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Can journaling have negative effects?

December 11, 2022 6 min read

 Can journaling have negative effects?

The habit of keeping a journal on a regular basis has been shown to have numerous positive effects on an individual's mood, stress levels, as well as their physical and mental health, and there is no shortage of scientific evidence to support this claim. Journaling was found to reduce anxiety and provide a greater overall sense of wellbeing, according to the findings of a study that was published in the journal JMIR Mental Health. Another study found that keeping a journal can be beneficial to one's immune system, and this research was published in the journal Stress Medicine. And yet another study, which was published in the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, discovered that keeping a journal and engaging in "expressive writing" can really assist improve brain function.

Is journaling everyday OK?

One study conducted in 2013 and published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine indicated that persons with physical wounds who spent at least 20 minutes every day journaling about their feelings really healed faster than those who did not utilize a notebook during the course of the study.

writing in a journal

The substantial body of research that supports the practice of recording one's emotions on a daily basis lends credence to the idea that doing so ought to be regarded as an unquestionably commendable contribution to society. However, other psychologists believe that if you aren't careful and if you don't approach your notebook with the appropriate perspective, it can really make you feel a lot worse than it was before you started writing in it. Continue reading to learn more about what the specialists have to say about journaling and what it might mean for you personally. In addition, if you want to learn more useful information that can assist you in living a longer and healthier life, make sure you are familiar with the surprising habits that, according to scientific research, accelerate the aging process in your body.

1 Reasons Why Keeping a Journal Might Be a Bad Idea

"There is a lot of advice out there on how to journal, some of it is helpful, but much of it is bad," writes the author of Love Without Hurt, Steven Stosny, Ph.D. "Keeping a journal of your ideas, feelings, and experiences can be therapeutic at times, but more often than not, it only makes matters more difficult. In general, it is likely to be harmful if it attempts to assist you in "knowing oneself" in isolation, whereas it may be beneficial if it leads to a greater awareness of, and a change in behavior associated with, your interactions with other people."

man laying down and writing a journal

Stosny believes that journaling can take a negative turn when it "wallows in the unpleasant things that have happened to you," "makes you a passive observer in your life," "makes you self-obsessed," "becomes a vehicle of blame instead of solutions," and "makes you live too much in your head."

If any of these seem familiar to you, then writing in your notebook is doing nothing more than reinforcing the negative thoughts that are already going through your head.

2 Don't Let Your Angry Thoughts Be an Outlet for Your Worst Thoughts

One study that received a lot of attention was published in the journal Psychiatry focused. The study asked three groups of volunteers to keep a journal: one group wrote about the negative aspects of their lives, another group wrote about the aspects of their lives for which they felt grateful, and the third group wrote about "neutral life events." At the end of the research project, the participants who had been asked to keep a journal of their negative thoughts demonstrated virtually no evidence of change and even reported feeling more unhappy or furious with themselves.

old man writing in a journal

The practice of journaling appeared to have the greatest beneficial effect on those individuals whose thankfulness was publicly stated. Check out the article "Totally Crazy Side Effects of Exercising You Didn't Know" for additional guidance on leading a healthy lifestyle.

3 Having Said That, You Should Not Use Flowery Language in Your Writing

You should write about negative thoughts in your notebook; however, according to Stosny, it is essential to avoid going down the route of reinforcing negative feelings when you record them in your journal. According to what he has said, you need to "look objectively at the thoughts, feelings, and conduct you expressed."
How to Keep a Journal: 4 Helpful Hints
When it comes to maintaining a journal for your mental health, there is no set format or predetermined list of tasks that are applicable to everyone. It is intended to be a private space, a place for you to go when the rest of the world seems too chaotic to make sense of, and where you can let your mind wander freely. However, it is of the utmost significance that you approach it with the appropriate, objective perspective.

The health professionals at the University of Rochester Medical Center recommend that individuals "look at their time spent writing as personal leisure time." "You can take some time to relax and unwind during this period of time. Write your novel in a setting that is calm and comforting, perhaps with a cup of tea in hand. Get excited for your time spent writing in your journal. And be aware that you are engaging in activities that are beneficial to both your mind and your body."

If you find that your thoughts have taken a fast turn for the worst, Dr. Stosny suggests that you ask yourself some critical questions that will assist you in viewing your negative ideas in an objective manner: Would you maintain the same viewpoint if you were in a relaxed state? "Are you able to transform the negative energy that this event has given you into positive creative energy and personal development?" Would you have the same experience if you were more in tune with the things that are most important to you? and "Are you acting in a way that is consistent with the kind of person you aspire to be and the values that are most important to you?"

sitting down and writing a journal

You'll get more out of journaling and get more out of the experience if you can learn to distance yourself from your bad feelings and look at them in an impartial manner. Try these five-minute exercises that will have you sleeping like a teenager in no time at all. They are just one of the many ways you can live a healthier lifestyle every day.

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