The Healthy Mind

With Dr. Olga Filippa Nel, Clinical Psychologist

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” Oscar Wilde

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Far from being a teenage girl’s “dear diary” musings, journaling is now recognised as a powerful therapeutic tool that can benefit people of all ages. Journal therapy is the intentional use of reflective writing to improve mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. And the great news is that you can do it anytime, anywhere and in a variety of ways, from the traditional pen and paper approach to virtual methods, such as blogs, videos and personal podcasts.

The list of benefits is extensive. For example, journal therapy has been used effectively to develop improved self-esteem, achieve goals, increase motivation and reduce stress levels. It assists with recovery from addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and the resolution of trauma. It has also proven successful in couples and family therapy.

Journaling improves overall wellbeing by providing focus and increased mental clarity. By recording and describing your concerns, conflicts, issues and stressors you will be better equipped to understand and deal effectively with them. The process of journaling also fosters a deeper understanding of yourself, your thoughts and feelings, as well as your strengths and coping patterns.

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Journaling is most effective if you make it part of your daily routine. Write quickly and do not overthink, let the words flow. Focus not just on events but on the reactions and emotions they evoked in you. Remember that you are not writing for an audience, so let go and let your mind run free. The more you do it, the easier and more comfortable you will become.

Successful people throughout history have kept journals because they are effective. Make journaling a habit and let your internal world maximise your presence in the outside world.

Dr. Olga Filippa Nel

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