Keeping a journal is an effective way to stay mindful and present while also maintaining perspective. It provides an opportunity for emotional catharsis and helps the brain regulate emotions. It also helps build trust and self-identity. A journal can help you review past successes and failures, and plan for the future.
It allows you to track your progress and see what is working and what is not. It's also a record of your past accomplishments, which can be invaluable on days when you feel like nothing is going right. In a follow-up study 12 to 18 months later, 85 percent of participants reported that the writing exercise had been useful. Fifty-nine percent continued to use writing to cope with stress.
Journals help us organize our thoughts and make them understandable. You can record daily events, thoughts, and feelings about certain experiences or opinions. Writing down your feelings about a difficult situation can help you understand it better. The act of putting an experience into words and structure allows you to form new perceptions about events.
Sharing with a trusted confidant may even be better than writing down feelings, as it serves a similar purpose and offers us the warmth and validation that a piece of paper cannot provide.