Are you looking for a new activity to implement in your self-care routine? Journaling is an easy and effective way to boost your mental health and overall wellness. Many people keep a journal simply to record their memories, but it can also be used to improve your mood and develop a more positive mindset over time. Journaling can be particularly useful for those with mental illness: studies show that it builds resilience, reduces depressive symptoms, and helps manage anxiety. While journaling isn’t a replacement for mental health treatment or the advice of a medical professional, it’s a helpful tool for self-reflection that can help you process your thoughts and feelings. Keep reading for tips on how you can use journaling to improve your mental health!
How to Start Journaling
First, choose your format. Some people prefer the experience of writing by hand, while others find it easier to use an app or keep a journal on their phone or laptop. The key is to choose a format that’s the easiest and most enjoyable for you. That way, you’ll be more likely to write frequently and get the mental health benefits of daily journaling. If you don’t know where to start, you can experiment with different styles and find what works best. Maybe you prefer to list out your feelings, include drawings, or use prompts.
When you begin journaling, write freely and without judgement. One of the reasons why journaling can be so therapeutic is because it’s an outlet where you can be 100% honest with yourself, without worrying about what others might think of you. If you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed as you’re writing, remind yourself that this is a safe space to express your personal thoughts and feelings.
To get the most out of your journal, use it to keep track of your emotions. If you find yourself having a strong reaction to a situation – whether it’s positive or negative – write down what happened and how you’re feeling. This process can help you identify triggers and notice patterns in how different places or people affect your mood.
Journal Prompts for Mental Health
Try using the following journal prompts to work through difficult emotions:
- How am I feeling at this moment?
- How are these thoughts and emotions affecting my behaviour?
- Is there another way to view this situation?
What is one thing I can do to change my mindset right now?
Journaling is a great tool to help you engage in positive self-talk. If you’re looking to boost your self-esteem, try the following prompts:
- Name 3 things you love about yourself.
- How would your family and friends describe you?
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
You can also include affirmations in your journal practice. Affirmations are phrases that you can repeat to yourself that brighten your mood and make you feel more self-confident. They usually begin with the words “I am.” Try writing down your own affirmations and repeating them in your mind or in front of the mirror. For example, you might write, “I am valuable. I am strong. I deserve happiness.” When deciding which affirmations to use, it might help to ask yourself: what do you feel you need to hear most right now?
Finally, if you’re journaling about a topic that brings up intense emotions, it’s helpful to end on a positive note. To do this, you can write down 5 things you are grateful for. This could be a loved one, a fun experience you’ve had recently, or something small like getting a good night’s sleep. You can also implement this gratitude exercise into your morning routine to start the day off with a positive attitude, or as a pick-me-up when you’re feeling down.