This is by far our most request blog post because this a practice (or “homework as we like to call them at EMH) that we recommend to all of our patients. At Endurance Mental Health, we firmly believe in the discipline of Spiritual Journaling and the transformational power it can have. Let’s examine the evidence for this intervention and explain exactly what it is and how to do it correctly.
The power of journaling has been recognized as a beneficial practice for mental wellbeing for many years. Let’s briefly discuss the medical evidence to support this practice. In a randomized control trial completed by Penn State in 2018, participants were asked to journal on a computer for 15 minutes at a time, 3 times per week for a total of 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, the experimentation group that performed the intervention (journaling) reported improvements in mental well-being and a decreases in mental distress. While this study proved writing (or typing) your thoughts down can help improve mental stability, we believe that physically writing your
thoughts is superior to typing them. Why? Because when we put pen to paper it slows mental cognition speed which can help alleviate anxiety. Here is some evidence to support this recommendation: In a study completed by Japanese University Students in 2021, researchers found that writing or studying material in written form vs. using technology improved memorization and recall when compared to the group who studied materials in electronic form only. We also know that doing this on your phone or computer would promote distractibility. At EMH we believe our current society does not need any more reasons to be on our devices. Instead, we look for ways to
unplug and create rhythms in our daily life to disconnect and recharge.
Journaling alone has great health benefits. For those patients that have a spiritual foundation, we encourage you to dive deeper and utilize this a s a resource to influence your relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that when we spend time in God’s word, our time is never wasted (Isaiah 55:11) and that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (Romans 4:8). We have found that when we approach journaling as a form of deliberate communication to Jesus, our ability to hear the Holy Spirit improves. An old mentor of mine first taught me this practice close to 10 years ago. She called this “Writing your letter to God” which has stuck with me. The idea is to approach this in an informal way like you are writing a letter to your best friend. Speak about your highs and lows, what you are worried about and what you are thankful for. Write down whatever is on your heart and mind and ask God to provide you with the answers to these questions and concerns. We typically recommend writing about 2-3 pages in your notebook for this content. However, don’t get hung up
on the specific length. Some days you will have time for more, while other days 1 page will be sufficient. The next step is to do what we call a “Bible Flip”. We believe that Scripture is complete; nothing needs to be added to it or taken away from it. This means that even if we only read one verse, we can take meaning away from this. To do this, you will hold your Bible in front of you and pray for God to speak to you through His word. You will then open your Bible to whatever page you feel called to and read whatever passages stands out to you. Write the name of the verse down and read the scripture aloud. Then you will write what you feel God is telling you from that verse in your journal next to the name of the verse. You will do 3 Bible Flips to complete this process. Aim to do this practice 4-5 times per week and watch your mental health improve!
Set yourself up for success:
Find a time of day that works best for you to do this. We typically suggest first thing in the morning or right before bed.
Gather your tools: Bible, pen, and notebook
Find a quiet place free of distractions.
Pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you through His Word.
Approach the text with joyful expectation that God will speak to you through His Word.
Let us know how this practice is influencing your mental health and spiritual journey. We would love to hear from you!