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Journaling for Mental Health: Your Guide to 2024

Woman sitting outside writing journal notes

As 2023 becomes a vision in our rearview mirror, and 2024 fills the horizon in front of us, most look at a new year with hopes of what it will bring and ideas for improving our lives. As part of I Am Aria's plan for better mental health in 2024, we encourage all to consider beginning a journaling practice. In the coming year, we will be exploring journaling and its impact on mental health. We hope you’ll join us on our quest to make journaling a meaningful tool in 2024.

journal and pen on desk

To kick this off, here are five reasons why journaling can be a powerful mental health tool:

1.    Problem Solving and Self-Expression: Journaling provides a safe space to express thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. This can be particularly beneficial during times of stress or confusion. Journaling can serve as a problem-solving tool. Journal writing can be used to explore solutions to problems or gain perspective on various situations.

2.    Emotional Regulation:  Writing about emotions can help us better understand and manage feelings. It allows us to identify patterns and triggers, leading to improved emotional regulation. Often we might lack clarity in exactly how we are feeling or what the root cause of any nagging emotions might be. Writing can be a healthy and constructive way to cope with stress and difficult emotions.

3.    Goal Setting and Tracking: We can all use journals for setting personal goals. This can be a great way to track progress, celebrate achievements, and stay motivated. Over time, you can review past entries to observe personal growth and changes. This retrospective view can be empowering and motivating. Seeing things we hope to achieve often strengthens our focus on those goals.

4.    Develop Mindfulness:  Journaling can promote mindfulness by encouraging us to be present in the moment as we reflect on experiences. This can enhance self-awareness and mindfulness skills.  Including a gratitude section in the journal can foster a positive mindset and help us focus on what good we have in the moment. Writing about things we are thankful for can shift focus away from negativity.

5.    Creative Outlet:  Journaling allows for creative expression and exploration of imagination. It can be fun to experiment with different writing styles, doodle, or even incorporate poetry and fiction into their journals. Journals don’t have to be just “Dear Diary” type of entries. There are so many different journal styles and ideas for making a journal your own.

teen girl writing in journal

Starting a journaling habit can indeed be an attainable and rewarding New Year’s resolution for teens, offering a positive outlet for self-expression and personal development. If you don’t journal currently, we hope you’ll make 2024 “The Year of the Journal” along with us. And if you are already someone who journals avidly, we hope to breathe some renewal into your journaling practice.

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