Journaling for Mental Health

Posted by Amy Dryden on

We’ve heard from many of our dear customers struggling to manage their mental health in 2020.  We wanted to offer some resources to help!  During times of upheaval and stress, it is normal to experience higher amounts of depression and anxiety. There are several journaling methods to target specific types of stress which may help with overall mental well-being.

Journaling is proven to combat anxiety and manage depression symptoms. Journaling can aid in a better sense of self, positive self-talk and boost your overall mood. Consider journaling as a tool to help better your mental health.

Methods of Journaling
Free Write – This method is used to help with anxiety and can create an overall calming feeling. Free writing is designed to let your mind flow without interruption and to get all your thoughts onto paper. Write down all your thoughts and feelings in a continuous session. Do not worry about spelling or grammar in this exercise. Once you are done writing, you may choose to reread your journal to find sources of your anxiety or stress.

To-Do Lists – This method is simple and effective for managing anxiety symptoms. Write down all of your tasks for the day - big or small - and as your day progresses check them off one by one. To-do list items can be as simple as “eat breakfast” or “five minutes of deep breathing”. To-do lists make life feel slightly less chaotic, help foster a sense of accomplishment and create a positive sense of self.  The key to using to-do lists to manage anxiety is to create a daily routine around re-writing and reviewing your list.

Letter Writing – This method is sometimes called “Dear John writing” because most times the letters will never be sent. Letter writing can be effective to show your true feelings and help sort your thoughts regarding specific people or situations. In the letter writing method, write a letter to someone, yourself, a situation, etc. to try to find clarity. Hold onto these letters and reflect on them as time goes by.

Cognitive-Behavior Psychology – Cognitive-behavior psychology is a common approach used by therapists to modify behaviors and rewire the brain to be kinder to oneself. This approach is commonly used for treating depression and anxiety. In a journaling context, the main areas to focus on are a specific triggering situation, how you felt about the situation, your thoughts regarding the situation, your actions afterward, and alternative thoughts moving forward. Really focus on the alternative thoughts portion of this exercise in order to get the most from it.  

Try these types of journaling strategies to see which ones work best for you.  If there is anything we can do to help, please don't hesitate to reach out!

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