“… people report that they feel better, do better work, have more fulfilling friendships, etc after journaling.  Specifically, people say that journaling is helpful in the following ways:
a. [Journaling] clears one’s head”

H0w Journaling Works to “Clear One’s Head”

Remember when Thumper, the rabbit from the movie Bambi says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  My mother liked to tell me that saying with the added line of “You’re free to think whatever you want, just don’t say it out loud”.

That’s my mother, always practical and maybe a little deviant in her own way.  But that’s a thought for another post.

I mention this saying in a post about clearing your mind because I want you to think about all of those times you have had thoughts that you wanted to tell someone but weren’t able to do so (at least not initially).  Maybe it’s a thought (or set of thoughts) you had that you’d love to yell at a parent, but you know you’d be grounded for saying it out loud.  Maybe it’s a thought you’ve had about your boss or a coworker.  Maybe it’s a thought you’ve had about your child(ren), but you know the child is not quite old or mature enough to understand what you’d want to say.

I don’t know about you, but in these cases when I’m really mad or hurt or feeling a sense of injustice and I want to spew it at someone but I feel I cannot, I will have whole conversations with the other person in my head.  In my head, I’ll say every little thing I have ever wanted to say to them and that person will listen and be schooled in my truth.  I may even insert what I believe will be their side of the argument in my head.  I will refute everything that I think they will say in very clear, coherent and justified ways.  Of course, my truth always wins out in these conversations (as it is the only version of the truth being accurately represented).

I almost never get through the whole conversation at one time or one sitting, though.  Before I can provide my closing arguments, I’ve already fallen asleep, or I have to get back to work, or I have to answer the phone or a text.  I haven’t set aside time to have this conversation in my head, I’m just having it with every free moment I can create or just whenever it decides to pop into my head.

While these internal conversations sometimes make me feel better, I find that they do not always put the problem to rest.  In fact, I find that most of the time my mind goes back to the conversation and like a never ending circle, my mind belabors the same point (or set of points) over and over again.  This cycle never ends because there is no place for it to go.  I’m still unsettled about whatever sparked the need for me to have this internal conversation.

This is just one example of when journaling provides a place where these thoughts can go.  Instead of these thoughts swirling in my head to create a conversation whenever it seems to please them, the thoughts can go on paper.  Once the thoughts are on paper they no longer only exist in my brain.

In a sense, I’ve cleared out my brain of those thoughts that my mind couldn’t find a place to store and then close the drawer on.  Once I’ve journaled, those thoughts are now “stored” on the paper. Once the thoughts are out and on paper – now I have more space in my brain to decide what I want to do with those thoughts.
Do I need to take action on those thoughts?  If so, now that the thoughts are out, I can tweak, change, manipulate, and organize those thoughts into a coherent argument.  Maybe I can write an email (if you take this route, I highly suggest having someone you trust in your life reading this email before you hit send).  Maybe I am now in a place where I could have an actual conversation with the person I’ve been communicating with in my head.
Or maybe that was it – I just needed to get them out.  Now that they’re out – I can move on.  Maybe I can forgive.  Maybe, just maybe, I can allow myself to forget about it emotionally, because if I ever really wanted to I can read what I wrote and remember what I fear might be lost in the process of forgetting.
Journaling helps me clear my mind.  It can do the same for you.