Our website is supported by our readers. We sometimes earn affiliate commissions when you click through the affiliate links on our website at no extra cost to you.
There are many facets to mental health, from experiencing stress and overwhelm, to having a mental illness like anxiety or depression. No matter what mental health issue you are currently facing, the practice of writing in a journal can help tremendously.
Your Current Mental Health and What is Causing It
Mental health tends to be a blanket term for many different things, from the stress you experience to mental illnesses you might be suffering from. Journaling is going to help you figure out where your mental health status is and what might be causing it.
No, journaling is not a crystal ball and definitely not a licensed therapist, but it does help with more self-awareness. Sometimes, you feel bad but you don’t know why. Your heart races and your stomach is in knots, but you don’t realize it’s your anxiety. You are irritable and constantly in a terrible mood, but you don’t know it’s from your stress.
These are the types of things that journaling can reveal about your mental health.
Understanding Your Own Anxiety
Anxiety is much more common than you might realize, so you are definitely not alone if this is something you have been struggling with. Luckily, journaling can help a lot with your anxiety, along with other treatments you are pursuing.
In fact, in one study, participants that wrote down their feelings of anxiety 3 days a week for 12 weeks saw a marked improvement in their overall well-being.
Similar to revealing more about your mental health in general, journaling can help reveal more about your anxiety. What is triggering it, what makes it worse but helps you to feel better? The more you write in a journal about how you are feeling, the more you discover exactly how long you have had anxiety, and even when it might have started. You often discover so many situations from your past that you didn’t realize were directly linked to your anxiety.
Identifying and Releasing Causes of Stress
Writing in a journal has a great way of figuring out what is causing you the most stress in your life so you can work on reducing it. Everyone has stress, and most of the time, it is unavoidable. Sure, you might be the catalyst of your own stressors from time to time, but for the most part, it is simply the result of something you didn’t expect.
However, you do have control over how you react to stress and reduce the feelings of stress on the body and mind. With journaling, you are able to identify your main stressors and work to either reduce them or change how you react to them.
More Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health
Whether it’s burnout from school, stress from work, or a hectic home life, journaling for mental health has a mountain of benefits, such as:
- It makes you more aware and perceptive of what triggers feelings of anxiety or stress
- Writing your thoughts down may encourage you to open up socially and to seek help from others
- Written positive affirmations have been shown to help physical healing as well as mental healing
- Journaling can help break mental cycles of brooding over repetitive negative thoughts
Getting Started With Journaling
Unsurprising, the thought of journaling for many can be a bit daunting and thus never manage to get started. Whether you’re not sure where to begin or the thought of endless writing seems more work than it’s worth, start out simple and slow.
In fact, start by purging all of the expectations and assumptions you may have about journaling. Your journal is yours and you’re allowed to make it whatever you want.
To start, maybe just jot down short simple ideas or emotions you’re currently feeling. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, but you’re taking the first step to releasing fears, emotions, anxiety, anger, etc.
As you become more comfortable with writing things down and make it a habit, consider changing things up.
If you’re accustomed to writing in a one place, go elsewhere and see how it influences new ideas. Or perhaps instead of writing in black ink, try blue, purple, or even pink.
Ultimately, the idea is to make journaling for mental health interesting and unique for you and only you. There are no rules nor limits to what you can do.