How effective is journaling for mental health?

It's simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or. keeping a diary can be effective for anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions. It can also help you manage daily stress, manage your mood, and create a sense of gratitude.

In a follow-up study 12 to 18 months later, 85 percent of participants reported that the writing exercise had been useful. Fifty-nine percent continued to use writing to cope with stress. Fortunately, your diary is a tool you can use to process these emotions and determine your next steps. It turns out that this simple practice can go a long way, especially for those struggling with mental illness or striving for more positive mental health.

I've been writing a diary for 34 years, which began when I was depressed from bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy. They gained understanding and perspective, and made healthy behavioral changes similar to those of people who wrote a journal. The act of keeping a diary has been very therapeutic for me, to the point that I now teach others how to do it. If you are struggling with a debilitating psychiatric condition, keeping a journal can help you capture your thoughts on paper and stop ruminating and worrying about them.

Whether you're living with a mental health condition, adjusting to a major change in your life, or managing daily stress, self-care techniques can help. Keeping a diary has helped me change my world and make me more aware of my thoughts and emotions in different situations. When you think of “keeping a diary,” you can imagine a teenage girl, lying on her bed with her feet lazily shaking in the air and writing about her crush in a diary. Along with all the groups mentioned above, students of all ages can also benefit from keeping a diary.

Keeping a journal is one of those habits; it can keep you focused, help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, give you the opportunity to reflect and self-analyze, and much, much more. You might not be sure where to start with journaling, or you might feel reluctant if you don't like writing. Of course, there are some disadvantages and possible negative side effects that can come from keeping a diary, such as overwhelming emotions, dragging memories you'd rather leave forgotten, or pushing you into an introspective state that leaves you too focused on your inner experience and neglected from your outer experience. This suggests that if you want to start keeping a journal to improve your mental health, you're likely to get more benefits by focusing on deeper feelings and thoughts rather than recording your daily experiences like a traditional journal.

If keeping a diary stresses you out, for whatever reason, give yourself permission to take a break and think about why. A thank-you journal entry can simply be a list of things you're thankful for on a given day, or it can be a longer expressive writing.

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