You might be wondering how writing in a journal can have a significant impact on your mental health. After all, it’s just putting some words on a page how much can that really do for you? It turns out that this simple practice can do a lot, especially for those struggling with mental illness or striving towards more positive mental health. In particular, journaling can be especially helpful for those with PTSD or a history of trauma.

Keeping a journal can give you a chance to create and consider the narrative of your life, with all of the choices you have made and the memories that make you who you are today. In a word, the benefits of journaling on recovery is “cathartic”.

There are various ways that benefits keeping and writing a mental health journal.

Self-Reliance

1. Cultivate a habit

Some habits are very positive and developing them will greatly benefit you. In fact, cultivating these habits will almost certainly have the effect of causing some of the more negative ones to drop away. Habit does not develop itself rather you need to show consistency while writing in a journal. This journal writing habit will help you get over your emotional burst out.

It is not important to write in a proper phrase and giving a direction, just write what comes to your mind and go with the flow.

2. Less dependence on others

Sometimes, we feel lonely when there is no one around whom we can share ourselves. It is the human nature that we cannot feel good until and unless we share moments with others.

Hence, dependence on others increase and eventually, if the person is not available, we started getting feelings of depression or mental issues.

So keeping a mental health journal safe you from such dependency. You become self-reliant person and can figure out problem by your own along with being mentally balanced.

3. Zero costs

Most of the journal writings may not cost anything from you. It is free to use and keep with you at any time anywhere. If a journal cost you nothing and still giving a lot of mental health benefits then why not to give it a try. Let’s do and sparkle up your life.

4. Simple pen & paper or tech

This is an obvious starting place and the choices are digital or paper. While traditionally, paper has been the most used medium, digital works fine too. The choice comes down to your comfort level and availability. So my advice is that please don’t spend too much time trying to choose the medium. Make the choice right away and stick to it.

Changing mediums often could be confusing and disrupt the thought process. If you choose to go with paper and pen mode, try to find a notebook that works for you. Focus on the process of journaling and not the physical journal. It does not matter if the journal is too fancy, too big or too simple.

5. Reflections

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Our fast-paced lives can become even more hectic as we start shouldering on more responsibility, making us feel the pressure as others place high expectations on us. This results in us getting frenzied as we are easily caught up with the day-to-day.

Journaling is a good way to help us to stop, take a step back and reflect on ourselves. We can self-reflect on gratitude or what we did today and write it in our diary. Daily reflection can also be done at night before bed. We can look back at our life in a journal and think about how we’ve changed and what we can do to improve ourselves.

6. You can be honest

Journaling lets you explore uncharted thoughts and emotions. Writing about your recurrent thoughts gets them out of the way and clears your mind to make room for other ideas. Writing on paper also lets you examine your ideas from various perspectives.

Journaling helps you keep track of your ideas, inspirations, quotes and sketches. They may be just scribbles when they stand alone, but they add up to powerful insights over time. A journal is a safe space for honesty that will free you from thinking about what you should be writing. It also frees you from endlessly comparing yourself to others.

Writing honestly is a form of self-acceptance. The more you write honestly, the more you accept yourself. And the more confident you become about expressing yourself.

7. Privacy

Keeping a private journal used to mean writing in a notebook with a lock on it, or that you kept in a locked box. That’s no longer the case, and there are apps and web services that offer privacy and portability. It is in your hand if you want to share your writings with others.

8. Confidentiality

Journal writing apps mostly technological apps started introducing the concept of confidentiality for the users. If you are using an app then you will come to know that before sharing and accessing anything, you need to grant permission to the app. So, now the confidentiality policy is the major concerns for developers and the users.

Feel free to share your ideas while doing journal writing without the fear of confidentiality and privacy concerns. More you are liable to share, you will feel mentally strong.

9. Set goals

A journal is a good place to write your goals, ambitions, aspirations and New Year resolutions. By keeping them in a diary, you can monitor your progress and feel motivated to continue to focus on your next milestone!

