We all experience some form of struggle or hardship in life. Parents, however, generally have to deal with more as they strive to provide for the emotional, financial, and spiritual needs of the family.
When it comes to coping techniques, we all use different ones. For me, it’s music. Sometimes, I still take out my bandurria and let my emotions flow through the strings as I play and sing to my favorite songs.
But there’s another activity that can offer tremendous help for overworked parents who are craving a safe space to express their thoughts and emotions without worrying what others will think: journaling!
Why does writing help us?
You probably already know this, but our thoughts and feelings can have a strong impact on our immune system.
A depressed state, for example, will make use more susceptible to illness and disease. On the other hand, positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and compassion are known to have healing and illness-preventive effects on the body.
Because it’s part of our responsibility as parents to ensure we have a happy and healthy household, it’s up to us to manage the daily stresses of parenting and adulthood. This is where journaling can be a blessing!
For years, therapists have used journals, questionnaires, and other writing forms to help people manage their emotions and learn from negative experiences.
So how can we reap the same benefits with a simple pen and paper (or word processor)?
How to Journal and Heal
1. Gain Clarity
In such situations, journaling can be a powerful way for us to take a step back from the situation and be able to see things more clearly. When we’re right in the middle of a problem or situation, we tend to react more emotionally.
But more often than not, we find good solutions when we are thinking objectively. So pull out a notebook, write about your situation and notice yourself gain better insights and solutions.
It’s normal for us to experience self-doubt and anxiety about our current life situation. Maybe there are just too many things going on in a day, or we’re feeling overwhelmed by everything happening.
2. Release Negative Feelings and Thoughts
“Our words have power,” is a saying you may have come across several times in the past. Whenever you find yourself feeling down or stuck in a negative thought cycle, it’s important to express it.
One option you have as a stress valve is to open up to someone you trust (or even a complete stranger) about what’s going on in your heart and mind.
What if everyone’s busy? Or what if you don’t want to be judged too harshly? Consider writing everything down instead.
As we’ve shared above, professional therapists understand the power of writing and encourage their patients to “speak their truth” in a safe environment. That notebook of yours, or your word processor, can be the safe environment you need right now.
3. For Reflecting on Lessons
Life is the ultimate teacher. We make mistakes and stumble. We may have more experience (and gray hair) than children, but that doesn’t mean we stop learning and growing.
In fact, adulthood is a period when we get taught the most important lessons and find out what truly matters. And for parents, many of these lessons are difficult to take in, especially when we feel continually pulled in different directions.
It can be a few minutes a day, or an hour a week. Even if you don’t have much time to journal, a few minutes a day can already do wonders for your mental and emotional well-being.
Get Into The Habit of Writing
The benefits of writing have been well-documented for decades, and it works for parents, teenagers, and practically anyone who would like to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe place.
While it’s often better to write the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper, you can also try out opening a blank digital document just to get into the habit of expressing yourself. So try it out, and notice how your mood shifts!