Keeping a mental health journal can really make a difference to your life.
When we feel low or overwhelmed, it is important to have an outlet. A journal is an extremely useful tool to help you do this.
Journaling is very simple, just write down your thoughts and feelings to help you understand them and will help you clear your mind and offload.
Your journal is yours, don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation, it doesn’t matter if you just scribble or just make notes, how or what you write, it’s getting your thoughts down that is important. Also, write whatever you feel comfortable with and try not to worry about what anyone else will think, this is your journal and for you only, you do not have to share with anyone.
Benefits of Journaling for mental health Tracking day to day life will help you identify triggers. It can help you identify negative emotions, worries or problems and enables you to resolve difficulties by getting to know yourself better. Journaling can help you improve your outlook on life and by writing it down you can learn what is going right and wrong in your life right now and then plan the best way to come up with viable solutions for dealing with those problems.
A Journal is always there to listen to you whatever time of the day or night it is. If you’re suffering from anxiety, you can often get relief by speaking with someone. If you have no one to speak with, you can use your journal instead. Your journal is like your best friend.
A Journal is helping you create a life story, this can be so helpful to look back on in future days, months or years.
Journaling allows you to organise emotions that feel out of control. This puts you back in control and is very therapeutic.
Regular writing can help boost memory, something that many people with anxiety struggle with.
The release that comes from keeping a Journal can reduce stress/anxiety and improve sleep, as you have shared your worries in your journal, rather than them whirling around your head- keeping you awake.
Journaling can help heal relationships, sometimes after a disagreement there feels to be no way to resolve a situation. You can write about how you are feeling and how that affects you and then write down how the other person might feel, what feelings that the disagreement might have brought up for them. This will not only help you understand their point of view but it could bring a solution you didn’t think was possible. It therefore helps you become a more empathetic person and helps you manage conflict in the future.
Many people with Mental Health can find the smallest thing huge, just the biggest problem in the world. By journaling, you can gain an understanding of your problem and how big it really is. By journaling and writing it down, you may find out that your problem isn’t that big after all.
How to start and what to write
Starting a Journal and knowing what to write can be the hardest of things. Don’t worry if you find it hard the first few times or it doesn’t go as you had hoped! Journalling can bring up some difficult emotions, be kind to yourself and keep trying.
You can write about anything from your thoughts and feelings, any creative ideas, your day, goals you want to achieve, happy times, favourite places, meals and restaurants you have enjoyed, holidays, hobbies… anything!
Remember that a journal doesn’t always have to be within a physical book! You could use a journaling app, a word document, a binder, your phone notes or just a collection of loose paper. If writing in your typical notebook isn’t working for you, try one of the above and see if that suits your lifestyle better!
Try ending each entry in your journal with a gratitude list, this will help finish on a positive note and make it easier for you to start your next entry when you next open your journal.
Try to write as often as you can, set aside a few minutes, plan it into your day
If you want ideas on what to write about in your journal, try these journal prompts:
If you could achieve anything in your life, what would it be and why?
Write out your biggest dreams for each area of your life. Then all the things that are stopping you from achieving those dreams. Money?relationships? dependents? health?
What is the biggest struggle you face with your mental health?
What triggers/signs do you see when you’re starting to really struggle?
Write about all the things, people and places you love! Fill your heart and mind with positivity today.
What are three things that made you happy today? What are you grateful for? Practicing gratitude is so beneficial for your mental health.
What things scare you the most? Write out everything you are afraid of in life. It doesn’t have to be phobia types of fears. It could be the fear of judgement from others. Or the fear of failure.
What things have you achieved in spite of your mental health struggles?
At this moment, what do you see, smell, taste, feel and hear?
What positive lessons have your mental health struggles taught you?
Make a list of all the strategies that help you? Whether it’s chatting with someone, reading a book, going for a walk, having a hot bath or meditating, journal about what helps you feel at peace.
Write about a difficult time in your life and how you overcame it.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be and why?
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
What are your top 5 values in life?
If you had a special power, or a power to change anything in the world, what would you pick and why? Write about how you could help make this happen.
What is your special interest? What are you passionate about? Write about yours and what it means to you.
In what environment and with whom do you feel most like your true self?
What are you naturally good at?
What is your biggest secret? We all have secrets that nobody else knows. If you don’t want to confide in someone or share, writing it down is a huge relief! You can always burn it after!
What do you want in life, what is your greatest desire? Write about it and then create a plan on how you can achieve it.
Think of someone you look up to and admire and write out all the traits they have that you find attractive.
Write about something you feel guilty about, be kind to you, this can be tough.Write about someone or something that makes you angry and cross. Take note as you write how your body feels. After writing, notice how your body feels different. Taking specific note of your heart rate, muscle tension, mood and breathing.