Writing and journaling is a powerful tool to help work through emotions and care for your mental health during stressful times. Research shows that writing for 15 minutes a day for four consecutive days can have beneficial effects on our immune system, sleep patterns, anxiety, depression, and even arthritis. Truthfully, journaling can look different for everyone and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. Below, are some different ways that journaling can be useful.
Keeping a Record
This type of journaling is similar to having a diary and keeping a daily log of events. This style can be extremely effective in combating gaslighting or in trying to document abuse or experiences for a custody case. It is important when doing this kind of journaling to keep your safety in mind and assess whether or how to keep a journal.
Journaling can be a safe way to process traumatic events. While it may be tempting to bury or ignore your feelings, this isn’t sustainable in the long term. Translating thoughts into words changes how our brain thinks about things so this can act as a great way to process emotions and what happened.
If you are preparing to leave a partner or a dangerous situation, journaling can help you keep track of what steps are necessary to help you leave safely. For example, in what ways are you currently unsafe? What obstacles are there to being safe? How can you plan around those challenges? Although a journal can be a helpful tool, it can also be dangerous if it gets into your partner’s hands. For this reason, it is crucial that you keep your journal in a safe place.
If you struggle with anxious thoughts, one way that can help you deal with this is the “brain dump” strategy. This is when you simply write everything down that’s bothering you as quickly as possible, in whatever format, without judging your writing. Writing down your thoughts can force your brain to bring them to completion, instead of spiraling out. Seeing everything on paper may also make things seem more manageable, and allow you to start planning instead of worrying.
Credits to: loveisrespect.org