Keeping any type of journal on a consistent basis will improve your mental health in both the short-term and over the longer term. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, related to your mental health, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep.
Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your concern – take a look at the ways journaling can help improve your mental health below and use the information to help you choose the right kind of journal for your needs.
* Journaling to Boost Your Mood – If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful place to begin. Continue the practice for 21 to 28 days, and you’ll have a foundation for a new positive habit.
All you must do is once a day, at a time that works for you, like before bed, write down what you’re grateful for that day. It might not seem like much but it’s immensely powerful for helping you ease into sleep, thinking positively about your life.
* Journaling Helps Increase Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re opening your mind to think about it.
This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens. You may even find that solutions come to you while you are journaling – make sure to write them down, or choose a multi-purpose journal that has space for you to sketch or draw in it!
* Journaling Can Help Ease Symptoms of Depression – Understand that depression is something quite different from sadness and that you need a professional counselor. If what you’re feeling is more than sadness, please seek help by getting a referral to a professional counselor.
Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can start to feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was “over” and see better days after. Consider using a lined journal to help “corral” your thoughts and keep them organized.
* Journaling Helps Reduces Anxiety – The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the “fight or flight” response.
If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why you’re feeling that way, you’ll start to gain more control of that response and handle it better.
* Journaling Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel.
When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out, and will help you move toward being able to recognize the feelings but do the thing anyway. Start with small, low-level issues that don’t cause you a lot of physical discomforts – you can build up your strength and your commitment to not letting the anxiety take over.
* Journaling Helps You Sleep Better Pouring your heart out into a journal is a wonderful way to get things off your chest. Set and reinforce an intention (a promise to yourself) that once you write it down, you’re also going to let it go.
For easier sleep, go to your gratitude journal and write down what you’re thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that instead of your last waking thoughts being about what makes you anxious.
* Journaling Can Make You a Kinder Person – Exploring your own emotional state and accepting your own feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too.
Realizing that there are many other people who are experiencing some of the same challenges and feelings that you are can help you feel less alone. It may also help you lessen your natural tendency to judge yourself for feeling the way that you do. Letting go of judgment for self improves your thoughts for others, and that’s something we could all use more of.
* Journaling Improves Your Memory – This is a situation where you want to say “duh” but it must be said. Writing down things helps you remember them more clearly because you can go back and read what you’ve written.
The act of writing something down signals it’s importance to your conscious mind and enables you to recall it more easily.
One thing that can really help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others.
Your journal is for you and only you, but you can choose to share it with professionals on your own terms.