Writing out your thoughts lets you empty your mind of distractions; that’s why journaling has always been a therapeutic venue for introverts. A journal is a private space where you can reflect, vent your frustrations, and inscribe your hopes. It gives you a sense of calm even during chaotic times. Former President Obama has attested to this form of therapy, claiming “the process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask the tougher questions.” Putting all the confusion down in a systematic way on paper enables you to see a bigger picture. By writing out all of the conflicts affecting life, you can track your personal achievements (and see where life has taken you after achieving a goal). Journaling has even been found to be beneficial towards emotional health, as getting thoughts written down enhances mood and stems worry in the long-term.
But a well-balanced life is about having many outlets, so remember that a journal is a reflection – not your whole life. You can’t forget to live! Socializing is just as important to personal development as self-reflection. Interacting with others cultivates experiences and builds connections. Humans thrive on connections with one another. Mingling with others creates new wants and commitments, which can send life down a much more exciting path than if you were sitting at home in your own head. By exposing yourself to new environments and situations, brainpower can be challenged and knowledge can be applied in different and creative ways. Socializing also helps put our problems into perspective; instead of writing about your troubles, interaction allows you to see how serious your problems really are, and if need be, find a support group.
Journaling is a treatment that may seem preferable because it takes place in a judgment-free zone, but sometimes people need to hear some critique. Socialization allows you to hear other opinions which can further shape decisions down the line; someone who just writes in a journal won’t hear that advice.
Using a journal for therapy is a fantastic practice. However, sometimes journaling can cause you to look too far inwards, and not realize the outer world is waiting for you. Feel free to do some self-reflective writing— but don’t forget there is company to be had, and good friends who are waiting to have many warm conversations.