One of the hardest things for a person to do is ask for help. Usually, the darker the secret, shame, or thought, the harder it is to say out loud. Because of this, people can lose hope that things will get better, and that the world they keep to themselves is the only reality that they can see for their life. If asking for help is so difficult for so many people, we must be able to find an outlet for ourselves so we can release everything that we hold in. Sometimes, one of the most beneficial means of coping can be found within the practice of JOURNALING!

What Does Journaling Entail?

Well, basically anytime you pick up a pen and piece of paper, and you begin to jot down your thoughts, you could consider it ‘journaling’. Let’s just keep it simple and imagine that you have a certain journal where you feel you can be your most ‘honest’ self. The journal is a tool for you to use as a way to track your feelings overtime, and be able to hold yourself accountable for regression, and/or celebrate the growth that you will be able to reflect on as time goes by. Journaling is a good way to understand the part of you that you have a hard time sharing with the world. For whatever reason, you hold certain things in, and by having a place for you to release that information, journaling can be the exercise that ends up healing a lot of what is holding you back.

What Did Journaling Do for Me?

Looking back on my life, I have always written down my thoughts. When I was younger, I would refer to my journal as a diary, and although I didn’t know it at the time, journaling has always been a coping mechanism of mine, and a way for me to survive through life’s trials. I must add that I grew up as an only child, so my diaries have always been an important part of me. As I have gotten older, my diaries transitioned into journals, but the purpose remains the same: Journaling was, and still is, a huge factor in me trying to understand myself, my emotions and my pain. You would be amazed by the truth that can come out when you are brave enough to sit down and be honest with yourself. By journaling consistently, and as much as I can, I have been able to recognize when I need to change certain patterns, habits, routines and relationships. When we keep everything in, we run the risk of holding ourselves back.

How Do I Start Journaling?

Go buy a journal. You will be making a very positive investment for the direction of your life. It can be very scary at first to stare at a blank page and begin writing, but once you do, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much “lighter” you feel when you unpack the heavy baggage you’ve been carrying. Sure, it may be a tough habit to form, but if you give journaling a true chance, you might just find how much you enjoy the time you give yourself to write.

What Are Some Other Pros of Journaling?

Well, for one thing, buying a journal is an affordable option for those who may not be able to afford a therapist at first. A journal is a good start when it comes to being honest about what hurts. Who knows? Maybe after you begin journaling, you will entertain the idea of talking to a professional. It all begins with finding your voice. Writing your thoughts down is a good way to gain confidence is speaking up for yourself. Self-awareness is another pro. When we write down our thoughts, we are able to read them back and gain new insight to how we really feeling. Every time I sit down to write, I am constantly amazed by what pours out of me just by trusting the process, and being honest with myself.

What I have learned about journaling is the fact that once I recognize something about myself, or learn a lesson I didn’t know was there, the truth cannot be unseen. When I am self-aware of my rights and wrongs and my ups and my downs, I am able to learn and grow from what was once holding me back. To be honest with yourself is the quickest way to accept exactly who you are. Journaling can also help you realize certain things that make you beautiful. When we allow ourselves to get consumed by pain, we can forget that there are also many things about us that are beautiful. Journaling has a way of showing us the truth about ourselves in the best way possible. Trust the process.

a woman smiling and holding a string in her hair.
By – Megan Lawrence
Megan is a writer in Recovery with a passion for healing others through the power of word. She believes in speaking her truth, being loud and proud about her story, and she hopes to inspire others to share theirs through her website, Healing Hopefuls. Read more
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.