Journaling your way to brighter days

Journaling your way to brighter days

Putting pen to paper, or however else you capture your thoughts, can help you lighten your mental load. Think of it like processing your inbox, but for your mind. 

Journaling can help you reduce stress, gain better clarity, improve your self-understanding and even give your creativity a boost. It can also help you get rid of persistent thoughts (worries) to feel better by day and fall asleep easier at night; write your worries to release them from your mind.

And it’s not just anecdotal. Lots of studies support the benefits too. One trial published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discovered positive affect journaling (PAJ) may be effective for increasing well-being and decreasing mental distress. They describe this form of journaling as “an emotion-focused, self-regulation intervention”. Think about how you can document your emotions to recognize different patterns in your life. Ah, relief. 

Here are a few ways to tailor journaling to you! 

  • Get a journal with daily prompts or a classic blank notebook – there are digital versions too. 
  • Write, record your voice, draw or take images. 
  • Write a gratitude list at the start or end of each day. Even on the worst days, you’ll see there’s always something to be grateful for– even if it’s just the sun rays streaming through your window. 

Wondering where to start? Try these prompts for inspiration.

  • Describe your day. 
  • Did you have any major wins or make special memories? Was there something that didn’t go right?
  • How do you feel right now? How did you feel when you woke up?
  • Is there a thought you feel you haven’t been able to let go of today?