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How to Keep a Mental Health Journal

While coping with a mental health issue can be challenging, writing may be beneficial. Writing in a journal can assist you in coping with stress, anxiety, sadness, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, your diary may be used to assist you in improving your habits and behaviors. To begin journaling, choose a comfortable time to write each day and push yourself to write for 20 minutes on anything that comes to mind. Utilize your diary to process your emotions or to focus on personal development objectives.


 

1. Select between maintaining a physical journal and maintaining a digital journal. Typically, writing by hand allows you to better organize and analyze your thoughts. It is preferable, however, to choose the format that is most suitable for you at the time. You can keep a paper journal if you love writing by hand, or you can use a word processor if you prefer to type your thoughts. 

The use of a paper notebook will allow you to be more creative with your writings, which is especially beneficial if you plan on adding art into your daily entries.
If you are using Google Docs, you may be able to make additions to your digital diary from any device. Google Docs is available for free download from the app store. Then, you may create and edit documents on any device that is compatible with Google Documents.

2. Write in your diary on a daily basis to get the most advantages. If you want to utilize your diary to enhance your mental health, it's critical to establish a regular practice. Choose a time when it is most convenient for you to write, and then push yourself to write every day within that time period. Create a schedule for journaling time in your day, just like you would any other essential appointment. 

Write in your journal, for example, every morning when you wake up, during your lunch hour, or right before bedtime, for example. If you have to travel by bus or train, take advantage of the opportunity to write in your diary.


3. Set a timer for 20 minutes and make an effort to write until the alarm goes off, if possible. To avoid feeling overwhelmed when you first begin journaling, set aside a little amount of time each day to devote to the practice. Start with 20 minutes, but feel free to alter the length of time to better suit your own requirements. While the timer is running, jot down or enter any words that come to mind during the process.

Don't be concerned with writing about your thoughts or worries right now, even though that is the ultimate aim. You can write something like "I don't know what to say," "This seems foolish," or "I can't think of anything right now" if you want to be honest. If you stick with it, you'll begin to uncover your innermost feelings and thoughts.

4. Don't be concerned about spelling or punctuation. It doesn't matter if you use appropriate sentences or if you spell words correctly in your diary since it is for you. Allowing your thoughts to flow freely without any self-editing is recommended.

If your grammar errors are causing you significant distress, it is OK to go back and rectify them at a later time. But it isn't necessary in this case.

5. If you don't enjoy writing in sentences, you may be more creative with your formatting. Even if you despise writing or are unable to come up with anything to say, you may still get the advantages of journaling. Don't be concerned about writing out sentences or paragraphs. Experiment with different ways of structuring entries until you discover one that works well for you. Here are some examples of how you might express yourself:

Make a list of everything.

Write a poem or a song about it.

Incorporate visuals to convey your emotions to communicate what's on your mind.

You can write a letter to someone

You should create a table in which you are the main character.

Make use of sentences that stems from your therapist or from the internet. "I'm most upset when...", "I'm at my best when...", or "I'm most concerned about..." are examples of such statements.

Create a bullet journal to keep track of your thoughts.


6. Set aside time in your notebook to be free of judgment. Allow yourself to write whatever you're feeling without having to worry about what others will think of you. It is important not to connect negative feelings to your writing, such as shame or humiliation. You have every right to express your ideas and feelings, and your writing practice is one method of ensuring that they are as healthy as they possibly can be for you. Allow yourself to not be critical of yourself for taking this important step in resolving your inner issues.

For example, you could feel terrible about exploding in anger over something that happened throughout the course of your day. Because feeling upset is a completely normal reaction, don't be hard on yourself for having one. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back for taking the time to write down your ideas in your diary.

Related: HOW TO OVERCOME OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER?


