The habit of journaling for mental health has been popular for some time. When you were a kid, you may have written in a journal or diary about your deepest feelings on love, life and friendship.
Journaling has come a long way since then.
There are so many fantastic ways you can put pen to paper these days.
Many of these journaling techniques are also incredible tools for better mental health. I will therefore be uncovering various types of journaling you can use to improve your emotional and mental well-being.
The Power of Journaling for Mental Health: What are the Benefits?
I mentioned that journaling can be great to better your mental health, but specifically how?
Writing things down can relieve stress and tension as well as bring a level of understanding and insight to a situation.
Journaling for mental health therefore can be an extremely powerful tool.
Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from journaling:
- Connect with your feelings
- Focus on gratitude
- Stay on top of your daily mood
- Get creative
- Reach your goals
- Reduce stress by letting go of upsetting or negative thoughts
- Focus on positivity
- Record your progress
- Reduce rumination for those who suffer from depression
Why Do Therapists Recommend Journaling for Mental Health?
Many therapists actually use journaling, aka ‘Journal Therapy’ in their practices. Journaling can be a great tool for people who have a difficult time processing their thoughts. It’s also a wonderful way of focusing on the positive in life.
One of the mental health struggles many deal with today is depression and according to The Doctor Weighs In, journaling helps people with depression…
“Maintain a positive frame of mind, allows them to confront and diminish negative thoughts and emotions, and gives them the opportunity to enhance their sense of well-being.”
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5 Types of Journaling for Better Mental Health
Find out about the different types of journaling so you can choose a writing method that works best for you and your mental health goals.
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1. Mood Journaling
Mood journaling is as it states – recording your mood, but there is actually more to it than that.
Specifically, recording your mood at different times throughout the day and connecting that mood to what you were doing at the time (activity) is a powerful process.
You may not realize that what you do, what you don’t do, or who you interact with has a massive impact on your mood in that moment.
The main benefit of mood journaling is you can begin to identify patterns with your moods and activities.
By understanding these patterns gives you more control of your daily mood. It means you can start to make decisions.
You may begin to realize that when you get outside or drink a cup of tea you feel really good. You may also notice that when you sleep in or interact with a certain person you feel upset or guilty.
The main goal with mood journaling: Do more of what makes you happy – what brings you joy. And of course, reduce (where you can) things that are not good for you.
What Kinds of Moods can you Track?
Everything! But more specifically:
- Your good moods (happy, excited, positive, relaxed, playful, etc)
- Your not-so-good moods (angry, depressed, sad, lonely, hurt).
Mood Tracking Journal Recommendation:
Track your mood and activities to improve your emotional health.
A little of what you can expect on the inside of the mood journal…
2. Gratitude Journaling
Recording what you are grateful for on a regular basis can make a huge impact on your life.
If you’ve been having a rough time or find it difficult to be positive, gratitude journaling may be perfect for you.
A typical gratitude journal will give you prompts to record what you are grateful for on a daily basis. By practicing gratitude daily you may realize that you actually have a lot to be grateful for in life.
Tips For Gratitude Journaling:
- Think about simple things in life that bring you joy: The sun, a full fridge, reading a great book, having a loving puppy. Check out this post on simple pleasures for inspiration.
- Focus on things you might take for granted – things other people may deeply desire and wish for in their life.
- When you find gratitude in something, try to focus on how it brings you daily joy or appreciation.
- Focus on people, situations, experiences and things.
Gratitude Journal Recommendations:
Give Thanks, Practice Positivity, Find Joy
Includes thoughtful daily writing prompts to help you see the blessings in your daily life.
Cultivate gratitude through the exercise of mindfulness and journaling.
This 90-day journal gives you a path to creating a habit of daily gratitude that you can carry with you throughout your life.
3. Anxiety and Stress Release Journaling
There is something to be said about getting all of your stressful thoughts down on paper.
Think of this process as a way to release stress and let it go.
I personally do this when I have a lot on my mind and I feel overwhelmed. I write down absolutely everything that’s worrying me, making me feel anxious or stressed out.
My favourite process for doing this is to NOT have a process! Simply just write. Get it all on paper and then move on.
You’d be amazed at how the weight will lift from your chest so you can get on with your day.
The Benefits of Journaling to Relieve Stress:
- You will actually be able to let stress go.
- You may find a solution to a problem when you write down your stresses. (Tip: After writing down what’s bothering you, see if you can think of a handful of ways to solve the problem).
- Opportunity to challenge your thoughts. Is the stress really that bad? Can you make it easier to deal with by talking to someone for support or tackling a small item on your to-do list?
- It will be easier to move on with your day (even temporarily) by releasing what’s worrying you now.
Tip: I recommend keeping a journal on you at all times so you can use the above method when you need it most.
Recommended Journals for Stress Release Journaling:
Stress release journaling is more of a free-form style, so a lined journal or dotted grid/bullet journal are best to use. This way you can write anything you like, in any format that suits you.
Check out these beautiful lined and dotted grid journals!
Also available in a variety of other patterns and designs.
Perfect for journaling and colouring!
4. Self Love Journaling for Mental Health
To have self-love means to create balance, find positive ways to think about yourself and give yourself permission to grow in meaningful ways.
Learning to practice self-love can be tough for many, so using self-love techniques in journaling can be the perfect way to get started.
Self Love Journal Recommendation:
A journal and workbook full of self-love writing prompts to build your confidence and remind you of the beautiful things life has to offer.
A 30-day journal writing challenge to help you see how special you are, experience new ways to feel good and give you time to reflect on the things that matter most.
Includes 30 unique self-love writing prompts, weekly reflection prompts, inspirational quotes and colouring pages, self-love affirmations, self-care ideas and more!
Check out the journal HERE.
5. Unsent Letter Journaling
Have something you’ve been wanting to tell someone, but you just haven’t been able to do it. An alternative to talking to the person is to write a letter you don’t plan to send.
By getting things off your chest can actually help you feel better even if you aren’t talking to a particular person. Just the process of writing out your concerns can be healing.
Write down all the things you need to get off your chest with that person. Share your feelings and thoughts towards a situation that may have occurred or about how someone may have treated you.
After you write your unsent letter you can of course choose to talk to the person but note that even if you don’t right away it can help you clarify your feelings.
Unsent Journal Writing Recommendations:
As with stress release journaling, a plain lined notebook works perfectly for this. Choose a journal/notebook you enjoy writing in. Select a book that feels special but is a functional tool for you.
I enjoy using these hardcover journals that come in a variety of colours.
Loads of vibrant colours to choose from and includes pockets inside.
Journaling for Mental Health: Conclusion
As you can see, the benefits of journaling for better mental health are limitless. If you haven’t picked up a journal before to write down your thoughts or if it’s been years since you’ve tried, give it a go.
If anything journaling can bring out your creative writing and be a new hobby to discover and this in itself is so good for your mental health.
Have you tried journaling for your mental health?
How has it been beneficial for you and what did you learn about yourself?
Share in the comments below!