As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life, we have launched this blog series dedicated entirely to different areas of mental wellness. These blogs are based on a mental wellness initiative that we have started within our communities for our residents entitled “Recharge Your Battery”. This initiative focuses on mental wellness strategies and equips our associates with the tools they need to check in with our residents and to address any needs, just as we would with physical health.
For today’s topic, we’ll be focusing on journaling. You might be wondering how writing in a journal can have a significant impact on your mental health. After all, it’s just putting some words on a page—how much can that really do for you?
It turns out that this simple practice can do a lot, especially for those struggling with mental illness or striving towards more positive mental health. Journaling requires the application of the analytical, rational left side of the brain; while your left hemisphere is occupied, your right hemisphere is given the freedom to wander and play. Allowing your creativity to flourish and expand can be cathartic and make a big difference in your daily well-being.
Benefits of expressive writing include:
- A lifted mood and spirit
- An enhanced sense of well-being
- Reduced symptoms of depression
- Reduced intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma
- Improving your working memory
To set yourself up for journaling success, we recommend that you:
- Write in a private, personalized space that is free from distractions.
- Write at least three or four times total and aim for writing consistently (i.e., once a day).
- Give yourself time to reflect and balance yourself after writing.
- If you’re writing to overcome trauma, don’t feel obligated to write about a specific traumatic event—journal about what feels right in the moment.
- Structure the writing however it feels right to you.
- Keep your journal private; it’s for your eyes only.
If you’re looking to get started journaling today, we suggest the following prompts to give you a starting point.
- Write about a difficult time in your life that you overcame – remember how you felt throughout the journey and where you gained strength and what the adversity taught you.
- Describe how you want your life to look in the coming years – be as specific as possible and write out your goals to make this dream attainable.
- What are somethings you are thankful for? Expressing gratitude is a wonderful habit and there are so many small things in life that we all take for granted.
- Write about some life moments where you were blissfully happy. What was happening? Describe these moments in as much detail as you can.
As you continue to write, the skill will start to come to you more naturally and you will find that it is a wonderful way to get your thoughts on paper. Again, journaling is for your eyes only so feel free to express whatever best serves you. Happy journaling!