How Writing a Journal Can Positively Affect Your Mental Health

In Guest Blog by Elena Langtry

Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience. She is a consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs, travelling around the world and sharing gained experience. She is a part-time educator and Editor in Chief at Oxessays. You can visit her personal blog at

Jane Sandwood

In July 2017, I was subject to a tragic car accident. I had been driving home during the early hours of a Friday morning after picking a friend up from the airport.

After dropping her home, I was driving home along a dual carriageway, a route I had taken an infinite number of times before.

Sparing the details, an intoxicated individual, someone who I later found out had mental health issues and problems at home, ran out from the side of the road and in front of my car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was in this single moment that my life changed forever.

Not only had I found myself living in the present moment, but my entire perspective on life was altered in a positive way, despite experiencing something so devastating for everybody involved.

As you can imagine, this incident was not an easy situation to brush off and affecting me in the form of panic attacks and not physically entering a car alone for several months afterwards. ‘Shocked’ is the word that springs to mind.

I have retold this situation several times, whether it’s to friends and family, in the form of a blog post or going over it in my own head. It never gets easier. Nobody can really understand or see the same details that I saw that morning.

For months afterwards, I felt truly alone and confused. I started to surf for people who were on the same page with me.

I found my path through writing 

After attending an extremely unhelpful counselling session one night, I was laying in bed, and without even thinking, I started to write on the Memo app on my phone. I have long deleted that message, but the line of thought was how angry I was that someone could be so selfish, to their family, to their friends, to their children, and to me.

However, the longer I continued to write, the more at ease it made me feel. The more I vented my thoughts and emotions into the words, the calmer I became. I started to practise this every night, migrating from my memo pad into a plain empty diary I had laying around at home.

The more I practised, the more I began to understand myself and the way I was thinking, the reasons for thinking the way I do and why I had the emotions that before I believed were plaguing my body and mind.

I started to use blogs like State of Writing and Via Writing to enhance my writing skills, allowing me to write more fluidly and with greater depth, allowing me to express myself more comprehensively.

Naturally, my brain had attempted to block out some of the images and memories I had that night, but I didn’t want to forget, I wanted to embrace them for it was an experience that made me who I am today.

I tried everything, including memory-improving tasks similar to those on Academadvisor. Using this method and by continuing to write, I was able to come to terms with what happened. I was moving forward and eventually arrived at a better, happier, more enlightened person that I am today.

Writing holds the key

While everybody who is suffering from a mental health problem will differ in how they feel and the emotions that affect them, the more people I have spoken to, the more people I find agreeing that the simple act of writing it down is beneficial to their overall well-being.

Academized once conducted a study about how writing can help you build up self-discipline, perfect for helping you to overcome addiction. If you’re feeling unmotivated, or stuck in a rut, writing communities like Paper Fellows suggest that writing to-do lists and your goals can be all you need to help you achieve them, no matter what they may be.

All in all, Tony Bauly, a writer for UK Writings, said it best, “Words have the power to make you think and feel anything. By taking control of the words you’re using when talking to yourself, unlocks the gateway to true freedom and happiness.”

While many of us may have lost the art of writing to alternatives like texting and typing, taking a step back and a more traditional approach to jot down your thoughts and feelings, allows you to be open and honest with yourself and can change your life positively forever.

“My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness”

“My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness”