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Write It Down: Why Journaling Is Useful For Improving Mental Health

Nov 02, 2023
Write It Down

Write It Down: Why Journaling Is Useful For Improving Mental Health

Did you grow up writing secret thoughts and desires in diaries and journals, but let go of the habit as you got older and life took over? While the demands of modern life make it difficult to slow down and process our thoughts and feelings, there are many positive effects of journaling that can improve your mental health and coping abilities.

From increasing awareness to helping you achieve your goals, making it a point to write down what you are feeling can provide a clearer picture of your thoughts on a day-to-day basis, and help make a plan to address any negative patterns that might come up.

To understand the benefits of journaling for your mental health, let’s look at a few reasons why journaling has been proven effective.

Journaling Increases Self-Awareness

In her popular book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron advocates for a journaling method called Morning Pages, where students write down stream-of-consciousness thoughts for 3 pages longhand every morning. 

This is a method of expressive writing, which encourages writing without regard to form or quality of content, in order to simply get your thoughts on the page so you can look back at them and understand why you might be feeling the way you are feeling, 

Expressive writing has been shown to increase self-awareness in its practitioners, and can even help change negative thought patterns and heal symptoms of trauma.

Journaling Helps Process Negative Emotions

Have you ever written a strongly worded email, and by the time you’re finished writing, you find that you aren’t nearly as mad as you were before you started and decide to delete the entire thing? 

Writing down your feelings when you are in the heat of the moment can act as an external check on your emotional processing and can dissipate feelings of anger and sadness before they are expressed outwardly in destructive ways. 

In other words, journaling can help you get a birds-eye-view of the situation before reacting impulsively. 

Journaling Improves Symptoms of Trauma

Journaling has long been used as a method of treating those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While writing about traumatic events can be distressing, long term effects of journaling has been shown to decrease the effects of PTSD and encourage healing in patients through mindful emotional processing and controlled exposure to stressful thoughts.

Journaling has even been shown to reduce physical symptoms of trauma, such as body tension and lack of focus.

Journaling Helps Achieve Goals

You may have heard productivity gurus urging followers to write down their goals every day in order to achieve success. 

While you don’t have to write them down every day, writing down your intentions can keep goals front-of-mind and encourage your brain to think creatively to find ways to achieve them. Even 15 minutes every few days can be helpful.


Whether you decide to write every day to maintain your emotional health, or only during stressful situations, it is clear that journaling provides many physical and psychological benefits for our mood and general outlook on life.