Journaling Helps Emotional Healing

How journaling helps in our healing when life wounds us ...

When we are unwell, we have something inside of us that we feel does not belong -- an intruder that disturbs our wellness and happiness. Whether it is a cancer tumor growing on our kidney, or incessant worry that refuses to stop tormenting us, we are plagued with something that is not easily discarded. 

And so we are need in of something to help us get rid of that which holds unto us. Something to cleanse us, make us whole again. When it is a physical problem, we may heal by taking a whole foods rid our bodies of the toxins that seem to be leading to disease. When we feel unwell emotionally, we look for something that can get help get rid of the poison in our mind -- the memories that haunt us, the worrying that refuses to leave us. 

I have long been a big believer in journaling to help emotional healing, and have seen many examples in my own life, and in the life of others. Why is journaling so powerful when it comes to helping us heal from things that have wounded us in our past? Let's examine this closer.

Journaling helps us heal our emotions and spirits because ...

  • Writing things down releases them from our inner self, where they are often bound up, and impossible to reach
  • Writing down our thoughts and feelings makes them less frightening. By looking at something we have written, it becomes more manageable. 
  • Writing down our feelings makes them something we can look back on, and reflect. It can help us to stop obsessing, because we now have a "place" for those feelings.
  • When we journal about our personal thoughts, we can see something good beyond the grief of the moment. Getting it down helps us to move beyond it. 
  • Describing our personal feelings on paper means that we can share them with someone else, whether a friend or a therapist. We can also share our feelings with God, in the form of prayer. 

Examples of Emotional Healing Through Journaling 

As the owner of this website, Journaling Helps, I am a big believer in the power of journaling to help us in many different ways. If I did not believe in this strongly, I would not be able to write on this topic page after page! 

That being said, I would like to share some of my own personal story,and how journaling has helped me to heal from emotional damage. I will also share how I have seen it in the lives of others, and finally, how I have found stories of those assisted in their emotional healing by the act of journaling. 

  • When my Mother left us at the age of 54, I wrote page upon page of yearning, crying, and protesting her absence. The journals helped get beyond my grief, and allowed a place to express the raw feelings. 
  • As a teacher at an alternative high school, I bought my students journals from my own pocket. I then had them write daily in these books. It was wonderful to see the growth in these kids who were often hurting. The journals were a way for them to express those things they could often not express anywhere else. 
  • When I went through several failed relationships, I was able to move on, with great effort, with the help of my faithful journals.
  • During my first stint of teaching, I taught a girl who was very depressed. She shared suicidal thoughts with me. I shared with her, the power of writing, and journaling. I saw her months later, transformed, and happy. I believe the journaling was part of her healing journey. 
  • Erin Gruwell, teacher at an inner city school in :Los Angeles, saw tremendous growth in her students when she gave them all journals to write in, specifying that they did not have to show them to her, if they didn't want to. She wrote an amazing book called " Freedom Writers."
  • This excellent article from Psychology Today, called "Heal By Writing About Your Trauma"  cites scientific evidence to back up the significance of journaling for emotional healing.  

What about you? Do you have any stories to share about how writing out your feelings has helped you emotionally? Please feel free to share below. I welcome any comments, questions or suggestions. 

Image Credit: Painting, Sophie Gray, John Everett Millais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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