If you’re looking for an affordable and effective way to manage your mental health, journaling might just be what you need. In basic terms, journaling is an informal act of writing for personal use. It can take many forms and is doable for all ages. Although children and teens are more likely to take up journaling than adults, there are plenty of benefits of keeping a daily mental health journal for adults, as well.
Why You Should Keep a Daily Mental Health Journal
Everyone needs a safe and constructive way to express their emotions. Writing offers catharsis through self-expression in a private and personal manner. Journaling can help reduce anxiety, break negative thinking, regulate emotions, and promote physical healing. In addition to these, below are some other noteworthy benefits of keeping a daily mental health journal.
Decluttering Your Mind
Journaling is extremely beneficial when it comes to clearing your mind and decluttering your thoughts. Mental illness often comes with cycles of negative thinking and confusion, which can reach the point of physical exhaustion. Many of us have lost sleep to worry and overthinking, which is often the case for people with anxiety or depression.
You can use journaling as a reference tool when making decisions less impulsively. It can also be used as an outlet to help you process difficult emotions and clear your thoughts of worry and concern. Journaling also helps you identify and define your feelings, which can often feel jumbled when you’re struggling with depression or anxiety.
Giving Yourself Room for Creativity
Because journaling is informal, it also provides a creative outlet for self-expression. You can feel free to express anger, sadness, exhaustion, and frustration and write down whatever you want. Although talk therapy is helpful and often advised as a part of mental health care, there might be certain thoughts or emotions you’d rather not share with others. Journaling is a great, private space to explore your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Focusing on Gratitude
In addition to privacy and space to let your thoughts roam, a daily mental health journal can also focus on gratitude and list the things you’re thankful for. There’s always something to be grateful for, even if it’s something as simple as nice weather. Share the wins, joys, celebrations, insights, inspirational quotes, and anything else that will increase insight positivity.
By thinking of the people and things that make us the happiest, we can often overcome the current feeling of sadness or anxiety. Although this isn’t easy for everyone (understandably so,) it can help get you out of a depression funk.
Catching Your Triggers
Another great benefit of daily journaling prompts for mental health is catching your triggers. It’s almost like reading back a journaling prompt from when you were younger and your biggest dream was to own a horse. We often realize how our behaviors and thoughts change when we look back at the things we’ve written.
The same goes for jotting down the things that trigger symptoms of mental illness. Over time, when you read back on your journal prompts, you might begin to notice things that occurred on certain days when your symptoms were especially difficult to manage. Maybe you were exposed to things that trigger your depression or anxiety that you want to make a note of and remember in the future.
Getting to Know Yourself
A major part of mental illness is forgetting about the things you love. A common symptom of disorders like depression and anxiety is ceasing to do the things you once enjoyed doing, like spending time with friends and engaging in hobbies. People often hit a point where they forget how it felt to go out and have a good time or enjoy a good movie or a book.
Food has less flavor, and colors are dull. But journaling can help you find yourself again. Sitting down in front of a blank page with a pen almost forces you to start somewhere. It gives you a voice you might have forgotten you have.
As we’ve mentioned several times, privacy is a major benefit of journaling for mental health. There are many things we can’t share or don’t want to share with others to avoid judgment or misunderstanding. While it’s important to be open with your therapist and your loved ones, it’s okay to have a private way to express your thoughts and feelings.
Journal Prompts For Mental Health
“But where do I start?” you might wonder. If you’re interested in starting a journal, here are some daily journal prompts for mental health that you can start with:
- Write about your day
- Write about the things you’re grateful for
- Write a list of coping mechanisms you can use
- Describe goals you have
- Write a letter to your mind
- List and describe your emotions
- Describe yourself to a stranger
- Write down things you like about yourself
- Write a message to yourself to read on bad days
We Can Help
Our Massachusetts treatment center offers residential mental health care in which clients can receive daily support and therapy in a private and comfortable facility. If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness, our psychotherapy programs are administered by licensed and trained professionals.
We also offer family therapy to help the spouses, parents, and siblings of clients heal from the impact of their loved one’s mental health disorder. For more information about our programs and how we can help, call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621.