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Monday Mentals: Journaling

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This week for our Monday Mentals segment, I wanted to touch on a mental health tool that has helped me a lot on my mental health journey: journaling.

Typically, when I journal I start with one issue I have been having lately. I write about it for a little bit, but it rarely stays on that topic. It turns into a deeper stream of consciousness. I end up asking questions and writing about things that weren't even on my mind. I have discovered things about myself that I hadn't even thought about before.

For example, one day I was writing about some issues I was having in a past relationship. As I wrote, I began writing about how my football career ending has impacted several areas of my life, one of them being my capacity to workout. Once I wrote this, I talked with my therapist further to find that I think of working out as a "job" because it technically was part of my job when I was playing. Hence my difficulty making the commitment to workout after I finish working everyday.

The beauty of using journaling as a mental health tool is that it is entirely personal. You don't have to talk with anyone about what you write, no paying for therapy appointments. And there isn't a set way you have to journal. Like I said before, I just write out whatever comes to mind. You can make a bullet point list, write out questions, draw little doodles. You can journal daily, or just when you really need an outlet. The possibilities for journaling are endless. You just have to find what works best for you.

The important part of journaling is that you get these feelings out there. Feelings aren't meant to be kept bottled up. It can build and build and when you can't hold in anymore, we are prone to explode. Journaling allows for a release of your emotions onto paper.

While journaling can help, it may not be for you or for the severity of your problems. If your issues are more serious and journaling isn't getting the job done, I recommend talking to someone or seeking out professional help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Next week, I will talk more about seeking help on your mental health journey. But until then, I hope you give journaling a shot. Feel the release of the things you've been holding on to and see what you discover about yourself.


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