Keeping a journal is a cheap, easy, accessible way to get your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. One of the most incredible things about journaling is that you can do it in any way that feels right to you – whether that means using different colored pens, drawing instead of using words, or making lists. Journaling consistently can be a great way to help you focus on the positive and bring more joy into your life.
When discussing self-care, mental health, and resilience, journaling is one of the most commonly suggested tools, and for a good reason. Journaling can help reduce the symptoms and effects of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, and grief. A study in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Positive Affect Journaling found that journaling positively was associated with “decreased mental distress … increased well-being … less depressive symptoms and anxiety after one month and greater resilience after the first and second month."
While journaling may be usually recommended to help with mental health issues, evidence suggests that journaling can also bring physical benefits to your life. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that expressive writing can benefit those with chronic or severe medical conditions, providing greater immune responses, lesser severity of illness or disease, fewer hospitalizations, and less pain. In addition, journaling can improve your overall resiliency, which helps you recover from challenges frequently and without much difficulty.
While some forms of journaling involve venting every negative emotion and thought onto the page, positive journaling focuses mainly on the positive. It is important to note that positive journaling does not mean that you purposefully ignore the negative, challenging, and sad things happening in your life. Instead, positive journaling allows you to address these difficulties through a positive framework.
A few examples of how you could journal challenging circumstances in a positivity journal include:
Failing an important exam: You can talk about how proud you are of how much you studied, how hard you tried, and make pressure-free steps for how you can prepare to pass your next exam.
Going on a bad date: Instead of seeing it as a wasted opportunity, you can take time to write what you learned about yourself and your needs, wants, and preferences.
Not having a job: Looking for employment can be exhausting. Try journaling about your greatest strengths and what value you can bring to an employer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), journaling frequently can help you solve problems and recognize successes. As you place your thoughts onto the page, you can choose how to reframe them towards positivity and strength.
Along with positive journaling, you can focus on journaling as a way to manage your anxiety. You can print out and use our SokyaHealth Anxiety Journal to help you track your feelings, thoughts, and self-soothing skills whenever you feel anxious throughout the day.
Consistently journaling to track your symptoms can help you identify your triggers, notice patterns, and strengthen your resilience as you work toward making your anxiety much more manageable. If you are working with a therapist, you can bring your worksheet to your sessions so that your therapist can help you identify what's helping, what's hurting, and how to move forward.
You can journal in any way that feels right for your unique needs. Positive journaling can be done anywhere and at anytime. A few of the different ways that you can practice journaling include:
In a notebook: While nice, expensive journals can be luxurious and fun, you do not need a fancy journal to write in. You can journal in an inexpensive journal and still get similar results.
On your phone: Many apps allow you to journal digitally. You can download one of these and place passwords onto them so that you can be assured that your thoughts are private and secure.
With drawings: If you find drawings to be more beneficial to you than words, you can draw focus on drawing the positive, beautiful things that happen to you every day.
What matters most is not the medium but the method. Positive journaling in whatever form can help you lower your stress, manage your anxiety, and seek happiness in your life.
Journaling Is a Practice
At first, journaling can be more complex than you might think. Putting your thoughts down onto paper to confront them head-on can be uncomfortable and scary. If you find that journaling is challenging for you, try to set a goal to journal for at least five minutes every day. Starting with small, realistic goals can help you turn positive journaling into a habit that can enrich your life.
When difficulties arise in life, it can feel impossible to focus on the good. Journaling is an accessible, inexpensive way to organize and formulate your thoughts onto paper. By positive journaling, you can take challenges and hard situations and frame them in a more positive mindset, building your resiliency and self-confidence. Taking time to journal, even for just five minutes a day, can help benefit your emotional and physical health. At SokyaHealth, our licensed therapists provide holistic treatments that treat your mind, body, and soul. We believe in the power that positive journaling can bring. Our team can help you learn how to reframe your thoughts towards a more positive mindset and help you build resiliency as you face challenges in your life. SokyaHealth provides self-care tools, including journaling helps, that are accessible anytime, anywhere through our easily accessible telehealth platform. Call us today at (877) 840-6956 for more information.