This article is a repost from The Sunshine Suitcase Blog.
Journaling is an amazing tool for mental health, wellbeing, and productivity.The journal has been in use for thousands of years. Much of the earth?s history comes from early journal entries.
In addition to record keeping, journaling is a great way to work on personal development. Journaling helps us to clear our minds, problem solve and work through our emotions.
I have always had a journal since my preteen years, sometimes I write in it every single day religiously, sometimes I don?t touch it for a year. When my dad passed away last April, I dusted off my trusty journal and used it to help channel my grief. I was able to recount memories, identify emotions and dedicate 5?10 minutes each day to writing.
Not only was this is a great practice for my grief but, journaling has been a huge part of my self care routine. It has been instrumental in reducing my anxiety and depression.
I try to write in my journal every single day. On days I forget or don?t have time I?m mindful of not beating myself up about it.
Facts about Anxiety and Depression:
Anxiety and Depression are among the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Over 18% of the population suffers from Anxiety disorders.Depression is the worldwide leading cause of disability.
Many people go untreated for these disorders. I went undiagnosed for years, and I used tools like journaling to help me reduce and manage my anxiety and depression.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. These tips are written as a tool to help anxiety and depression. They are in no way a cure, therapy or a guarantee. Please consult your doctor or a therapist if you have any questions regarding mental health, anxiety or depression.
Journaling can be great for your mental health because it:
- Problem Solves
- Helps you work through and track your emotions
- Reduces Stress
- Works as a Coping Mechanism
- Boosts your Mood
- Enhances your sense of self
- Improves your writing skills
For More Information on the benefits of journaling for your mental health check out:
- The Benefits of Journaling for Stress Management-Very Well Mind
- 83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Management- The Positive Psychology Program
- Journaling and Mental Health- Mentalhelp.net
Best Practices for Journaling for Mental Health:
- Add journaling to your daily routine- Practice journaling regularly to better track your emotions and moods. Daily journaling is a great way to release anxiety, as it allows you to put your worries to paper in small portions, rather than all at once or when things get bad.
- Make your journal easy access-It?s much easier to make journaling part of your routine if you keep it handy. Keep a journal and pen in your bag or on your nightstand. You can even keep a note on your phone to journal on the go. Increasing your access to your journal will help you more readily get your thoughts out.
- Your journal is for you- Write whatever you want or need to in your journal. It doesn?t have to be beautiful or to read like a Hemingway novel. Your journal is for you only, so try not to put too many rules or restrictions on the way you journal. Don?t get hung up on spelling errors, crossing things out or skipped pages.
- Re-read your journal-And review your past emotions, experiences, memories, and moods.
- Date your entries-This allows you to better track and outlines your emotional timeline. Dating your entries helps to improve reflection and identify patterns.
- Be Honest- Your journal is just for you and the writing inside will reflect that. Go slow and process the emotions and entries that are harder for you to write. Being honest with yourself will improve the benefits of your journaling journey.
How to Use a Journal Prompt:
Journal Prompts are amazing for helping to get your ideas and creativity flowing. They also act as therapeutic guidelines to tackle targeted emotions or stress points in our lives. Copy them into your journal and get started, one at a time.
Suffering from anxiety for many years has made me very self-aware, and sometimes I can get stuck inside my own head. Journal prompts take me outside of that and allow me to better express myself in a different way.
Try not to stress over your journal-
Writing prompts will help get you started, but don?t feel pressure to write 15 pages or complete every single prompt. You don?t even have to stay on topic! Anxiety and Depression are not linear and your journaled thoughts don?t need to be either.
Start with writing for just 5?10 minutes in a sitting. Setting a timer can help a lot. Or if you feel like 5?10 minutes isn?t a good measure try to write 2 pages.
Do what resonates with you.
Journal Prompts for Anxiety and Depression-
These prompts are to help you get started or further develop your journaling practice. They aren?t in any particular order. So, feel free to pick and choose for your own personal benefits.
15 Prompts for Anxiety and Depression To Get You Started-
- Today, I am thankful for?..
- My favorite accomplishment it?.
- I am anxious when?.
- I felt sad when?.
- What is one thing I wish I could change?
- My happiest memory is?
- What?s been bugging me lately?
- Make a list of 15 things you love about yourself?
- My favorite body part is?
- One way I could love myself more is?.
- My Childhood hero was ________ and I am similar to them in these ways _______.
- What is your best quality?
- Write a letter to one of your parents. (You do not have to give it to them.)
- Make a list of 10 quotes that inspire you
- Make a list of 20 things you are grateful for.
15 More Journal Prompt for Anxiety and Depression (Dig Deeper)-
- What is one way your depression or anxiety has held you back this week? What could you do to change that?
- Write yourself a letter forgiving you for something that has happened in your past.
- Create a Brainstorm list of activities to reduce your stress and anxiety. Make a plan to add at least 3 activities to your schedule this week.
- Write a letter to your younger self. What advice can you give them to better navigate their mental health?
- The last time I felt this way, I?
- What is one thing you wish you had said no to? Why didn?t you? What impact did it have on your experience?
- Write a review about your favorite book or movie and why it resonates with you so deeply.
- Make a schedule for your perfect day. Take one of these things and do it sometime this week.
- What is something I need to let go of? Why am I holding onto it?
- Describe your ideal bedroom. The way it looks, the smell, the feel of the sheets, comfort, and overall atmosphere there.
- What does self-care mean to you? How do practice this in your daily life?
- Write down three things that cause you anxiety. Brainstorm 1?2 ways you can combat these triggers when they come up.
- What are 3 things about yourself you wish others knew? How could you share these things with others more?
- Choose an Inspiration word for the week. What does it mean to you? And how can you live your life this week with that word in mind?
- Make a list of 17 accomplishments you?ve made that you are proud of.
Other Tools to Help with Anxiety and Depression
At the Start of 2019, I started began a self care routine that helped me to get back on track with my mental health. Creating a routine helped me cope with depression, by allowing me guilt free time to focus on myself. I scheduled time for journaling, meditation, and more. This helped me to destress even more.