Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any mental health issues. Here are some of the main benefits of journaling to help improve your mental health as well as my journaling 101 for how to start journaling on the right foot.
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Benefits of Journaling
Boosts Your Mood
If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is where it is at. All you have to do is once a day, preferably before bed, write down what you’re grateful for today. It might not seem like much, but it is immensely powerful for going to sleep, thinking positively about your life.
Increases Your Sense of Well-Being
As you write out your thoughts, you will start seeing issues from a new angle just because you are opening your mind to think about it. This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens.
Lessens Symptoms of Depression
Understand that depression is something different from sadness and that you likely need a counsellor. Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was “over” and see better days after.
Start Journaling to Reduce Anxiety
The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the “fight or flight” response. If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why you will start to control it better.
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Lowers Avoidance Behaviours
Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviours such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel. When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out but do the thing anyway.
Start Journaling to Sleep Better
Pouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get things off your chest. However, for sleep, go to the gratitude journal and write down what you are thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that.
Makes You a Kinder Person
Exploring your own emotional state and accepting your own feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too. Letting go of judgment for self improves your thoughts for others also.
Improves Your Memory
This is almost a situation where you want to say “duh” but it must be said. Writing down things helps you remember them because you can go back and read it, but also because the act of writing something down enables you to recall it.
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Journaling 101 – How To Start Journaling
Getting started journaling is not something that you need to think about too hard. Yes, there are numerous types and styles of journals and ways to do this that may or may not be more effective depending on your goals, but you can simply get some paper (or your computer) and get started today.
Dust Off Your Pen and Paper
You don’t need anything special to keep a journal; in fact, purists believe that using pen and paper is the best way to journal because you can carry it with you anywhere and you don’t need technology. So, there will be no excuses.
Do It First Thing in the Morning
Do not procrastinate about keeping your journal. It is best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you only need five to ten minutes, so it is not that big of a deal.
Do It Last Thing at Night
Another time to do it is before bed. This works especially well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you are worried about.
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Write Every Single Day
Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up so that it becomes a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you feel like it.
To Start Journaling Start Simply
Do not start being worried about style and substance right now; just work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it is easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Do not make it hard – just get going.
Begin with Today
Start right now and write about your day today. That is the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same?
Try Different Types of Journals
Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project.
Keep It Private
The main thing to remember about your journal is that it should be kept private. The only exception is if you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counsellor, or coach. Or if you want to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame.
Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not happened to you. The main reason is that writing it down helps you remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It helps you improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.