Definition of Journaling and How It Can Replace Therapy

definition of journaling can it replace therapy

I started journaling in a diary back when COVID-19 first hit. I thought it would be a cool way to remember how I felt each day during the pandemic and something for the next generations to read. 

My writing trait quickly took over, however, and it ended up being a reflection journal full of deep, meaningful thoughts including depression, love and everything in-between. 

As an introvert and suffering from social anxiety, journaling has been a big part of my recent years. I struggle with communicating my feelings verbally, so writing is a big part for me that helps me heal, get over situations and reflect a little bit better. 

You don’t have to be a great writer to journal. 

The beauty of this ritual is that you write whatever is on your mind, without the fear of being judged because no one is ever going to see your words. Unless of course, you share your journal with others. 

Journaling can become a part of your daily routine, allowing you to get through those darker, as well as happier days and see exactly how you feel when your mind feels a bit cluttered. 

Definition of Journaling

Journaling is simply writing down your thoughts, feelings and struggles in a journal. Writing down what’s on your mind, stops it from being bottled in inside your brain, allowing to let the thoughts and feelings out onto paper and helping you feel better. 

It’s like a weight off the shoulders, your thoughts are released, no longer haunting your mind. 

Journaling is as simple as deciding to do it each day or whenever you feel like your mind is cluttered, getting a notebook, diary or journal, and writing whatever is on your mind. 

It’s that simple. 

How Journaling Works

Journaling is a bit like releasing your demons. Those sabotaging thoughts tormenting our mind, body and soul, are no longer just thoughts, but words on paper. When reading them back, you might think how untrue they are and on reflection realise, that they were just negative thoughts that were clouding your mind and judgement. 

definition of journaling can it replace therapy

Journaling can help us reflect, reach realisations and find origins for our traumas, issues deep within. 

Having a platform, an outlet to release your feelings can be the start of a healing process and allows you to solve your problems in a much more actionable way. 

Your thoughts become real. Through those thoughts, you can get to know yourself better and address issues that were previously pent up inside causing stress and anxiety. 

How to Do Journaling

To start journaling, you’ll need one thing: 

Get yourself a pretty journal or a simple notebook, whatever your preference, and keep it somewhere secret or safe. I keep mine on my bedside table as I like to journal while sitting on my bed, it’s my sacred space. 

I like to journal on the night before bedtime. I find that my mind is active at that time and I can release my thoughts before trying to get some sleep. 

We’ve all been there – trying to sleep but a thousand thoughts seem to keep creeping in and they’re causing us stress and anxiety, unable to sleep. 

Make the conscious choice to start journaling. 

What I mean by that is, decide that when things get too much, overwhelming or stressful, you go into your sacred space, get your journal and write whatever is on your mind. 

Sometimes we don’t even know what’s on our mind – so many thoughts rushing around our brain, and we’re feeling stressed or anxious and we don’t even know why. 

By journaling, the pen holds the magick and helps to define those issues and define your thoughts. 

Don’t worry about knowing what to write. You don’t have to know, that’s the beauty of journaling. You’re not writing an assessment, you’re simply getting your issues out onto paper. 

I never know what’s going to come out for the page or me. I just start writing and words are starting to formulate in my journal and then I see the whole picture. 

Then it’s like a lightbulb moment – ah, so that’s what my issue is. 

Whenever you write something, read it back. 

What’s the recurring theme? What’s the issue there? And what can you do to overcome this?

You can journal for as long as you like, and over a period of a few weeks, months, years or even your lifetime, documenting your thoughts. 

definition of journaling can it replace therapy

Can Journaling Help Depression / Anxiety 

Yes, journaling can help with depression and anxiety, as it allows you to shift your mood to a more positive one, and clear blockages inside your mind. Journaling allows you to take control of your thoughts and emotions, define your thoughts and issues and what’s bothering you. It can also help shift your perspective which really helps with depression and anxiety. 

We don’t want to be stuck in those depressive thoughts. By writing down our thoughts, accepting them, identifying the issue and making the conscious effort to shift our thoughts, we’re able to get past the depressive or anxious state and focus our energy on happy thoughts. 

You can also use it in combination with a gratitude journal, writing down all the things you’re grateful for and reading them when you’re feeling down. Again this shifts your focus and perspective. 

Can Journaling Help With Stress

Yes, journaling can help with stress. Journaling is like having a vent to your friend. You let all your thoughts out, writing quickly and without stopping when you’re stressed or angry, writing it all down, releasing those thoughts until your wrist hurts. 

When we’re stressed, we get stuck inside our own head, forget to take long breaths and become wrapped up, consumed in what we’re doing, forgetting the world exists. A different perspective and a bit of reflection is what sets us free from stress, and journaling is the perfect outlet for that. 

A study found that patients who journaled, had decreased stress levels, proving that journaling CAN help with stress. 

Journaling makes for a much better option than that glass of wine or comfort eating. 

How Journaling Helps Healing

Journaling can help with the healing process through the release of negative/sabotaging (or any other) thoughts. By writing them down, it allows for a release, clearing up your chakras and releasing that negative energy from your mind, body and soul. 

They’re out in the open, no longer clouding your mind/body/soul, and no longer causing damage to your mental health. 

The release is what sets us free, making space for happiness and love to come in. 

Can Journaling Replace Therapy

Therapy and journaling are slightly different, with the main difference being that during therapy there is a person present. With journaling, there is only you, your pen and your journal. No other soul. 

The principle is the same, however. You say/write what’s on your mind and the therapist/journal helps you reach conclusions. 

If you’re more of an introvert and prefer your own company, journaling can be your perfect therapy session. Whereas if you prefer people to guide you and the presence of a proposal, therapy might be more fitting for you. 

Both methods are platforms for you to say whatever comes to mind. 

You can write prompting questions after or before you start journaling to help you determine your issue. 

Where to get a Journal

I’ve put together a beautiful collection of journals right here for you to browse through and make a start on this journaling journey. 

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