It is known that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. By keeping a diary, you not only can write down a list of ambitions and aspirations, you can expand on them. You can monitor your progress and continue to motivate yourself by documenting new developments and achievements.

10. Get rid of those thoughts in your mind

Give yourself permission to write whatever you’re feeling without policing your thoughts. Don’t attach negative emotions like guilt or embarrassment to what you write. You have every right to your thoughts and feelings, and your journaling practice is your way of helping them be as healthy as possible. Don’t judge yourself for making this great step toward resolving your inner conflicts.

For example, you might feel guilty for raging out over something that happened in your day. Don’t judge yourself for getting upset because that’s a perfectly normal reaction. Instead, pat yourself on the back for working through those thoughts in your journal.

Get rid of those thoughts in your mind

Monitoring

1. Track your behavior

So we all know that habits are important, but how often do we take time to reflect on our habits to make sure they are good ones? One of the great ways to form new habits is by tracking them! Don’t think it’s a bad or good one, just write and record behaviours on daily basis. You will feel enforce by looking at good ones and when you feel yourself involve in bad habits, you will try to omit it.

By tracking your progress on your new habit, you will give yourself away to hold yourself accountable on whether you did the new behaviour or bad one! Without tracking your progress, you are simply leaving it up to chance. Hence, by tracking your behaviours improve you mental wellbeing.

2. Track your emotions

It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal is a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. One of the ways to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy way to express yourself. This makes a journal a helpful tool in managing your mental health. 

Writing about your emotions in an abstract, impersonal perspective is also calming and makes you happier, a study found. Writing about your feelings helps the brain overcome upsets and leaves you happier.

3. Track your thoughts

Journaling is an incredible tool for people of all ages to learn to label their thoughts which in turn makes it easier to communicate with others. Journaling helps you identify patterns and specific thoughts that throw you into depression. Writing about your recurrent thoughts gets them out of the way and clears your mind to make room for other ideas.

4. Know your triggers

Recording your mood in your journal entries helps you recognize patterns that may lead you to your triggers. Write down how you felt during the day either before or after your journal entry. Additionally, rate your mood on a numerical scale. Then, look back over your moods to see what helps you feel great and what triggers a low mood. This can help you make positive changes to improve your mood overall.

5. Find out the symptoms of mental health

Knowing about one’s mental health condition is an important factor in order to deal with daily life stressors. If you are feeling difficulty in finding out the symptoms for your mental health conditions then online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety are common. They are treatable and recovery is possible.

If you find out you have such symptoms, don’t wait and hesitate to talk and visit a psychologist.

Review

1. Find out unproductive days

Sometimes people struggle to stay productive simply because they’re bored with the work. They may find it uninteresting or tedious which makes it harder to finish. The same thing can be true with work that is overly difficult or complicated. Journal writing helps you to find out if your day went unproductive and you will realize your everyday routine.

2. Know what triggers your conditions

Listen to your mind and body. A key step in learning to recognize your triggers involves paying attention when situations generate a strong emotional response. Triggers are external events or circumstances that may produce very uncomfortable emotional or psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic, discouragement, despair, or negative self-talk. For example, you may feel anxious when you are facing bunch of people and you have to put your concerns in front of them.

3. Avoid those triggers

Life is going to throw triggers at you regardless of if you try to avoid them or not, so you shouldn’t make it more difficult on yourself. Your brain has been conditioned to drink and use in certain situations, so if you keep putting yourself in reckless situations, eventually willpower will fail you.

Minimize your triggers by avoiding certain situations and behaviours such as not going to the bar or houses of friends who you used to use with.

4. Psychoanalysis confirmations

If you are feeling trouble in distinguishing your normal and disruptive thoughts, then go for psychological assessment. It will give insight into your thoughts and feelings. Your mental health checklist can help you to sort out your internal state and you will get idea how to figure out to improve mental wellbeing.  

5. Check out available researches to help yourself

There are a lot of researches available that focuses on mental wellbeing of people. Researchers are doing their best effort to help community and remain in contact to provide as much information as necessary. Reading online journals, blogs, and research articles will help you to direct yourself.

