How To Start A Journal For Mental Health
Time to read 11 min
Time to read 11 min
A mental health journal can be a fantastic resource for understanding your mental health and doing something positive about it. So let’s learn how to start your own journal for mental health and look at the benefits it can provide.
Table of Contents
Creating a mental health journal is a tremendous resource that allows you to understand yourself better and promote mental wellness. By spending time writing in your mental health journal, you’ll learn about patterns in your thinking, find a new outlet for your emotions and harness a tool to help you gain perspective. So, let’s learn how to start a mental health journal:
The first thing you’ll need to acquire is a journal that works for you. There are lots of different journals for you to consider, so think about which option best suits your preferences. Here are a few things to consider when getting a journal:
Finding the time to make use of your mental health journal can be challenging, especially if you have quite a busy lifestyle. So make sure you set aside a portion of your time for your writing. There are a few ways to tackle this, such as:
A mental health journal is an incredibly personal thing, so how you use it depends entirely on you. This extends into the formatting and overall structure of your journal - you can use it in a way that works best for you. There are a few different formats to try out, so consider testing the following to see if you like them:
One of the most important things to remember about your mental health journal is that it should act as a safe space for you. You aren’t using it to be overly critical of your emotions or behaviors, but as an outlet and a way of understanding yourself. So try to focus on the following principles when using your mental health journal:
Journaling with mental health in mind is an admirable pursuit with a number of benefits. It’s a way for you to acknowledge the current state of your mental health and create an outlet for you to grow. It can help with a plethora of mental health issues including anxiety, depression and stress. So, let’s go over some of the main benefits that a mental health journal brings:
If you want to make the most out of your mental health journal, it helps to approach it the right way. The process of journaling can feel like a chore, but over time you’ll see some real benefits. Successful daily journaling is a commitment but if you make it an enjoyable process then you’ll be more likely to stick with it. So, let’s go over a few tips to help you get the most out of your daily journaling:
Your mental health journal is your own personal space, so don’t feel that you have to create entries in any particular way. As it’s ultimately an extension of yourself, include whatever you’d like to. You can write short or long-form entries, poems, sketches or anything else that comes through you organically.
Try to drop any sense of judgment or critiquing when interacting with your journal. It should act as a safe place for you to vent frustrations or outline your emotional state. So be kind to yourself and approach your entries with compassion. If you’ve been dealing with a personal struggle, be kind to yourself about your journey.
There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule about how to handle the contents of your mental health journal. So don’t be afraid to try out different things to see what works best for you. You might enjoy using a structured style where you consistently write entries in a formulaic way. Or, you might benefit from using prompts to help kick off an entry. Experimenting is key here, as everyone is different and what works for someone else might not work for you.
The process of journaling can often feel daunting, particularly if you’re struggling with your mental health. To combat this, try to make the process as manageable as possible for yourself. Set a time limit if needed, something achievable like five minutes of writing. You should also aim for consistency over quantity when writing entries to create a more clear timeline of your life.
To help you stay motivated with your journal entries, consider the purpose of your writing. Is it for emotional release, self-discovery or a way to track your own growth? Whatever your reasons are, you should focus on these to guide your writing. It’s also worth noting that you can change your purpose over time to better suit your needs.
Your mental health journal can be an incredible tool to help strengthen your journey for self-improvement. Although the journal is often used as a platform for catharsis, it can do much more than that. So, let’s learn how you can use your mental health journal for self-improvement:
Use your mental health journal as a healthy way to handle your thoughts and feelings. You can do this by giving yourself the freedom to express yourself without filtering your thoughts or holding back. By keeping your emotions raw on the page, you’ll be able to learn a lot about your emotional patterns and how you think.
Another useful way to work towards self-improvement with your journal is by setting clear goals. You can include entries that focus on what you want to achieve, such as handling your emotions better or adopting a more positive mindset. By writing down your goals, you cement them and create a realistic target to aim for.
Finally, try using your journal entries for reflection as a way for personal growth. Go back to past entries, read over them and compare how you felt then to how you feel now. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on past goals and achievements. Celebrate the victories and acknowledge the defeats in a compassionate way. By revisiting these older entries, you can adjust your intentions and goals to plan ahead.
Making a habit of utilizing your mental health journal can be challenging at first, but with time you’ll be able to cement the habit. If you worry that you won’t be able to stick with consistent journaling, then try adopting the following tips:
Starting a mental health journal is a worthwhile pursuit that doesn’t take much to get started. All you’ll need is a journal (either physical or digital) and a general purpose to your writing. Think about what you’d like to get out of your journaling experience, such as a better handle on your emotions or a way to track your progress, then stick to a writing schedule.
There are plenty of benefits associated with journaling for mental health. One of the biggest benefits is that it provides you with a safe space to express yourself. You’ll glean lots of insights around your character and emotional state by writing, particularly if you have a specific goal in mind. It’s also a great tool for lowering stress levels, helping you deal with anxiety and can even help battle depression.
You can use your mental health journal as a way to improve yourself. To do this, you’ll need to start by setting yourself a clear goal such as understanding your emotions. Then, find a way of writing in your journal that suits you. From sketching to writing poetry, you can be as expressive as you’d like. Once you’ve written a few entries, reflect on them and try to learn about what your emotional state was like when writing them. Compare those feelings to how you feel in the moment and consider what has changed. Most importantly, make sure you act out of kindness and compassion for yourself throughout the whole process.