The Benefits of Putting Your Thoughts on Paper
Hey there! Today I’d like to talk about something that has really made a positive impact in my life. It has helped me overcome a lot of past hardships and it has created a space for hope and self-understanding. It gave me a voice when I felt like I didn’t have one, and it provided a feeling of comfort when my brain kept telling me to spiral. This, my friends, is a blog about how journaling positively impacted my life.
I understand a lot of people may find journaling a tad bit lame. I get it…sometimes writing out our thoughts and feelings can be a little cliché. It’s definitely not for everyone, that’s for sure. I guess I’m part of the smaller percentage of people who actually participate and enjoy journaling. I’ve always been a tad “nerdy” in that sense (I always told myself I would be a writer when I grew up…this is about as far as it'll go lol). Despite this, I do feel that it can be a helpful tool to utilize on days where life gets overwhelming, or when our brain feels foggy, or when we need help organizing our thoughts, etc. I do feel it would be more helpful to create a habit out of journaling, however, I also feel that we need to do what feels right in the moment. I can fully admit that I lost the habit of journaling a long time ago, and every once in a while, I will revisit my journal when I feel like I just need to express my thoughts, feelings, and opinions in my own company. Just so that I have the ability to have a voice within my own head. It helps me rationally understand what’s going on up there at times. I feel like my anxiety and depression can really grab a hold of me, and I’ve found that journaling helps quiet the nonsense.
I don’t quite remember exactly when I began journaling. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember a lot of my childhood (and that's on having a bit of childhood trauma). I would have to say the earliest memory I vividly remember of me journaling is probably back in grade 8. Yeah…grade 8 was not a great time for me. I think that’s around the time I started noticing a lot of negative emotions becoming more prominent, which I later realized was linked to my depression. I remember always having a lot going on in my head. There was also a lot of change happening in my life at that time, which definitely didn’t help the feelings and emotions I was experiencing. At that time in my life, I wasn’t usually vocal about these feelings and emotions, at least from what I remember, and I think that’s where journaling really helped me. It helped me create an understanding of what I was feeling and it allowed me to become more self-aware. I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t found an outlet for me to express myself and feel safe.
Over the years, I have tried really hard to keep at least some type of positive outlet in my life. I have tried all different outlets but I always seem to return to journaling as my #1 way of expressing myself and spending time understanding my thoughts. Most of the time, I have no clue how to manage my own thoughts and feelings, so when I put them on paper it helps me use more rational thinking. This also helped when I began realizing the symptoms of anxiety I was having. I truly believe that I’ve lived with my anxiety a lot longer than my depression, and a lot longer than I ever thought. I’ve struggled with anxiety since an early age where I had major separation anxiety from my mother. I think it subconsciously stemmed from losing my biological dad at a very young age. Honestly, I probably drove my mom absolutely nuts with the amount of emotion my little mind had. I can say that it took me a very long time to get passed that state. With every new adventure in my life, I always experienced separation anxiety from her. It took me a very long time to feel okay being away, which feels pretty embarrassing to admit, but it’s also my reality. I’ve had a lot of time to accept and understand my past and who I am today because of it. But let me tell you... It was really odd when I went away to college and had to experience those same separation anxiety symptoms all over again. All of my friends were so excited to leave home and to leave their parents, but I had the hardest time building a new life where I was because I was going through major growing pains. So, let’s just say…I have come a VERY long way from that little girl going to elementary and the teenager going to college. It surely has not been easy.
I truly believe that if I did not process my thoughts over paper…I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today. My emotions can be extremely overwhelming at times and the only way I can really understand them is if I type them out or write them out. This applies to my current life as well. Typically, I need to type out emotion filled messages in my notes app before sending it to the appropriate person in order to properly process my thoughts and feelings. Journaling made me feel like I was a stable human being and that my feelings were valid in every situation. Mind you…it also helped me understand when I was out of line and when I needed to do better, which helped me increase my self-awareness over time. It has shown a lot of positive benefits in my own life, and that is why I feel the need to share the importance of making journaling a habit. The mind tends to be very busy in general, but then we add work schedules, kids, school, household chores, the media, relationships, etc. Don’t get me wrong…humans are intelligent creatures and we are so capable of handling all different things. However, sometimes when the mind reaches a vulnerable state it is a lot easier to be swayed by our mind or by other people. This is why I believe that by setting out our thoughts, feelings, and opinions on paper, we are able to possibly avoid forgetting them or allowing them to overwhelm us when we don’t feel as strong.
If you’re interested in starting a journal, or one day you just need an outlet…I have listed some journal prompts below you can use for a few different scenarios. I hope they help!
Journal prompts for Depression and Anxiety
1. List 5 things that scare you and why?
2. Write a gratitude letter to someone who has positively impacted your life.
3. Write an open letter to your anxiety and/or depression. What would you say to it?
4. Talk about your happiest childhood memory.
5. Discuss your biggest achievement and why you are proud of yourself.
6. What is your favourite song, and why does it resonate with you?
7. Describe your ideal friend.
8. What or who makes you feel safe?
9. Make a list of 5 quotes that you love, and why?
10. What triggers your anxiety/depression the most, and what do you think the root cause of this is?
Journal Prompts for Self-Growth/-Discovery
1. Write down 10 positive affirmations you can tell yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
2. What was the last compliment you received, and who said it to you?
3. Write a love letter to your body using gratitude and acceptance of how its kept you safe
4. Write down a definition of who you are—the good and the bad all in one.
5. What habits do you do when you’re feeling sad, and are they healthy?
6. Who’s approval do you want the most, and why?
7. You are happiest when…
8. Where would you be if all your goals were achieved?
9. What habits, memories, relationships, etc, are you holding onto that are keeping you from improving yourself?
10. What boundaries do you need to set for others and yourself in order to maintain your personal well-being and self-care?
Journal Prompts for Healing
1. If I had to name one emotion that lives deep in my core…what would it be and how long have I been feeling this?
2. How can you begin to forgive yourself?
3. What secrets are you holding onto and how do they affect your everyday life?
4. What anger or frustrations are you holding onto and why?
5. Who do you need to forgive, and why?
6. How can you help mend any relationships you have caused harm to?
7. How do you feel about yourself today?
8. Write a letter to someone who has hurt you or disappointed you.
9. What has been on your mind recently, and why has it bothered you so much?
10. What is something that can help you heal your inner child?
I’m sure you could find a billion other journal prompts to help motivate you for your journal entries. I typed out these ones because they felt close to my heart and I felt like they are more “open-ended conversation starters” in my opinion. It is so important to have a conversation with yourself when it comes to personal development, mental health, and healing. You are not crazy for talking to yourself about your feelings and about what you want for your life. Most of the time you can find all the answers from within. It’s just the fact that you have to provoke the thoughts and opinions that create more self-understanding, so that you actually know what you want and need. I think that journaling is a perfect way to do so.
I hope you guys enjoyed learning a little more about me and a little more about Journaling. I am so grateful for my readers and the support I have gotten so far. I always get so sappy over it just because the dream of “writing” has become more of a reality...even if it's just through One Bite at a Time. This space creates a sense of comfort for me and in turn it makes me feel safe. I hope you guys do too. Sending hugs and lots of love your way. xx