How journaling can improve your mental health

Published December 19, 2022, 4:53 PM

by John Legaspi

A simple journal can be the key to sound mental health

One of the lessons many of us learned during the pandemic is valuing the state of our mental health. Although our life is now going back to the way things were before the pandemic, our mission of keeping our mental health well continues. There are many ways one can release stress, from enjoying the company of others and exploring places to grinding at the gym. But did you know that writing, scribbling, or even doodling on paper can help improve the well-being of your mind?

Meg Yarcia and Pahin(g)a journal

According to Filipino psychologist Meg Yarcia, journaling is a good way to pause, externalize our thoughts, and become self-aware. The beauty of journaling is that there is no right or wrong way to do it, making it the perfect way to escape the hustle of our everyday living and get in touch with our inner selves. 

“Journaling is one way to find a still point in a world that’s always turning,” Meg said. “There is no right way to journal, but there’s a right state of mind for journaling.”

The psychologist, known for sharing her musings and thoughts on mental health and well-being on Facebook and Instagram via her page “Dear Meg,” shared more about the benefits of journaling in enhancing mental health and how people can practice it on their own. 

Is journaling a form of pahinga?

Rest is important to keep one’s mental health in a good state. What people may not know is that journaling, too, is a form of rest or in Filipino, pahinga. According to Meg, journaling can help people be able to take a step back, study things in awareness, and, importantly, take a break. 

But how do our mind and body benefit from it? Taking a break allows our system to recharge, have new ideas, and improve our blood circulation. Journaling as a form of rest also helps us express what usually can’t and enables us to make deeper connections with ourselves, the people that surround us, nature, and the higher being.

How to journal?

Journaling is not limited to just jotting down notes. Meg listed down ways one can use a journal, which includes list-making, the two-column method, my day anecdote, reflections, a mood diary, a letter to myself, and sketches.

A big part of the journaling process is, of course, the journal itself. There’s a bounty of many people can select from every bookstore, both online and offline. What you need is something that will give you space to express yourself and will inspire you to be creative.

Each undated page has quick breathers, word spotlight, and mindful activities

A good example of this is Looking for Juan’s (LFJ) updated version of the Pahin(g)a journal. First released in 2021, the journal now comes with undated pages and has various sections designed to rest the mind such as quick breathers, word spotlight, and mindful activities by Meg and writer Monica Antonio. It also features the works of Filipino artists Ivan Reverente and Kyla dela Torre.

“The Pahin(g)a journal encourages users to slow down, our hope is that through this journal we can prioritize self-care to strengthen ourselves so we can extend more to others,” said LFJ chief executive officer Larissa Chavez.

If you’re still looking for that one item to give to someone, the perfect present may come in the form of a dependable journal. 

To know more about Pahin(g)a journal, visit @lookingforjuan on Instagram or lookingforjuan.com.


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