By: Imgbian Caleb
The beautiful thing about the human race is that we always find a way to make the world a better place. Sometimes not the best approach but, overall, with good intentions. In the 21st century, the issue of trauma and mental health has been given more attention compared to the past centuries. According to The World Health Organization (WHO), depression is one of the leading causes of disability (n.d.). Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely—as much as two decades early—due to preventable physical conditions. The compassion and awareness of trauma and mental health aren’t shared around the world. In some countries, people living with depression and poor mental health conditions are greeted with discrimination, stigma, and severe violation of their human rights. This can be treated effectively at a relatively low cost by journaling. Expressively journaling your trauma has a lot of benefits for mental clarity and physical well-being. In the short term, expressive journaling can increase the negative effect, but this short-term distress does not pose a longer-term risk to participants. It is part of the healing process. For people with severe conditions, it is advisable they journal with expressive writing for 15–20 minutes at each journaling session so that the task does not feel too overwhelming; although they may choose to continue journaling if they see it feasible. In some cases, people might need to join a journaling group for support. It is important to note that this does not replace the standard medical procedure for extreme mental health cases or people that are suicidal, expressive journaling is like a free drug, that with constant practice comes healing and a deep sense of understanding of oneself.
Journaling for Personal Validation
Social media has amplified the need for everything: fame, validation, privacy and attention. It’s no secret we all want to be loved and feel seen. We all want validations from people that mean something to us. Contrary to popular opinions that we don’t need each other, we are a species that thrives on connections and energies. When we get the right energy around us, it pushes us to greater heights; and when we have the wrong ones, it tends to bring out sides we would normally not want visible. According to science and religion, we are all capable of good and evil. Whatever cup we are able to fill in, we would give out.
Journaling can help you not only understand your strengths and limitations, but can help you spot negative patterns in your life and their root cause. Sometimes people around us feed off of our insecurities and let them define our relationships. Some of these people can be close friends or family members. While it can be painful to confront these realities, it is important to confront them to be able to become your better self. The beautiful thing about journaling is that it doesn’t have to be strictly done with a diary. For people that love electronics and social media, journaling can be done as a form of social media to feed your good cup and improve your physical and mental health.
Journaling for Personal Understanding
Most people spend most of their free time on the internet consuming loads of content that, in some cases, are bad for their mental health. People spend hours watching motivational videos and listening to interesting podcasts, which is a good habit because they want to improve themselves but can’t seem to identify themselves. Rather, they try to mirror the traits of the people they watch and listen to. This is because most of them are having different mental health challenges. This can be in different forms, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which can make a person very agreeable. Journaling can help you understand what you’re interested in and what you’re not interested in or journaling can be as simple as writing the emotions you feel when you’re angry or when you feel like nobody understands what you’re going through. When you’re stressed from school or you’re feeling like a failure, journal how you feel. This is an art of expression, expressing your pain and suffering, which over time turns into lessons learned.
Journaling to Avoid the “Black Hole”
While watching Jay Shetty’s interview on The Diary of a CEO Podcast—which is an interesting watch—he pointed out that we live in a world where we think sacrificing our purpose makes us better partners, we think that self-sacrifice and self-sabotage of our own goals and pursuits in life make us better people. He also points out that in reality it doesn’t, rather it makes us more resentful, more guilty and upset with ourselves. Most people are in a black hole they are not even aware of. Society has made certain traditions seem normal, but in reality, they are the cause of so many mental health issues.
Reflective journaling can help you spot this pattern if you’re going this road, and can also help you heal if you’ve already gone down this road. Journaling can help you meet your expectations and goals halfway: You get to constantly revise and update them. If you want to know more about journaling, perhaps you want to join a group of friendly and supportive people, hit the link below. You won’t regret it.
Baikie, A, K. And Wilhelm, K. (2018, January 2).Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Cambridge University Press. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/emotional-and-physical-health-benefits-of-expressive-writing/ED2976A61F5DE56B46F07A1CE9EA9F9F
Baikie, K. A. (2003). Rewriting Trauma: How and for Whom Does the Writing Paradigm Work? Doctoral dissertation, Macquarie University (Division of Linguistics & Psychology, Department of Psychology).
Hockemeyer, J. R., Smyth, J. M., Anderson, C. F. & et al (1999, February) Is it safe to write? Evaluating the short-term distress produced by writing about emotionally traumatic experiences. Psychosomatic Medicine, 61(1), 99. https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Citation/1999/01000/IS_IT_SAFE_TO_WRITE__EVALUATING_THE_SHORT_TERM.89.aspx
Mental health. (n.d.). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health
Shetty, J. [@The Diary of A CEO]. (2023, January 30). Jay Shetty: 8 Rules For Perfect Love & Amazing Sex! | E217 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLTUA1lneS0