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Anxiety, Depression and Self-Care: 10 Tips for Journaling to Improve Mental Health 

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Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Capturing your thoughts in writing can seem daunting at first. Trust me, I’ve been a writer for most of my life and the blank page can still feel intimidating. And putting your thoughts and feelings in writing can feel uncomfortable. Because confronting your thoughts and feelings can be difficult. But writing doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it’s one of the best forms of therapy we have. It requires no one else. You can do it for yourself. And by yourself. For writing doesn’t need anyone to be present but you. 

I’ve had the natural urge to write since I was little. So I always have. Over time, keeping a journal has taught me what my thoughts and feelings are. What my deepest desires are. What things weigh me down. And what I want my life to be.

Writing helps us process. It helps us heal. It keeps us from running away from the truth. Because if we are honest and uninhibited in our writing, the truth will be staring at us on the page. 

Journaling has saved my life. Given my soul something to gravitate back to. Kept me grounded. And shown me the way. And it can do the same for you. 

Write down your thoughts and your feelings. Your dreams. Literally and wishfully. What you dream at night holds meaning. Watch for it. What you wish into existence will come true. Ask for it. 

Write if you feel down. Anxious. Despair. 

But also capture when you’re appreciative. Humbled. In awe. 

Write. Read. Listen. Observe. Your truth will reveal itself to you. And no matter how difficult your revelations may be, your mental health will thank you for it. 

So here are 10 tips for journaling to improve mental health: 

  1. Just start writing. The hardest thing about writing is starting. But remember, this is for your benefit. Pick a day and start. Or start as you read this. You have these tips to help you. 
  2. Have something designated for writing your thoughts and feelings and dreams. You can buy a notebook. Or just use the Notes section or a document on your phone. Though there is something quite visceral about writing by hand.
  3. Set aside a time to write each day. Make it a routine. A ritual. Something you look forward to. Even if it’s only 10 minutes. Even if it’s while speaking into your Notes on your phone on your drive to or from work. 
  4. Write without stopping. A technique I often use with my students. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and make sure you have the pen to the page (or your fingers to the keys) until the timer goes off.
  5. Write as it comes out without judgement. The best way to capture your feelings is to write truthfully. Uninhibited. Raw. Don’t think before you write. Write what you think. There’s a difference. 
  6. Write with you as the audience. You never have to share your writing. It can be solely for you. So be honest. About everything. 
  7. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. They will stand in your way of getting your thoughts onto the page. I am naturally a terrible speller. But I can’t let looking up a word stop me when I’m writing. I’ll know what I meant no matter how bad the spelling. And my thought will make it to the page. 
  8. Reread what you’ve written. It doesn’t have to be that day. There are no deadlines. Sometimes it takes me months to read the thoughts I’ve written. Years. But be sure to revisit your writing. For it will teach you so much. 
  9. Write down your accomplishments and victories. At the end of a day. A week. A year.
  10. Write down your ideas and goals. Not to put pressure on yourself to accomplish them, but to give you direction. To give you hope. And to set intentions for your life. Because it’s yours and only yours. So create the map. Chart the course. And get it all in writing.

I wish you all the joys of journaling. Remember to be free in your writing. And to learn from all you have to teach yourself. 

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Anxiety, Depression and Self-Care: 10 Tips for Journaling to Improve Mental Health 


Jenna Grace

Jenna Grace is a neurodivergent writer and educator with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD) diagnoses. She writes and speaks about topics including neurodiversity and SPD in order to help others and to explore new meaning. Visit her website or Twitter, @jennagracewrite.


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APA Reference
Grace, J. (2020). Anxiety, Depression and Self-Care: 10 Tips for Journaling to Improve Mental Health . Psych Central. Retrieved on February 17, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/neurodivergent/2020/01/anxiety-depression-and-self-care-10-tips-for-journaling-to-improve-mental-health/

 

Last updated: 17 Jan 2020
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