Dealing with One's Own Thoughts and Emotions

1. When you sit down to write, you should express whatever is on your mind. Journaling is an excellent tool for processing your ideas and feelings. The most effective method to utilize journaling is to write about what's going on in your life that day. Talk about what has occurred, how you are feeling about things, and any concerns you may be having. Continue to write until the timer goes off or you feel better about yourself. 
You may write something along the lines of, "Today I was extremely depressed since it rained all day." I believe that the weather has an impact on my mood. On gloomy days, "I'm attempting to figure out how I can make myself feel more cheerful."


2. When you're not sure what you're experiencing, write in a stream of consciousness style. It might be difficult to determine what is truly on your mind at times, and that is just normal! Stream of consciousness writing is just jotting down whatever words that occur to the mind, even if they don't make any sense at the time. Don't get caught up in punctuation or sentence construction. Continue to write until you notice a major concept or subject emerge, which will reveal how you are feeling at the time. 
The following is an example of a stream of consciousness entry: "I'm sitting here not knowing what to say it's been a long day and I'm tired but I can't figure out why I'm feeling down today and I think it's because things haven't been going my way so maybe I need to change something but what can I change."

3. Negative emotions such as wrath, sorrow, and envy should be released. It's normal to experience failures and disputes in one's life, and it may be difficult to get through the intense negative feelings that these experiences can bring on. Fortunately, your diary may serve as a tool for you to process these feelings and figure out what you need to do moving forward. Create a rant or a complaint about everything that is going wrong in your life. Alternatively, you may compose a letter to the person who has wronged you but not send it to them.

Write something along the lines of, "I can't believe Alex didn't provide me with the assistance she promised." I was under the impression that I could rely on her. I really wanted to scream at her till my face turned blue, but I didn't want to cause any problems with my mother."

4. Keep track of your moods on a daily basis to aid in the identification of your triggers. In your diary entries, you can keep track of your mood to help you identify trends that may take you to your triggers. Fill in the blanks with how you felt during the day, either before or after writing in your diary. In addition, evaluate your mood on a numerical scale from 0 to 10. Examine your past emotions to determine what makes you feel good and what causes you to feel down. This can assist you in making good adjustments that will enhance your overall attitude.

You might express your feelings with a single word or a symbol. A variety of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, tension, indifference, or anger, might be experienced. A scale of 1 to 5 may be used to describe your moods, with 1 being moderate and 5 representing severe. Something along the lines of "Depressed" might suffice.


5. Consider your entries in order to have a deeper understanding of your emotions. Re-reading what you've written at a later time will help you get the most out of your journaling practice. Consider what you said, as well as how you must have been feeling at the time. Make use of this information to assist you in making better decisions for yourself in the future. Additionally, it may assist you in re-framing your thinking so that you may think about things in a new way in the future.

If you're going through a difficult time, you might want to re-read your journal post immediately after you've finished it or later that same day.
Re-evaluate your writings every 3-4 months if you want to see an improvement in your general mental health.

Note: Journaling may be beneficial in helping you manage your mental health problem, but it should not be used in place of other treatments. You should continue to work with your therapist and take any drugs that your doctor has given as directed.

9 comments

  1. I've kept a journal for many years, and it really does help!

    Shauna

    www.lipglossandlace.net

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had a journal for 5 years and I still look back on it at times. I need to start again! These are all great tips. Mine was handwritten, although sometimes I like the idea of a digital one to keep it more private.

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is really great advice. We always hear about doing this, but sometimes knowing what is most important to include in the journal makes a massive difference. Thank you for sharing this.
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    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such a smart idea. I've never done this, but I am going to start.
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. So many people could benefit from a mental health journal. I love art journaling and that is an important outlet for me mentally.

    https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. So many people could benefit from a mental health journal. I love art journaling and that is an important outlet for me mentally.

    https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Maintaining a journal is such a great stress reliever. I try to but sometimes I get lazy. The best part is when we look back after a few years, it feels amazing. :-)

    Via | https://glossnglitters.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Journaling has helped me improve my mental and emotional well-being. Setting a timer is a cool tip.
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like your post, because it's very detailed. I am journaling in notion.

    ReplyDelete

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