6. Check for chronic illnesses

Chronic conditions can be complex. Diagnosing them can be complex as well. Your doctor can help you if you have some problems or mental health issues. Professional diagnosis can do the best in this regard.

Some of the chronic diseases cannot be cure fully but can be manage with full care. 

Check for Chronic illness

Seek-Help

1. Be specific what help is required

You are not comfortable in your daily life, seek help. You must be clear in seeking help whether it is from family, friends or therapist. Be open for treatment and focus on self-healing. Don’t feel hesitation in specifying your needs.

2. Be open to free and paid help resources

There are many free and paid resources that are eligible to provide mental health counselling. Free resources can be in the form of motivating videos, pictures, articles that pinpoint essential ways to overcome certain imbalances of life. Paid resources include contact with therapist online or some mindfulness based activities and others therapies to treat a specific issue.

Nothing is important than a good health so feel comfortable in using resources that might be effective for your mental conditions.

3. Be open to get help

It can sometimes be really difficult to talk about your feelings with friends or family. It’s common to feel worried about upsetting people you care about, and feel nervous about what people will think, or how it might affect your relationships. There’s no right or wrong way round. But the people closest to us can often be a valuable source of support.

4. Writing a journal aids when help is given

There is a ton of evidence out there on the outcomes of journal writing therapy, and overall this evidence points to its effectiveness in helping people identify and accept their emotions, manage their stress, and ease the symptoms of mental illness. Writing our thoughts, feelings, and actions down in a journal allows us to craft and maintain our sense of self and solidifies our identity. It helps us reflect on our experiences and discover our authentic self.

5. Try psychotherapy

A psychotherapist or therapist is a trained professional who assists people with various mental health conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, bipolar disorder, negative behaviour patterns, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other debilitating feelings. Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person change behaviour.

6. Try mindfulness activities

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. Mindfulness improves mental health.

Mindfulness, or being in the present moment and aware of your surroundings, can be boosted through journaling. Writing about your surroundings and the present moment helps you become more mindful every day even when you’re not journaling. It teaches you to pay attention and be present.

Being in the present moment lets you escape that endless cycle of brooding over the past or worrying about the future. You’re left in the now to take things in with all your senses.

Health & Benefits

1. Deal with depression

Journaling has been shown to be effective in helping people manage their depressive symptoms. Journaling is no substitute for professional guidance when the depression is particularly severe, but it can complement other forms of treatment or act as a stand-alone symptom management tool for those with mild depression.

The benefits of journaling and expressive writing for those suffering from depression are pretty clear: it gives them the opportunity to release pent-up negative emotions, keeps them in a more positive frame of mind, and helps them build a buffer between their negative thoughts and their sense of well-being.

2. Deal with anxiety

Journaling can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders. Like depression, the positive outcomes are well-documented for this purpose. In fact, compared to many other aims when journaling, it is extremely well-suited to helping you deal with anxiety. There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down. Writing in a journal can positively impact your anxiety through:

  1. Calming and clearing your mind.
  2. Releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress.
  3. Letting go of negative thoughts.
  4. Exploring your experiences with anxiety.
  5. Writing about your struggles and your successes.
  6. Enhancing your self-awareness and teaching you about your triggers.
  7. Tracking your progress as you undergo treatment.

3. Promotes Recovery

Whatever event, habit, or disorder you are struggling to overcome, journaling can help you find healing. If you are suffering in the aftermath of a traumatic event, journaling can help you find the good in life. It can even help you see the positive side of experiencing the trauma, which helps reduce the severe symptoms that can accompany trauma (Ullrich & Lutgendorf, 2002).

If the recovery you seek is for the death of a loved one, one of the most traumatic and heartbreaking events of all, journaling can help with that as well. Writing can give you a chance to process your enormous loss and reduce the most severe symptoms of grief. 

