To reduce stress and improve mental and emotional well-being, keeping track of our thoughts, feelings and experiences can help us experience several benefits:
Journaling provides clarity. Journaling is one of the best ways to clear your mind and get in touch with your thoughts and feelings, forcing you to focus on your internal awareness of the present and process your experiences. By gaining this focus, you can obtain clarity around what is most important. One question to check in with yourself and record as you journal is, “How am I doing today physically, emotionally and spiritually?”
Journaling can reduce stress by serving as an escape or emotional release of negative thoughts and feelings. A 2011 study highlighted the positive impact journaling had on adolescents who struggled with worry and self-doubt before test taking. In this study, ninth graders were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group was instructed to write expressively about their worry and feelings related to the exam for 10 minutes priorto the start of the exam, while the other group of students was told to write about which questions they thought would be on the exam for 10 minutes prior to taking the exam. The study found that those who expressively wrote about their feelings in their journal outperformed the control group who wrote only about test content. This turned out to be especially true for the students who identified themselves to be anxious or suffering from test anxiety.