Being able to express yourself is so important for mental health. Loneliness can contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders because the lack of socializing can cause you to suppress emotions, which can be stressful. Spending meaningful time with others gives you a chance to be heard. “Meaningful” is an important concept here, because you can find yourself around other people but don’t really feel like you are engaging in interactions that serve any purpose. This is how people can still be lonely even when they are around others.
Sharing thoughts that are important to you, including your feelings, random ideas, memories and experiences, knowledge, and wisdom will improve your sense of well being, coping mechanisms, and slow the rate of mental decline.
We recognize the importance of socializing in childhood development, but often give it less attention in adulthood. The elderly are especially vulnerable to adverse outcomes of loneliness, social isolation, and lack of self expression.
For individuals that live alone, have limited social interactions, or simply don’t feel like they have an outlet to express themselves, journaling can be helpful.
Journaling can be done in a variety of ways. You can use the time to express gratitude, make goals, or just decompress from the day. A “brain dump” allows you to record (dump) everything on your mind, usually on one particular topic or idea. It is often a disorganized purge of your thoughts. This can be liberating and help declutter your mind.
Journaling can be very helpful with brainstorming work ideas, which can improve productivity. This can be especially useful when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to about your work-related stressors.
This week’s goal could also be a great, non-weight related, New Year’s resolution. Making more of an effort to express yourself can drastically improve your mental health, which will also help your physical health. Implementing daily journaling is fantastic idea to help accomplish this goal.