comes in: it's a more preventive, convenient, and cheaper alternative.
When our mind is just so full of thoughts that it's hard to think clearly. Writing down our thought patterns helps us let them go. After writing and unloading the symptoms, we usually feel calmer. In the right state of mind, we can choose to re-read our writing and explore the way we experience the world, and hopefully, find the root cause of the problem.
A study in 1997 found that writing expressively in a journal does not reduce depressive thoughts, but decreases depressive symptoms. Specifically, if we spend 20-minutes a day writing expressively, a study has found that people with Major Depressive Disorder significantly reduce depression scores.
The type of journaling matters. A study in 2006 asked 3 groups of young adults to either journal, or draw a stressful event, or just write their to-do list twice a week. They found that the biggest decrease in depression, anxiety, and hostility is experienced by the group who journaled.
How Journaling Helps Your Physical Health
As I've conveyed before, journaling reduces stress. As you may have experienced, stress can manifest in your physical body. For me, it shows up as migraine or gastritis. For others, it can be nausea, physical pain in the chest and other things.
There is a lot of research that found the expressive journaling increases our physical health from reduces stress and increasing our immune system.
Patients with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis showed significant improvement when they journal about the stressful event in their lives for 20-minutes within 3 consecutive days. Journaling for four days in a row has also been found to increase antibodies for hepatitis B vaccines even up to two months after the second shot. This might be useful to prepare for your Covid-19 vaccines!
If you are still not convinced, You can read the full list of 83 reasons why journaling benefits you.
How to Start Journaling?
I will offer you this prompt for expressive writing:
If you are looking for more Journaling Prompts to understand yourself more, I offer you our #BeHonest Journal.
The #BeHonest Journal helps ensure you live a life of depth, meaning, and authenticity. This journal helps you release all unpleasant thoughts and emotions. In a world that demands you to be anything but yourself, we guide you on a journey of genuine self-love and acceptance.
You can buy the journals at the following links:
Vulnerable yet courageous together,