5 Benefits of Journaling
Hi friends - I'm guest blogger Racheal Nye. I have an MA in Professional Creative Writing from the University of Denver and have been on my own mental health journey for going-on-15-years. I'm excited to be here and sprinkle little bits of what I have learned helps me and hope it also helps you. First off, journaling!
It feels like taking out a pen and some paper in a world where technology rules is pretty old fashioned, but I’ve found it to still be quite therapeutic. It feels like a sacred space between me, my pen, and my thoughts. It’s a place of safety in a time when everything threatens to be hacked. It’s a practice I believe to be forgotten, but there are many ways journaling the old-school way can benefit us.
Privacy feels nearly impossible to accomplish nowadays, but it’s still so important. We live in an age where people are constantly sharing every aspect of their lives, and it can be overwhelming, triggering, and even lead us to feel like we need to do the same. If you’re someone who does choose to share, by all means, that’s your right! But even those of us who are open about our lives need a little privacy to process and express in a safe space.
2. Safe space
I think privacy also lends to the idea of safety. What I mean by a safe space is one where you can truly be yourself, let out your thoughts that might feel ready to burst inside of you and you aren’t sure what to do with them. Writing them down can be a great place to relieve anger, sadness, even jubilation. Journaling doesn’t have to just be one thing. I once had what I called my “free-style journal,” and I didn’t just write my feelings. I wrote in circles, sentences on top of each other, I spiraled my words – it was two creative outlets in one. This allowed me to process not just by writing, but by allowing the words to look however they wanted, whatever felt right with my soul in a place I knew was safe.
Maybe you’ll never want to go back to read your journal. I have many I have thrown away because I didn’t feel like I needed to live with certain reminders. On the flip side, I have also pulled them out during hard times to remind myself of how far I have come and the way my thought and healing process has evolved over the years. There’s also something so special about seeing your feelings written in your own writing. It reconnects you in a way typing never can.
What I mean by this is, there is something quite therapeutic about the motion of writing. Just the act in itself can be calming. It’s a physical action more than just typing. There’s fluidity, almost like a dance between you and the paper.
Journaling by hand takes more time. There have been several occasions where I thought I was going to write really quick and six pages later I was still going. My mind also thinks quicker than I can physically write, so I’ve found myself having rather profound moments as I work through my feelings or process something that has happened. I also am more inclined to take a moment to pause and think about what I want to write next. It’s so easy to press the backspace button, so I think it can be easier to type something that isn’t necessarily true. Actually writing it down forces you to stop and make sure what you are writing is true because, theoretically, you can’t erase ink.
There’s something really beautiful about sitting down with pen and paper to write out your feelings. The beauty is it can look however you want it to, and you never have to tell another soul if you don’t want to. In the end, I think it can be quite beneficial to helping us through a hard time and is often underrated. So next time you’re experiencing a ton of emotion, I encourage you to grab a pen and some paper, and see what comes up for you.