Remember those times when you were a teenager? You may have kept a diary hidden under your pillow so nobody can find out about your real emotions. Writing your thoughts in that diary was a form of therapy, where you would get all of those feelings and thoughts out of your head. You felt like someone was listening to you and it immediately felt better.
You may have stopped using your diary once you reached adulthood for one or another reason. Some of us stop sharing our thoughts on paper as we grow up because we may think it’s stupid or because we think others might judge us if they find out. Some people stop journaling because they don’t have enough time or motivation.
However, journaling or “keeping a diary” is one of the most effective and cheapest forms of therapy. If you struggle with anxiety, stress, depression or some other mental issue, journaling can be a great solution for you.
Does Journaling Help Anxiety?
Journaling is one of the most recommended anxiety management tools that can have a significant effect on one’s mental health. According to one study, journaling helps reduce anxiety and stress, as well as contributes to overall well-being.
What Should I Journal About For Anxiety?
It can be challenging to start journaling about your anxiety if you don’t know where to start. Typically, people use some journaling prompts for anxiety to get started with expressing their anxious emotions on paper. Check out our article on 30+ best journaling prompts for anxiety if you’d like to start right away.
Another great way to keep a habit of journaling for anxiety is to use a guided notebook, like Therabook.
How Does Journaling Reduce Stress?
Journaling is known to help people become aware of their thoughts and find clarity about certain mental health challenges they face. The practice of writing your anxious thoughts down on paper helps to take a step back and “observe” them. This helps you to not get caught up in your emotions and analyze your feelings in a more structured and calmer way.
In addition, journaling about certain traumatic events can help process them by letting go of the pent-up emotions. This allows us to observe some stressful situations from a different angle and potentially find a positive side to them.
What Does Journaling Do To The Brain?
A lot of data has been collected in relation to what effect journaling has on brain activity. According to psychologists from UCLA, journaling can improve cognitive functions and reduce anxiety. They’ve studied brain imaging of people during journaling practice. The research showed that the experience of writing down feelings on paper can minimize the effect of trauma.
Another study analyzed chronic worries and how journaling impacts their condition. The scientists measured the activity when chronic worries were expressing their emotions on paper. The results of the study showed that expressive writing can help reduce anxiety.
Benefits of Journaling For Anxiety
Journaling is highly beneficial not only for people that are facing certain mental health issues but also for people that would like to improve their well-being and become more aware. Below, we discuss some of the benefits journaling can have for people that struggle with anxiety.
Helps with overthinking
Whenever a certain traumatic event occurs, some people tend to overthink its importance. This creates a lot of negative emotions around it and triggers anxious feelings. Journaling about such an event can help process it, analyze it and see it from a more realistic point of view.
Helps with reducing anxiety and stress
As we’ve mentioned before, journaling is an excellent tool to use to manage anxiety. One of the studies found that journaling for just 15 minutes three days a week for 12 week-period can help reduce the intensity of anxious feelings.
Helps create awareness
Putting your thoughts down on paper can help you feel grounded and present. Regular practice of journaling about stressful situations in your life can help you find alternative ways of thinking about the events and find positive solutions.
Helps manage emotions
According to one of the abovementioned studies, people who wrote about their feelings were able to control their emotions better in comparison to people that wrote about some neutral experience in their lives.
Helps with finding support
Sharing emotions with someone is not easy, that’s why people that journal about their emotions first are more open to then reaching out to other people for support. Finding a support group can help with mental healing and establishing new relationships.
Helps improve physical health
Physical well-being is yet another one of the benefits of journaling for anxiety. Journaling can help speed up physical healing, according to a study from New Zealand. During this research, 49 adults who wrote about their emotions about stressful events healed faster than those who wrote about their daily activities.
Helps improve immunity
Writing about your emotions can help strengthen your immunity, according to a study published by the Cambridge University Press. Expressive writing helped people decrease symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improve liver function and fight certain diseases.
Helps with mood
By expressing your emotions regularly on paper, you can become calmer and happier.
How To Journal Effectively
Now that you know about all the benefits of journaling for anxiety, you probably wonder where to start. If you are unsure of how to start journaling, read our article “How to journal effectively?”. There, we discuss the ins and outs of journaling for beginners.