Journaling for mental health allows you to create order out of what often seems like chaos. It allows you to both manage life’s challenges and create new life goals and healthy habits. It’s just writing, but the pen has power, and you have control over it!
What’s a mental health journal, anyway?
In simple terms, a journal is a written record, rather like a diary of your very own warts-and-all experiences, feelings, thoughts, and daily observations. It’s your own private space, a working document where anything goes. A place where you start to make sense of the world you are in and how to deal with it and make it better. It’s therapy but without the price tag!
Why write and not type?
That’s all you do most of the day on your smart devices. Your mind is used to it. Interrupting a pattern is a sure-fire way to make your mind notice. Plus, freehand writing allows for doodles and drawing as you go. All help create pathways into your subconscious.
Types of mental health journaling
There are many, some will resonate with you, others won’t. Go with what floats your boat. It’s for you, about you so try some and keep them, or try some and drop them. When it comes to me, I like to combine various journaling methods into one place. The list below is what I find useful to include in my writing.
- Unsent letters to someone or to you. Have you ever wanted to say something to someone but never had the chance or the guts? Write to them and get it off your chest. Don’t send it just write it. Forgive them, give them a bollocking, up to you. Maybe your self chatter is getting to you. Notice it and write back.
- Things to be grateful for. It’s never all doom and gloom even though it may seem that way sometimes. Writing just one thing per day that you are grateful for helps to focus the mind on good.
- A doodle a day. Thinking of something from a different angle is always a good thing to do, so putting it down on paper in a different way works the same way by allowing a flow of thought. When you come to recap or look back it’s there in easy-to-understand images. It could be something as simple as a smiley face or a grumpy face.
- Tracking. Be it your food intake, how much you exercised, or the amount of water you drank. By looking at this with the mood you are in that day will give you a reference. Maybe the more you drink the better you feel? Just saying.
- Scrapbooking. If you see something that resonates, cut it out and stick it in. A phrase, a picture, anything. Then write a note as to why it resonates and work with that thought.
- Goals and development. Keep these realistic and achievable. Here at the good mood method, we focus on one thing at a time, small steps with big results. just notice them and work towards them.
It’s for you
When you write in hope (or fear) that others will read your words, it becomes harder to write truthfully and express your real emotions. It’s not a facebook or instagram post! There’s no right way, time and place for journaling – it’s about finding whatever works for you. BUT if you don’t do you don’t know!
What journal shall I get?
That is up to you. There are plenty to choose from. Just a plain note book is a great place to start, and when you know how your journaling journey is working, upgrade to something that is more suited to how you want it to work. Ours ties in with all of the methods used in our programs and is free to download when you join as a monthly member, but the choice is yours. Just start somewhere!