The recovery that journaling can have the biggest impact on is recovery from addiction. If you’re struggling to overcome an addiction, journaling can help you record your struggles and your accomplishments, hold yourself accountable and allow you an opportunity to work through difficult thoughts and emotions in a healthy manner.

4. Improves Communication

When you journal, you learn to better express yourself. And this lets you better communicate your feelings with others. The more self-aware you become, the more you can make yourself understood to others. Writing leads to clear thinking which in turn leads to clear communication.

Journaling can also benefit you in relationships and marriage, where so many problems come from misunderstandings. Journaling is an incredible tool for people of all ages to learn to label their thoughts and emotions, which in turn makes it easier to communicate with others.

Improves Communication

5. Sleep Better

Bedtime worry about incomplete future tasks contributes significantly to people’s difficulty in falling asleep, a study found. People who write to-do lists and journal about the tasks they need to complete fell asleep significantly faster than those writing about completed activities. It helps to write a very specific to-do list for about 5 minutes at bedtime to help you sleep better, the study concludes. The more specific the list the faster the study participants fell asleep.

6. Improves Mood

Writing down your fears lifts your spirits because you’re expressing your emotions instead of keeping them bottled up. It also puts things in perspective and makes you realize that no matter how bad things seem, there are solutions and things to be grateful for now. Writing clears your mind of intrusive thoughts and problems that you can’t stop thinking about. It also helps you identify your triggers and learn how to handle them.

Writing about your emotions in an abstract, impersonal perspective is also calming and makes you happier, a study found. Writing about your feelings helps the brain overcome upsets and leaves you happier, the study noted.

7. Improves Gratitude

Writing down your positive thoughts can boost your sense of gratitude. Focusing on all the good things in life makes you more optimistic and boosts your self-esteem. Keeping a gratitude journal can have life-changing effects.

Expressing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and help you sleep better, a study found. Writing about gratitude also helps with depression, fatigue and insomnia.

Positive Psychology says that expressing your gratitude makes you less materialistic. It also helps with preventing burnout and encourages patience.

Set Goals

1. Set short, mid, and long-term goals

It is important that your goals are specific so that you know if you’ve achieved them or not. Short-term goals can involve eat healthy, exercising, having regular sleep; mid-term gaols may include increase self-confidence, treat depression, anxiety; and long-term goals may include volunteering yourself to help others, build career and live a balance life.  

2. Take baby steps

This may be the simplest, yet the most effective strategy we can use, as consistency, and learning to build on small victories are the keys to success. The happiest and most successful people will tell you that they have achieved their level of life and work success by taking small steps, and making one positive choice after another.

3. Reward and be kind to yourself

By rewarding yourself in the moment, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that your efforts result in a positive reward. By doing this continuously, your brain will start to link pleasure to accomplishing the task or objective and move towards it in the future.

4. Treat yourself as your best friend

In order to be our own best friend, we need to learn to love ourselves unconditionally. Love yourself unconditionally. Best friends respect each other enough to be honest. Best friends may love each other unconditionally, but, this doesn’t mean that they shy away from the truth.

5. Be progressive and steady

It is important for you to be steady and progressive while doing any activity for your mental well-being. You cannot find effective result in a day. You should keep involving in suggestive activities and be consistent in actions.

Be progressive and steady

Management

1. Behavior management

A behaviour management plan is a plan made up of procedures that are in place to hold students accountable for their behaviour, encourage positive behaviour, and to eliminate scolding or lecturing, which is rarely, if ever, effective in changing behaviour. In some cases, the students can help you develop these.

2. Emotions management

Emotion management is the ability to be aware of and constructively handle both positive and challenging emotions. By helping adults learn the skills to manage their emotions, adults learn to process a range of feelings, while also learning self-advocacy skills that will help them in school, work, and life.

3. Thoughts management

Management Thought is the gathering knowledge about the origin of management. Thinking proper and foundation of management research of different anthers about the basic concepts of management. Henny Fayol, “To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control.”

