Science-backed benefits of journaling for mental health | Health - Hindustan Times
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From stress relief to personal growth: Science-backed benefits of journaling for mental health

Jan 29, 2023 12:52 PM IST

Whether you're looking to reduce stress and anxiety, achieve your goals, or simply document your life, journaling can be an effective and rewarding practice. Check out some of its amazing science-backed benefits.

Step into your world where you hold the key to unlocking your mind's secrets. Imagine being able to explore the depths of your awareness and comprehend the subtleties of your character, beliefs, and emotions. By journaling, you can gain a better understanding of your attitude and thought processes toward different aspects of life because of this psychological state of self-awareness. Whether you're looking to reduce stress and anxiety, achieve your goals, or simply document your life, journaling can be an effective and rewarding practice. (Also read: Journalling helps you calm down and feel good. Here’s how to write your anxiety away )

 Journaling can also boost creativity and help with decision-making and problem-solving.(Unsplash)
Journaling can also boost creativity and help with decision-making and problem-solving.(Unsplash)

Talking to HT Lifestyle, Meghna Karia, Senior Psychologist, Mpower, says, "To help manage stress, journaling can be beneficial. By creating four sections in a journal, you can track the triggers that lead to stress in your daily life." She further shared some amazing benefits of journaling for your mental health.

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1. Identify the stressors and triggers

  • Understand and note down what is causing stress in your life, whether it is a deadline, overwhelming emails, a packed schedule, a specific person, or a specific situation.
  • Recognise these triggers, acknowledge them and validate the feelings that you feel because of these triggers.
  • By identifying these triggers, you can understand the cause of your stress better.

2. Recognizing unwanted situations

  • The second section of the journal could be dedicated to recognizing the unwanted situations in our daily lives, notably at work and home.
  • This could include distractions or things that are not a priority and can be ruled out to improve overall productivity and well-being.
  • By recognizing and admitting these undesirable situations, you may prioritize and concentrate on the more essential aspects of your life.

3. Creating alternative interventions

  • The third section of the journal can be used to brainstorm and come up with creative alternative techniques/ strategies to deal with the triggers.
  • For example, if you're facing a challenge at work of composing several emails a day, you can divide the time of your day into three different time slots wherein you can reply to these emails in different chunks instead of replying to all at once.
  • Try to measure the triggers by recognizing their intensity and the frequency of them which will further help you to understand the importance as well as urgency to deal with these triggers.

4. Evaluating interventions

  • The fourth section of the journal is dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of the alternative interventions created in the previous section.
  • This includes assessing whether the interventions are realistic, doable and the best solution for the stressor.
  • It is also important to consider if the interventions align with your lifestyle and if it is helping you to be in rhythm with your mind and body.
  • This section can be used to assess whether the interventions are giving any result, making any difference, and serving your purpose in your day-to-day living.
  • By evaluating the effectiveness of the interventions, you can determine if they are truly helpful in resolving the stressor and improving your overall well-being.

How to have a positive state of mind?

1. Activities like having fun with pets and playing with children help in releasing oxytocin.

2. Engaging in physical activities, like brisk walking, playing any sports, or going for a massage helps in releasing endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.

3. Indulge in activities that bring immediate gratification, such as teaching or sharing knowledge, to release dopamine.

4. Spending time in nature, practising meditation or yoga, and exposure to sunlight help to release serotonin, which helps to stabilize mood.

5. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help to maintain positive emotions and a balanced mind.

To conclude, journaling has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits for mental health. Journaling can also boost creativity and help with decision-making and problem-solving. By journaling, you can identify stressors and triggers, create creative alternative interventions, evaluate their effectiveness and even maintain a positive state of mind through the release of "happy hormones".

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