Studies have revealed that the mental health of the rising generation has never been worse.
While the world has experienced plenty of crisis events, the widespread use of the internet combined with lower in-person connections has contributed to a genuine mental health crisis, especially for teenagers.
They haven’t had the chance to experience deep emotions and communicate them effectively yet, which puts them at a higher risk than adults for anxiety and depression.
So, can journaling really make the difference for teenage development in the digital age?
Yes! Journaling isn’t a silver bullet, but the benefits of journaling are much more powerful than you may realize. As you read the following evidence supporting teenage journaling, keep in mind that journal prompts for teens can be especially effective.
Develop Self-Awareness and Sense of Self
When the world is constantly changing in scary ways, it is easy for teens not to feel anchored. Add to this that many teens still buy into the stigma that talk therapy is for “crazy” people; therefore, if they go to therapy, they’d be admitting they were crazy.
Regular journaling allows teens a quiet space of self-reflection to put into words the vulnerable feelings they have. They can talk freely about love, hate, fear, and anger without judgment. Getting these big, new feelings out of their body and into a mental health journal can help them recognize their feelings sooner and feel more solid about what they want.
Empathy is the biggest skill behind human connection, and feeling connected is a significant indicator of overall happiness. Empathy is the ability to interact with someone else and recognize how you would feel in that person’s situation. It’s no wonder that teens measure poorly for empathy skills as current media coverage encourages stereotyping, fear, and anger.
Journaling encourages the development of empathy even in the act of describing how you feel yourself. Many people are not self-empathetic and judge themselves for their feelings and desires. Those who journal can more easily translate others’ viewpoints into their own experiences with disappointment, fear, and loneliness by putting their own emotions into words.
While connection is an essential contributor to happiness, resilience is its pair. Resilience refers to a person’s ability to recover from setbacks, adversity, and disappointment.
Journaling allows teenagers to record their own cycle of success and setbacks― they are compiling a personalized history book showing themselves how often they have overcome adversity. As a result, they will collect their own tools and develop an attitude that “this too shall pass.”
Routinely writing in a journal helps teenagers express themselves creatively: they get to choose how much to say, what words to use to express their feelings, if they want to draw or doodle, anything.
In addition, creativity is a form of critical thinking and problem-solving, so not only will it likely help to balance your teen, but it gives them a chance to define the problem and think about solutions.
The GracieStrong Foundation believes in the power of journaling for teenagers. So we are developing a special kind of guided journal with prompts - called The WAY Journal. It will be another tool to help your teen feel empowered and develop a strong sense of self and answer the core question of identity - Who Are You? Find out more at here.