Conscientious and introspective children alike may have fond memories of writing in a personal diary or journal, retelling the formative events in their lives through an experiential lens. This process may have been genuinely therapeutic while going through a stressful time, such as the trials and tribulations of high school or dealing with a pet’s death. However, the process of journaling can be incorrectly labeled as an adolescent activity when it may actually hold benefits for grown adults as well.
In the case of trauma or related mental health disorders, treatment is usually administered through pharmaceutical or therapeutic means. Neither method is absolutely effective on its own, as a balanced combination shows the most promising evidence for recovery. In addition to primary prescriptions, a wide array of other cognitive, emotional and behavioral strategies is also recommended. Most of these options are designed to equip people with the needed skills and tools that effectively prepare them for reintegration into normal life and continual self-management. These alternative techniques include expressive art therapies like music and dance, yoga and even active journaling.
The benefits of journaling
The act of putting one’s personal journey into words, especially when the tale encompasses an experience of a mental disorder, has a number of beneficial effects. Firstly, recalling an instance of trauma is the predominant hurdle in cases such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Although an arduous task, confronting the distress head-on by detailing it on paper is a valuable way to weaken its power over a person. Depending on the event’s severity and the individual’s resilience, he or she may take time to recollect the incident. Until then, having the thoughts written down can be a great first step in acknowledging them and emotions regarding the thoughts.
Many victims of abuse and trauma cite writing about the upsetting event as a useful way of separating oneself from the incident. By externalizing the memory from the emotions associated with it, the individual can also realize he or she is not defined by it. When a victim has just begun the healing process, many thoughts and emotions may be a scrambled mess in one’s mind. By organizing these elements in a clear and coherent format, the person can more efficiently rationalize what he or she is going through with a therapist and arrive at conclusions easier. Also, if a victim is in the process of pursuing legal action, having an apparent and arranged set of details about the event will strengthen a court case significantly.
Journaling does not need to focus solely on the traumatic event; when it is difficult to draw attention to the incident, a person can redirect consciousness to the support one has. By expressing gratitude to family, friends and other helping hands that have been offered, an individual can mindfully reframe the general situation and be aware of how fortunate he or she is as well. Most importantly, a person can utilize a journal as an everyday tool of self-regulation. Just like a child logging his or her first day of school or triumphant win in an after school sport, writing is a form of expression that balances out the soul. Whether it is calming someone down from the heat of the moment or opening someone up to a new point of view, the possibilities of self-discovery are limitless when thoughts and emotions leave the body and enter the page.
If you or someone close to you is undergoing trauma or a related issue, please contact Sovereign Health of Arizona by chatting with us online or calling 866-598-5661 to found out more about our helpful treatment programs.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer Lee Yates
Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements