5 simple reasons to keep a journal that improve your mental health

Do you keep a journal? A regular written record of our thoughts and feelings can contribute to mental wellness, creating calm, peace and organisation. The intention is to understand your thoughts more clearly, get to know yourself better, understand your life. 

I like the word journaling.  It feels looser, more informal than ‘diary’, more encompassing of a wide range of thoughts and pictures. The way in which people keep a journal can vary. Some people keep a written record, others keep a visual record, some people make lists, or use a bullet journal. Whichever method you choose to keep a journal they generally have a similar aim.

Journaling tracks our every day life, or times in our life, or periods or projects in our life.  It tracks our emotional path through life as well as physical events. Journaling is not a prescriptive set of rules.  You may have your own rules or guidelines, but there is no set way to keep a journal.

The act of recording your thoughts and feelings can help you:

  1. Figure out what makes you tick
  2. Develop organisational and creative skills
  3. Create your own mental space
  4. Set goals


Keep a journal and figure out what makes you tick

The important factor is that journaling helps us figure out what makes us tick, what makes us happy, or where we might be stuck in anxiety, depression or fear.

Just as journaling does that for our emotions it also does that for our relationship with ours self expression, for example through our clothes.

What journaling can give us is a meaningful connection with ourselves.  Journaling is a way into our thoughts.  It is a way of collecting our thoughts so that we can then examine them or think about them.  A meaningful connection with ourself is a fundamental part of our lived experience.

We have a number of blog posts on how to get in touch with yourself and your inner thoughts via journaling about what you wear. Posts such as:

How to Journal to understand yourself better: 5 guided prompts to uplevel your personal style

How to use your mind to create your life: journaling for clothes you’d love to wear

How to journal for: Can I wear two outfits for one month?

Keeping a journal is an organisation and creative tool

If you don’t already keep a journal we really recommend that you spend time each day to reflect on your thoughts. Write down what you are thinking, without holding back. Write as if noone is watching.

As well as being a great creative outlet, journaling is also an organisational tool. Keeping a journal helps to organise out thoughts and put them into some order.

There are two steps to this organisational process:

  1. The first is to get your thoughts out, so just write them down, draw them, mind map them or just stream or consciousness them out.
  2. The second is to examine them.

It’s important that you don’t rush into just examining your thoughts without getting them all out.
The importance, though, of getting your thoughts out on paper is that it frees up our working memory. When our thoughts are out on paper, instead of in our head, we stop continually processing them. This, in turn, can mean that we sleep better. And as a result of that, our immune system gets a boost and so does our mood.


Creating your own mental space

If you keep a journal, you will find that you are able to create your own mental space. Away from your phone, work emails and family demands it is a space where you can be yourself and think your own thoughts. You can take off your ‘autopilot’ mode and work out what you are really thinking. Sometimes a short walk followed by ten minutes journaling, or the reverse, is a brilliant way of processing thoughts and emotions, like anxiety and anger, and getting back to peace and serenity.


Keep a journal and set goals

Your goals can easily be hijacked by the world if you don’t stay vigilant. When you are chasing your tail, are working like a machine and living your life in response to outside forces, you need to take a step back from time to time and check in with yourself:

Remember what your purpose is.
Reset your goals.
Take a deep breath.
And go back in there.

Noone will give you permission to calm down, to rethink and reset. It’s permission you give yourself. Set your own goals, have your own agenda. Take time out, withdraw from the noise and chatter, and remember what you want and why you want it.

Setting goals is best done, can only be done, in peace and calm. So take that time to set your goals in peace, and to reassess them in peace too.

One step further: Wardrobe journaling

Wardrobe journaling takes journaling one step further. It uses the same format and purpose of journaling but while you are writing you are specifically asking yourself questions around what you wear, why you wear it and what you would like to wear. There are times in our life when we let our clothes dictate how our character acts, whereas the flow should be the other way round: our character should dictate what clothes we wear.

You might go through years just wearing something out of habit, and it is only through the act of wardrobe journaling that you realise that you don’t like what you are wearing, and that it doesn’t reflect your personality at all.

A little more journaling reveals that what you would actually like to be wearing, that is a much better reflection of your personality, is something else entirely. Sometimes you might realise that you are almost scared to live up to the person you are revealing yourself to be. And there lies the challenge.

You have uncovered yourself, do you have the courage to step into that person? Or do you want to stay where you are, living a small game, hiding behind clothes that you feel are keeping you safe and comfortable. Whereas in fact that are keeping you stuck and living half a life rather than the full, overflowing life, you are created for. So, keep a journal, start today. Why not have fun with it and do some wardrobe journaling? We have the perfect short course and you can find out more here.


Finally, we have other blog posts that describe wardrobe journaling and help you to get started on your journey of self revelation. You can check out:

6 steps to wardrobe journaling  

The positive benefits of writing by hand  

We hope you will get started today, keep a journal and really reap huge benefits from it over the years.

Have a great day!

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