In my practice and within my own life I have always recommended journaling as a technique. Not only does it allow you to externalise thoughts and feelings, it can help you break down issues which can be debilitating in its extreme form. By bottling emotions and cognitions up, it can cause a great deal of damage to oneself, including stress, which is known to be a leading cause of many diseases. Notably, it can make you realise that the issues you were concerned about were catastrophised, moreover, this recognition can stop future eruptive behaviour from occurring (Lara, 2019). This process is also very effective in decreasing stress levels and getting clarity around certain situations.
Portman (2019) reports that journaling has been utilised for students in classroom settings and the benefits have been outstanding. Specifically, he has noted that students have gained insight into their emotions, opinions, appreciations, not to mention this form of writing has helped with their literacy. This recognition is fantastic as it is clear that these individuals are gaining self-awareness. To be self-consciousness as children, adolescents and young-adults is phenomenal because even some adults still cannot do this. Another study by Yeoun, Suk-Sun and Minji (2020) was conducted with mothers who required coping mechanisms to deal with their children, and journaling was found to have positive benefits on their psychological health as this form of self-care was implemented. Further, Hensley and Munn (2020) found that journaling was effective in quelling procrastination. Finding out that journaling is not only a great coping strategy but so too a mechanism to prevent procrastinating makes me want to do some journaling right now!
Sarah (Holloway) Davidson in her new book Seize The Yay states that "Journaling is a well-recognised, fantastic and powerful tool for any kind of self-work, but it's particularly good for boosting self-confidence....By journaling and exploring how we honestly feel in a safe space, away from what others might think about what we're saying, we can face up to those fears and evaluate them with more clarity....There is in fact, scientific data on the benefit of committing your goals to writing and positively visualising them coming to life."
Let's be honest, journaling is NOT for everyone! So my best advice is before you dismiss it all together try it for yourself. It could be the best thing you have ever done for yourself! And, from what has been stated in research and book, it does not hurt to try something that could make a world of difference.
If you try it, let me know how you go.
- Ask Elizabeth
Note: References are hyperlinked (underlined) so you can go directly to the website