Journaling as a tool for mental wellbeing
Written by Josefin Söderby.
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a cycle of repetitive thoughts, leading to feelings of anxiety and stress that are hard to shake off? Or perhaps you struggle with feeling, understanding or articulating your inner emotions? If so, journaling might be a good tool for you.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help to clarify and organize them, providing a concrete and understandable outlet for self-expression. Even if you're not sure where to start, simply putting pen to paper can open the floodgates, allowing your thoughts to flow freely and become clearer in front of you.
What is journaling?
Journaling is a practice that allows you to express your thoughts and emotions in a safe and private space. It can be done in various forms such as free writing, prompts, bullet journaling, and more. Regardless of the form, journaling allows you to explore and understand your thoughts and emotions, creating a sense of clarity and self-awareness.
Through journaling, you can identify patterns in your thoughts and emotions. For example, if you consistently write about feeling anxious or stressed, you may start to recognize the triggers that contribute to those feelings. This insight can help you to develop coping strategies and manage your emotions in a healthier way.
How can it help emotionally and physically?
Journaling has numerous benefits for one's emotional and psychological well-being. It can help you to organize your thoughts and emotions, improve your mood, and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Additionally, journaling can aid in recognizing patterns in behavior and emotions, and help develop effective strategies for coping with difficult situations. Regular journaling can be a powerful tool for personal growth and self-improvement.
Research has shown that journaling for as little as 20 minutes a day can have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Not only can it provide a space for emotional expression and reflection, but it has also been linked to improved immune system functioning and a reduced risk of illness.
Wondering where to start?
Getting started with journaling can be overwhelming, especially if you're dealing with anxiety. One way to ease into it is by choosing a journal with prompts, such as a gratitude or morning journal. There are many options available, so consider finding one that resonates with you. Here are some examples.
Remember your notebook will have all of your thoughts and feelings within so choose with your heart and treat yourself to a good pen. Choose a time or setting that works for you during the day, whether it's in the morning, at night, or when you're feeling stressed. The key is to find a consistent practice that works for you, but don't put too much pressure on yourself to journal every day. Use it as a helpful tool rather than a chore.
My journaling practice as a yoga teacher
Journaling has been a transformative and almost magical practice for me, one that I find myself returning to time and time again. It was introduced to me on the first yoga retreat I attended and today it is one of my most important ways of practicing yoga in everyday life and Satya, being true to myself and others.
I make it a habit to journal daily after my morning routine, which I like to think of as my personal grounding time. During these moments of writing, I allow myself to explore and express whatever I am feeling in that exact moment. This helps me gain insight into my state of mind and adjust my pace for the day accordingly. Sahara Rose Ketabi's Yogic Path Journal really helped to get a consistency in journaling every day. It is an excellent daily journal that spans the course of one year. I found it particularly helpful in establishing a daily habit of self-reflection at the start and end of each day.
In addition to daily journaling, I also take time to write about bigger topics such as dreams, manifestations, or life changes, especially around new or full moons, since that resonates with me. Whenever I feel like I need guidance or simply want to tap into my inner wisdom, I turn to my journal as my own personal therapist. I recommend this practice to everyone, regardless of their spirituality or background. All you need is the desire to cultivate inner awareness and a willingness to embrace your emotions as a part of your journey.
Photos and text: Josefin Söderby