Sara_Westbrook_Journaling_Mental_Health

The Remarkable Impact of Journaling on the Mental Health of Young People

Journaling has some pretty incredible benefits! It is a powerful way to connect to our internal world and help unjumble thoughts and emotions. It can also help us deal with stress and challenging life events, and it has been proven to positively impact our physical, mental and emotional well being.

Journaling is one of my favourite ways to release and bounce back from stressful emotions like anger, sadness and frustration.

It’s been my experience that journaling can help us understand ourselves, others and the world around us. This in turn gives us the opportunity to:

  • Learn to be better communicators and problem solvers
  • Address and express emotions that are too confusing to explain, too painful or too shameful to talk about
  • Clarify what is going on in our head
  • Reconnect with our passion and purpose
  • Increase self awareness
  • Help us bounce back from challenging times
  • Boost creativity

Journaling_Release_Emotions

For young people, journaling helps them release thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. It also promotes reflection and encourages them to take charge of their feelings which can result in greater self confidence and resilience. One study showed how journaling helped students release anxiety and worry before a test thereby improving their test performance.

In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows them to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. When a current circumstance may appear as a great challenge, they will be able to look back on previous challenging circumstances and reflect on how they overcame it.

Here my top 4 journaling tips for you to share with your young person:

1. Getting Started

Below is an excerpt from my UPower Journal on how I got started journaling. At the time I did not see the value in my Mum’s gift of a journal. Today I am so grateful! It is my go to when I am feeling overwhelmed or I just want to let go of my brain clutter.

Diving Into Journaling Excerpt

2.  No right or wrong way

Sometimes the very thought of journaling might seem challenging and overwhelming. The good news is… there is no right or wrong way to journal. You choose what to share. Write down whatever feels right for you. Sometimes that will be getting emotions out, sometimes it will be working through challenges, other times you will use it to acknowledge your successes and express your gratitude.

3. Make it special and unique

Journaling doesn’t mean only writing. You could choose to use words and images cut from magazines (called collaging) to express your thoughts, feelings and memories or draw them using coloured pencils, markers, paints etc. Use your journal as a way to express yourself in a way that is special and unique to you.

4. Believe in YOU!

Use your journal to write, draw or collage what you want to believe about yourself and your life. Always remember to say the words below as you use your journal:

I Matter UPower Poster

I hope this inspires you or the young people in your life to incorporate journaling into their routines and to start to see the positive impact it has. For a jumpstart,download a free 7-day mini UPower Journal here. It is a powerful resource to bring into the classroom, home or community!

Did you know that up to 20% of Canadian youth are affected by mental illness or disorders?

It’s important that we challenge the stigma around mental health so young people can get the support and tools they need. From May 2nd – 8th The Canadian Mental Health Association’s 65th Mental Health Week encourages Canadians to do just that and GET LOUD about mental health to make a difference for those who suffer.

Until next time…

SaraSig