As highly sensitive people, our first response to stress or feeling overwhelmed is usually the need to retreat. It’s not that we are afraid of our own feelings or of other people, but rather that they can just be too much at times. Quiet and solitude are places of refuge for HSPs, and quite often the only way we can relax, recharge and feel like ourselves again. But while we seek solitude and moments of quiet contemplation, we don’t like to be alone all the time. And when life gets really challenging, HSPs want to reach out and connect with others and feel the comfort of the understanding of a compassionate friend. But for many of us, journaling can be the ideal way not only to relieve stress, but to find a sense of both peace and understanding.

Research has shown the tremendous benefits of journal writing on both our physical and mental health. Writing not only relieves stress and improves your mood, but it also boosts your immune system, which helps your body to withstand the effects of further stress.

By providing you with an outlet for your thoughts and feeling, writing in a journal gives you a platform for your voice to be expressed. It provides a opportunity for quiet time that modern life often prevents, and it’s in the quiet moments, as many HSPs already know, that we find not only peace, but awareness of our selves and our lives.

One of the many benefits of expressing your feelings in a journal is that you don’t have to worry about what anyone thinks or feels about you. You can say whatever you want, and talk about how you really feel, with the liberty of being completely honest and open, and without the nagging voice of critics and complainers or anyone who will tell you why you shouldn’t be feeling that way, including yourself.

Once your thoughts and feelings, your anxieties and your worries are down on paper in a journal or typed onto your computer screen, they are no longer in your mind and causing you to feel overwhelmed or upset or angry. The truly magical thing about journal writing, however, is the way in which writing about your thoughts and feelings clears the way to allow your subsconscious mind to rise to the surface, bringing with it a wealth of understanding and insight about yourself and your dilemmas. It can be difficult to know how we are really feeling sometimes, especially when we are saturated by stress or environmental input or our own feelings. Writing it all down helps us to sort it all out, and gain the clarity we need to feel better. Even when you are not conscious of why you feel the way you do or what you should do about it, your subsconscious mind always knows. Journaling provides a doorway to that subsconscious knowledge.

The key is not just to list the events of your day or the facts about a circumstance, but the way in which those events make you feel. There is no right or wrong way to write, but the more honest you are, the better you will feel and the more you will learn about yourself and why you are upset or angry or overwhelmed. The idea is to get all the chatter out of your head and onto paper. Don’t judge what you’ve written and whether your feelings are appropriate or whether you’re a good writer. Don’t blame or criticise yourself. Your feelings are what they are and they are neither good nor bad, but they can tell you what you need, what you don’t need and when things are too much for you. All you have to do is write them down and then read them. It’s all there in black and white.

While talking to others and reaching out for help is always a good idea, other people are not always available for us. And sometimes we don’t feel like talking, but the thoughts and the feelings are still there, swirling around in our minds and making us feel anxious. Writing in a journal can give you not only the chance to take some time for yourself, but the benefit of seeing the wisdom of your own true self.

About the Author

Deborah Ward

Deborah Ward is the author of Overcoming Low Self-Esteem with Mindfulness.

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