There’s no denying that the past year has affected everyone’s mental health in some capacity. According to NCHS, in June 2020, 41% of adults were reported to struggle with anxiety, depression, and stress in the wake of the global pandemic. These are staggering figures which can only be explained by the ensuing social distancing and fear of COVID-19 and its effects on everyday life.
With 2020 behind us, it’s time to take back control over our mental health reigns and start living our lives somewhat normally again. Journaling is one of the best ways to do so and to overcome the depression, stress, and anxiety of living in this day and age. Let’s discuss the benefits of journaling and why you should pick up this deceptively simple yet helpful hobby in 2021.
Signs Which Point Toward Stress and Depression
People can be their own worst enemies when it comes to taking care of their well-being. You might be going through depression, suffer anxiety or PTSD, and still be unaware of it happening. According to Health Line, here are the signs which you should look for in yourself and your loved ones and act on them immediately:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid breathing and panic attacks
- Weakened immune system
- Poor productivity or motivation to do anything
- Prone to irritability and verbal fights
Depression, stress, and anxiety can manifest in various ways depending on your age, lifestyle, and professional life. Taking up journaling as one of the mechanisms to fight these issues is extremely important, especially in the early days of not feeling like you. How exactly can journaling help you overcome these thoughts and become a better version of yourself?
1. Journaling Improves your Physical Wellbeing
It’s easy to forget that physical and mental health often go hand in hand – how you think is how you feel. According to the American Psychological Association, journaling can improve your body’s immune system and help heal your stress and mental trauma more quickly and effectively.
Writing for only 20 minutes each day and expressing your inner thoughts on paper is extremely helpful in overcoming innate anxieties. In turn, this will make you feel more comfortable in your own body, motivating you to go out more and to start exercising.
2. Journaling Helps Contextualize your Life
We are often unaware of the struggles we face until someone tells us that yes, our life is difficult at the moment. Journaling can help put your experiences into perspective and make it easier to handle difficult moments in your life. Contextualizing your life in a written format will determine how you think about yourself and what you are going through more objectively.
Writing shapes thinking positively, and you can enrich your journal with small doodles and illustrations with colorful pens and stickers. This will help you look at your life experiences through a more positive lens and help you find objective ways to move forward.
3. Journaling Boosts your Sociability
Depression, stress, and anxiety often manifest in self-isolation and lack of communication with the outside world. With social distancing still in effect across the world, that fact is even more true. Journaling, however, can help people open up about how they feel and what bothers them in unique ways.
You can use journaling as a vent, a channel with which to speak the things you’d want others to understand about you. This will cause you to open up to others more and talk about what’s bothering you, sharing your thoughts with another person in the process.
4. Journaling Stabilizes your Sleeping Schedule
Sleeping properly every night is essential to taking control of your life back. Based on a medical study, journaling before and after sleep can have drastic effects on the quality of rest received from sleeping thereafter. Spending even 5 minutes journaling before and after sleeping will anchor your sleep schedule and make it easier to relax and rest.
Being well-rested and fully awake during the day will dramatically improve your mood, productivity and reduce stress along the way. Whether you create to-do lists for the next day, jot down your experiences from the day or write down what you’ve dreamt of, start journaling.
5. Journaling Improves your Memory
Forgetfulness is a symptom of living in a fully digital age where everything is available at the press of a button. However, it can also manifest during the depression and cause you to lose track of time and feel bad about your inability to remember simple things.
Journaling can help battle that and allow your memorization abilities to improve over time. Don’t be ashamed of writing down what you’ve had for breakfast today or what you’ve spoken about with a friend only yesterday. Write and subsequently read through your journal to get a better sense of time, improve your memory and plan your days more effectively.
6. Journaling to Set Personal Goals
Since many work from home due to the global pandemic, it can be very difficult to start any personal or professional development. Stagnation and inertia can lead to depression and anxiety about the future as a result. Instead of letting go of control, you can retake your life through journaling about what you want to accomplish. SMART is one of the most approachable and objective methods for setting goals that are easy to track daily.
These goals can be anything from fixing the sink in the kitchen, reading for an hour each day, or ordering groceries for the week. Small goals that you can track and jot down in your journal will help you re-contextualize your day-to-day life. In turn, the feeling of depression will fade away as you look at your journal and realize how much work and development you’ve done.
7. Journaling Assists in Processing Trauma
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest in different ways depending on someone’s personality. Based on Psychology Today, journaling can reduce one’s stress and anxiety levels significantly, contributing to the processing of traumatic events. Putting trauma on paper and processing it through visual stimuli has helped the research participants come to terms with reality and find positive silver linings.
COVID-19 has led many of us down the path of depressive tendencies and anxiety, and writing a journal can alleviate the accumulated stress and trauma. This will open the doors for you to find your silver linings or upsides to the traumatic thoughts you are going through.
Journaling as a Way of Getting Better
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to depression and anxiety – we are all unique in our way. Journaling can thus take many shapes, and you can write essays, create goals or draw about your experiences.
Grab a notebook and several pens and markers – start describing your thoughts in words, and you will gain a much-needed different perspective on your feelings. Things can get better, and journaling will help you get much closer to your better self, shedding away depression, stress, and anxiety in doing so.
Estelle Liotard is a writer, editor, and proofreader with years of experience in the digital content creation industry. Estelle hones her writing skills through high-quality articles, case studies, and resources written with a practical and approachable tone of voice. She is an academic-level writer with contributions that can be seen in <a href=”https://bestwritingadvisor.com/rush-essay-reviews”><strong>rushessay </strong></a> as she writes academic papers in her spare time. Estelle’s passion is also in life-long learning, reading, and outdoor exercise.
Estelle Liotard is a writer, editor, and proofreader with years of experience in the digital content creation industry. Estelle hones her writing skills through high-quality articles, case studies, and resources written with a practical and approachable tone of voice. She is an academic-level writer with contributions that can be seen in essayassiatnt.org as she writes academic papers in her spare time. Estelle’s passion is also in life-long learning, reading, and outdoor exercise.