4. Stress management

Journaling is also an excellent method for anyone who simply wants to manage their stress, perhaps to keep it from pushing them well into the realm of anxiety and depression.

Keeping a journal can help you fully explore your emotions, release tension, and fully integrate your experiences into your mind (Scott, 2018). Further, it can help you work on reducing specific sources of stress or aid you in reaching an important goal (perhaps reducing your overall stress?).

Besides the outcomes listed above, journaling can also help you manage your stress by:

  1. Decreasing symptoms of various health conditions.
  2. Improving your cognitive functioning.
  3. Strengthening your immune system.
  4. Examining your thoughts and shifting your perspective.
  5. Reducing rumination and promoting action.
  6. and planning your options and considering multiple outcomes of a situation (Scott, 2018).

Journaling can help with general sources of stress, but it is also a valuable tool for addressing issues and reducing stress from more specific problems.

Know Yourself

1. Honest and passive journaling is best to know yourself

When you are honest while journaling, it focuses on the real points of your life that has a major influence in your life. Passive journaling allows you to highlight the most important participants or events within sentences by placing them at the beginning of the sentence.

2. Develop Self-Awareness

If we want to change and improve, we need to have an awareness of what isn’t working in our lives. As the saying goes, we must admit we have a problem, before we can start to change it. However, we can often not know what the problem is. If there are areas of our lives that are unfulfilling or make us unhappy, we need to first know why they make us unhappy. The way we do this is by developing self-awareness.

Developing self-awareness is one of the biggest benefits of a daily journaling practice. Self-awareness is like a muscle, the more we use it the stronger it gets. We can develop and strengthen our self-awareness by the daily practice of writing down our thoughts and feelings. Taking time each day to record the events of the day, and our response to it can help us to see things in a new way. Over time, as we write regularly, we get to know ourselves better. In turn, we get a clearer sense of what is working for us and what isn’t. 

3. Sleep Better

Bedtime worry about incomplete future tasks contributes significantly to people’s difficulty in falling asleep, a study found. People who write to-do lists and journal about the tasks they need to complete fell asleep significantly faster than those writing about completed activities. It helps to write a very specific to-do list for about 5 minutes at bedtime to help you sleep better, the study concludes. The more specific the list the faster the study participants fell asleep.

4. Improves Communication

When you journal, you learn to better express yourself. And this lets you better communicate your feelings with others. The more self-aware you become, the more you can make yourself understood to others. Writing leads to clear thinking which in turn leads to clear communication.

Journaling can also benefit you in relationships and marriage, where so many problems come from misunderstandings. Journaling is an incredible tool for people of all ages to learn to label their thoughts and emotions, which in turn makes it easier to communicate with others.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), more than a third of Americans reported having symptoms of anxiety and/or depression in July 2020, an increase from 11% in the first six months of 2019. Furthermore, NCHS reported that an online survey of 5,400 adults in late June 2020 found 41% had struggled with a mental or behavioral health problem since April 2020 including anxiety, depression and increased use of drugs or alcohol to deal with difficult feelings. Journaling helped them to deal with such difficult time and handled their anxiety and depression.

An important aspect of one of the study is the demonstrated feasibility of the Web-based writing task intervention. First, participants generally enjoyed the intervention (i.e. 39.4% reported that the journaling activity made them feel “somewhat better” and 18.2% reported that it made them feel “much better”). A total of 67 out of 70 consented and randomized participants competed the study for an overall excellent completion rate of 95%; this compares favorably with other randomized expressive writing interventions in chronic illness samples (e.g, 73% and 81%). 

Summary

In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. Your journaling will be more effective when you keep doing it on regular basis for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do it at your own ease and you will notice it will act as a buffer to your problems. You can also keep journal with you while visiting a psychologist or doctor.

Moving forward with Psychotherapy

Fortunately, Ahealo.com offers a global ePsychotherapy platform that allows clients to book an online anonymous private appointment with a broad skill range of psychotherapists at an affordable cost and desired schedule.

ahealo.com

Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule. 

Stay well.

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