5 Journaling Techniques for Mental Health
Mental health matters.
It impacts how we feel, think and act in each moment. It's a state of wellbeing in which an individual realizes her or his abilities to cope with the normal challenges of life and can make a contribution to a community.
When there's a lack of mental health, all the other areas of life get deteriorated — physical health, social relationships, career, just to name a few.
Mental illness is a global disease, affecting 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives, according to the WHO. Especially among adolescents and young adults, mental health problems are on the rise.
Having experienced depression during my teenage times, I am called to bring awareness to this matter and support anyone who's going through the same or knows someone who does.
Journaling has been the one practice that has supported me the most throughout the years in coping with emotions, overcoming anxiety, putting things into perspective, and clearing foggy thoughts.
With the World Mental Health Day around the corner, this article is going to shed light on how such a simple, yet effective, practice as journaling can support your mental health.
5 Journaling techniques for mental health
1. Write about something you're going through
Writing about your ups and downs of your daily life can help you gain perspective on your experiences and find meaning in times of trouble.
When you reflect on your interactions, life events, and all the emotions felt during those situations, you bring to the surface many aspects of self that were being suppressed.
You, therefore, get to know yourself better and, as you put pen to paper, you naturally begin to gain clarity on what you can potentially do to solve the situation. Journaling empowers you.
2. Write an unsent letter to someone
When was the last time you felt like speaking your heart out to someone, but you ended up keeping it for yourself?
Writing letters without the intention of sending them may be therapeutic.
Imagine being able to openly share your pain to someone you felt hurt by. What would you say? It may help you find closure with someone without the need of talking with them.
Journaling unsent letters may also help you prepare for a vulnerable conversation as it sheds light over your thoughts and feelings.
3. Create a vision for the future
One common trait about a person who's struggling with mental illness is the challenge of seeing positive possibilities for the times ahead.
Creating a happy, meaningful vision for the future — a picture of what you're aiming for, a sense of new possibility — will give back a sense of purpose in your life, as well as a path that will take you there.
It generates positive energy, well-being and helps you reframe the story of negative beliefs about the future.
This, however, can be a double-edged sword. If you lack that sense of possibility, thinking about the future may be a source of stress and anxiety, as it may expand the feeling of being stuck and stagnant in the current situation.
Hence, it's important to begin small. Your vision for the future may begin with a vision for the following hours our following day.
Putting pen to paper in a random way allows more space in the brain to flow freely. It helps to switch off the rational part of our minds and to create a mental time out which is refreshing to a hyperactive world.
Moreover, spontaneous drawings are also associated with stress relief, improved focus, and the unraveling of the subconscious.
5. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is about connecting with the deep sense of appreciation to something or someone.
As it's already well-known in positive psychology, expressing thanks can deepen relationships, lead to an increase in happiness and overall health and well-being.
Journaling is an effective way to build the trait of living with a grateful heart. Experiment writing 3 things you're grateful for every day in your journal and watch the magic unfold!
Share with us: do you feel like journaling helps you de-stress and keep a healthy, balanced state of mind?
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