How Journaling Helps Combat Shame
Daily journaling is good for mental health
I’ve always had a journal since I learned how to write. My first diary was a red, polka-dotted Minnie Mouse one that held my deepest five-year-old secrets. Between those lines is where I found the space to share my life.
Decades later, this habit hasn’t changed. I still fill journals upon journals with my deepest secrets and aspirations. Although, this time I don’t have any lines, I prefer free form without boundaries or restrictions. This way I can draw or write sideways. I’m free.
What I’ve noticed from journaling is something so special: it gives me the space to be myself without judgment. Yes, I’ll admit, I sometimes judge what I write, thinking it’s the most thoughtless and selfish thing anyone has ever thought. However, the truth is slightly less dramatic.
When I write out my fears and secrets, I am releasing the power of the thoughts that bounce around my head. I am giving voice to the shame and somehow, it seems to lift.
The very act of journaling not only helps heal you, but boosts your emotional intelligence, evokes mindfulness, and helps you to achieve your goals (10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal), amongst many other benefits.
There are countless articles out there touting the healing and transformative benefits of journaling. So why did I not do it for a while?
Journaling forces you to stop and take a moment to look at an assess your life. Your thoughts, your dreams and ambitions, your struggles, all eventually find their way to the paper when you practice daily journaling. And if you’re hiding from something, this soul-bearing activity doesn’t sound fun.
Whenever there’s something I don’t want to face, I’ll dance around it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Denial is shame’s best friend.
I believe in energy and manifestation and giving power to our thoughts. So when I don’t want something to be true, I try to ignore it because I don’t want to give it wings to fly into existence. However, I’m learning that the very fact that I’m ignoring it, means that it, actually, already exists.
I’ve found it’s better to get it out and share it with others, including my journal, because somehow, it takes away the strength of the shame. I don’t know why it works, but it does.
Countless times I’ve held a secret and unpleasant thought so tightly until I felt that I was going to explode. When I eventually shared it with a trustworthy friend and journaled about it, I got perspective on it. Turns out, I’m not alone. A lot of people have the same feelings and shameful thoughts.
Journaling can help me get clarity and find moments of peace. Also, it’s a great resource for when I want to talk about my day but no one else cares to hear about how many times I peed at work or what I wanted to say to my secret crush versus what I actually said.
My journal is my best friend that doesn’t judge. It allows me to be who I am, without blame or shame. And that’s so freeing. It teaches self-discipline and helps deal with anxiety and stress and helps me with my recovery.
It’s free entertainment and therapy, people. What could be better than that?