If you’ve ever been to therapy, it’s likely that someone has recommended for you to journal or write things down, and there are some good reasons why. First of all, a pen and a piece of paper are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to emotional journeys or stress-filled lives. There is something beautiful that happens to the mind when a pen and paper collide. There used to be a time when writing in diaries was a given; it was just something most people did. Today, I would find it hard pressed to find any great leader that hasn’t jotted down their thoughts or their hearts on paper on a regular basis. It truly soothes the soul and brings clarity and peace to the mind.
If you’ve found yourself in the middle of turmoil, tough decisions, the haunting of past hurts, the grips of depression, or the burden of constant worry and anxiety, can I just take a moment, as a therapist, to recommend that you journal? Go ahead and find a nice journal, one that fits who you are, then get your favorite kind of pen or pencil, and spot out a relaxing location. It will be worth your time, and let me tell you why.
Writing is good for your health. Writing through the struggles of any physical pain or illness actually strengthens your immune cells called T-lymphocytes. It allows you to handle the stressors of disease and illness, which, in turn, has a positive impact on your health. But since we’re here for your mental health, you should know all of the emotional benefits, too. Whenever you write something down, you use your “left brain”–that’s the analytical and rational side. While this side of your brain is busy, it frees up the more creative “right brain” and allows it to do its thing–create. In a sense, writing brings out the best of both sides of your brain and encourages them to work together. So, if you’re ever at a loss for words because of all the chaos in your head, picking up a pen will take the jumbled up mess, begin to unravel it like a big ball of yarn, and weave it into something beautiful.
Writing in a journal also allows you to understand yourself better and get to know the real you. Having a confidential journal allows you to pour your heart out and feel safe doing so. You will quickly have greater clarity about the problems in your life. You will clearly see the people that pour into your life or take from you. Writing brings to the surface all the things that are important to you; it touches on your passions and highlights what makes you angry. When you write about your emotions, you can connect to them on a deeper level and actually process through them, rather than have them linger on that circular track in your mind. It’s as if you derail the track and the emotions flow right off of it and down through your pen to be released into the world. It takes the tension of many emotions and trades it out for clarity and calm. The clarity that comes with journaling is undeniable. It helps you see clearly to solve problems, whether it be in your relationships, your job, or even deep rooted family issues and pain. Journaling allows you to talk to yourself and listen at the same time.
Are you ready? Are you ready to allow yourself the mere 20 minutes or so a day to dump your emotions, achieve calmness and clarity, and begin to start living with peace and passion again? Free up your mind, and make space for what you love and for what’s important to you. Make mistakes as you write, cross things out, have run on sentences and improper punctuation. It’s the act of writing that is important, not the outcome of it. Your journal won’t judge you, and it may prove to be the cheapest therapy session you’ll ever have.
Pick up your pen and write. Your heart and your mind are waiting.
Blessings my friends,