Why Journalling Could Be the Answer to Better Mental Health in 2021

This time last year, we naively promised ourselves that this year was going to be our year. The only thing this year really showed us was exactly why there’s the cliche of hindsight being a beautiful thing.

2020 was, to put it bluntly, a bit of a sh*t show. Although it did have some good moments scattered throughout, a global pandemic that has seen almost two million people – including beloved celebrities – die made it, collectively, a pretty terrible year. We were more anxious, stressed, sensitive, and depressed than ever before, to be put it bluntly.

This is exactly why you should sit down, put pen to paper, and journal it. The good, the bad, the quiet moments of gratitude, the sad.

If you’re thinking that the Instagram Top Nine is just fine as a reflection tool for you,  or you just don’t want to remember the past year (who could blame you?), science is here to prove exactly why you should.

Since 1965, psychologists have seen the benefit of journalling – it enhances growth and learning. Since then, research has shown it’s a form of self-therapy that assists with a whole of personality benefits.

These benefits include the aforementioned growth, along with development, intuition and self‐expression, problem-solving, stress reduction, health benefits, reflection, and critical thinking. Yep, just a few little things.

Got a memory like a goldfish? Guilty. Well, journaling aides us in the creation of autobiographical memories; ones that construct personally meaningful representations of our past.

In areas of extreme intensity and stress (y’know, like 2020), journaling helps. In a study of cardiac surgery intensive care nurses, the research found that journaling decreased their stress, and increased their resiliency levels.

If you’re wondering what you should write about, it doesn’t have to be a specific play-by-play of the entire year – that might end up taking you to next year’s New Year’s Eve, depending on how neat your handwriting is.

Here are some of The Latch’s favourite journaling prompts:

  • What challenges did I overcome this year?
  • How did I adapt to this year? (Anything from WFH, to baking tonnes of bread)
  • Who was helpful to talk to this year? How did they help me?
  • What was my most joyful moment of the year?
  • What was my best purchase of the year? (If any year was one to treat yourself in, it was 2020)
  • What’s my favourite pre-pandemic memory?
  • What am I most looking forward to once this is all over?

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