Journaling: The Gift of Transparency
By Melissa Camacho
Transparency through journaling or expressive writing comes from being fearless, honest, and truthful about telling stories that affect our emotions (Watkins). The gift of transparency through journaling brings us the courage to express our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Acknowledging your feelings of fear, grief, anxiety, and anger is part of getting past them, also referred to as catching your “shadows” (Bloom). Our journaling program at The Love Story encourages you to be transparent about your emotions and identify your shadows to learn from your mistakes and build self-respect. Journaling allows you to release your inner emotions; as they unfold, you are in control of how they impact your well-being.
To open up about your emotions as you journal on paper or digital platforms, is to open a path for healing. In the next section, you will learn more about how being transparent about your emotions aids in improving your mental health.
Mental Health Benefits of Transparency through Journaling
Keeping a journal is a source of transparency. It is a therapeutic method to engage in expressive writing to deliver your emotions, and identify behavioral patterns that cause stress and anxiety (Aspen). Research conducted on participants who engaged in journaling or expressive writing found that journaling leads to long-term health benefits such as (Baike, et. al):
- Reduced symptoms of depression, high blood pressure, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Boosts your immune system
- Improved liver and lung function
- Improved working memory
- Increased proactivity and interest in daily activities
Being transparent about emotions you experience from traumatic events empowers you to be in control of how they affect you. This can be accomplished through a process known as mental immunity. Mental immunity is a cognitive ability to expect painful situations to arise and be emotionally resilient by observing and learning from them (Weist). In learning about this concept of mental immunity, transparency becomes beneficial when we first acknowledge our emotions in a healthy way—by becoming aware and believing you will overcome them.
If you deny what your emotions or reactions are the moment you witness them, it will be harder to be transparent about them through journaling. Hiding your emotions doesn’t mean they disappear, but your transparency helps to reduce risks that trigger your mental health (Glenn). While an overload of emotional pain causes depression, stress, and anxiety, you have the power not to let it affect your mental health. According to Positive Psychology, being transparent leads to self-knowledge, which is information you acquire about yourself through observing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions (Wilson). In the next section, you can learn more about positive outcomes you gain from self-knowledge.
How Self-knowledge from Transparency Leads to Emotional Healing
Self-knowledge can be well-practiced over time through journaling or expressive writing. It helps you to embrace your emotions, identify patterns of experiences or events, gain self-compassion, and increase self-efficacy to focus on your future goals (Self-Knowledge). Once you gain self-knowledge, the path for healing begins. The gift of transparency through expressive writing extends its roots in the healing process to (Cangiolosi):
- increase an understanding of your emotions
- develop the ability to resonate with others about your experiences and be open to feedback and advice from others
- as an understanding of your emotions grows, it will boost your self-esteem and feel empowered to make life-changing decisions
To conclude, journaling gives you a platform for emotional transparency. Your mental immunity gives you the courage to thrive through overwhelming emotions by becoming transparent. The practice of transparency through journaling helps you gain self-knowledge to elaborate on your emotional patterns. Acknowledging your emotions and being transparent about them is the foundation of what builds your strength to become resilient.To experience the transparency of your emotions through your self-expression and expressive writing, click on the link below to start journaling.
Aspen, Julia “The benefits of keeping a mental health journal” Philly Voice. 28 Jan 2022
Baikie, Karen A., and Kay Wilhelm. “Emotional and Physical Health Benefits of Expressive Writing.” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, vol. 11, no. 5, 2005, pp. 338–346., doi:10.1192/apt.11.5.338.
Bloom, Charlie, Linda Bloom “Transparency of Feelings” Psychology Today. 6 Feb 2019
Cangiolosi, Karen “Healing Through the Written Word” Vol.6, 3 (2002)
Glenn, Charisse “Emotional Transparency Starts with Ourselves” The Let Go. 09 Jul 2022
Watkins, Benjamin “Be Transparent in Your Writing and Your Stories Will Be Unique” Medium. 11 Jun 2019
Weist, Brianna “7 Ways to Become More Mentally Immune and Emotionally Resilient” Forbes. 2018 May 9
Wilson, Christina R. “What is Self-knowledge in Psychology? 8 Examples and Theories” 21 Jul 2022
https://www.mcgill.ca/skillsets/framework/self-knowledge. Accessed 29 Aug 2022