How Journaling Can Help with Mental Health Issues
Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any mental health issues. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue.
This is how journaling can and does help:
* Boosts Your Mood – If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is where it’s 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’s very powerful for going to sleep, thinking positively about your life.
* Increases Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re 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 counselor. 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.
* Reduces 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’ll start to control it better.
* Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors 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.
* You’ll 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’re 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 has to 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.
One thing that can really help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others. This is for you and only you for the most part.
Personally I recommend pen and paper over digital journaling. There is a deeper connection when you journal writing with a pen or pencil and paper. Of course if you prefer digital journaling and it works for you use that. I use apps or voice record to capture fleeting thoughts but find that using my body, hand is a visceral and organic way to get my ideas out of me and into the world.
Don't forget to check the books on resilience.
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