Journaling is more than just a hobby. It can be a powerful, purposeful way to understand yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions. Everyone can benefit from journaling, but the process is especially helpful in holistic treatment for addiction. According to the Center for Journal Therapy, journaling has mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health benefits. It’s a common recovery tool used in rehabilitation centers, outpatient programs, and private counseling services.
Holistic treatment focuses on your overall well-being rather than just your physical symptoms. In addiction recovery, holistic therapies are useful for your mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well as your overall quality of life. Common holistic therapies for addiction include meditation, massage therapy, herbal medicines, and journal therapy. Journaling can be a powerful experience in addiction treatment as it addresses many facets of your health and well-being.
Benefits of Journaling in Recovery
Journaling allows you to reflect.
Recovery takes a great deal of mental effort and self-awareness, and journaling is an excellent way to sort out your thoughts and find clarity. While you may be able to think through your emotions and experiences without writing them down, keeping a journal makes it much easier to organize your thoughts. You can see everything written out in front of you, so you can make connections and remember all of the important information.
Journaling provides a routine.
A regular routine is one of the most important tools for addiction recovery. Journaling can provide structure to your day and keep you busy, which will reduce your risk of relapsing. It’s an especially beneficial hobby because you can continue it as you transition from rehab back to your regular routine. Exiting rehab and readjusting to your outside life can be difficult, but journaling can be a predictable part of your day that stays the same wherever you are.
Journaling helps you gain insight and track your progress.
Recovery is gradual, and it can sometimes be hard to see the progress you’ve made. When you keep track of your experiences in a journal, you can see concrete proof of how far you’ve come. A situation may have been extremely triggering in the past, but you now may have a new approach for handling it. As you look back on your journal entries, you can feel a sense of accomplishment. You can also look for patterns in triggering situations and gain insight into why certain situations are difficult and what you can do to stay on track.
Journaling helps you develop skills.
Everyone should be able to convey their thoughts through writing, and journaling will give you good practice. As you get more comfortable with journaling, you’ll notice that it becomes easier and easier to articulate yourself in writing. Also, journaling is an effective way to improve your memory skills. Drug and alcohol abuse can impair your memory, but journaling helps you practice your ability to recall your experiences.
Journaling has physical health benefits.
Most of journaling’s benefits are mental and emotional, but writing may also improve your physical health. A Psychology Today report states that writing can lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and improve liver and lung functioning.
How to Journal During Addiction Recovery
There are no strict rules for keeping a journal. Most importantly, you should find a process that feels comfortable and sustainable. Many people start journaling by writing long entries every day, but they quickly lose interest and stop writing. It’s better to write shorter or less frequent entries and enjoy the process than to force yourself to spend hours writing every day.
Journaling typically refers to writing, but you aren’t limited to the written word. Some people find it easier to express themselves visually, and drawing, painting, or making a collage could be a great way to convey a message that you can’t find the words for.
Try to avoid editing your journal entries. It might be hard to stay in the moment and avoid scribbling things out, but your journal should be a representation of your thought processes.