Journaling is one of the best activities you can do to improve mental health. Depression and anxiety can affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. Journaling can help you to distract your mind from what’s troubling you, identify triggers for depressing and anxiety.
Why You Should Keep a Journal
Some celebrated journal keepers throughout history include Henry David Thoreau, John Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Edison and Marie Curie. Journaling can be a creative outlet, emotional release as well as a space to record important information so that you can refer back to it later.
Mental Health Benefits of Journaling
A regular journaling habit can help you to get your emotions under control. As you become more familiar with the natural ebb and flow of your emotions, it will become much easier for you to become more mindful about what kinds of things are occupying your mind. When you sit down to journal, you’re recording exactly what happened and what your response was. You’ll be able to go back to these moments in the future, allowing you to see patterns of behavior that may be bogging you down.
Journaling can help you learn to problem solve. After you’ve been journaling for awhile, you’ll have amassed lots of information about yourself. Consider if you react to some things differently during different times of the day or time of year. What was the weather like that day? So many external factors play a part in our mental state.
Journaling sharpens cognitive skills. How good is your memory? How much can you remember from your childhood? Having the ability to recall information from your memory helps to enhance cognitive abilities. And the more you do this, the better you’ll be at recalling all that stored information in your mind.
Journaling jumpstarts creativity. After you’ve established a solid journaling habit, creativity will begin to flow more naturally. You’ll become more aware the choices you can make and the paths you can travel to achieve the goals that are important to you.
After you’ve been studying your thought patterns for awhile, you can discover the most likely causes for triggers, and possibly devise ways to lessen the blow. With consistent hard work over time, you may be able to overcome many of the issues that are taking away your time and effort.
How to Identify and Heal Emotional Triggers
Have you experienced displaced thoughts and vague feelings of anxiety from a triggering event recently? When you’re examining your triggers, it can be very difficult to know exactly when you are experiencing a triggering event. For some people, the symptoms can be very obvious while others could manifest in very different ways. Many of us are so out of touch with ourselves and our feelings that we may not recognize the triggers and effects when they’re happening.
Learning to become self aware. With intentional time and effort, you’ll learn to identify when you’ve had a triggering event and what your response to it was. If you’re seeking professional help, understanding this information can help both of you as you’ll have a better understanding of your behaviors and reactions to triggering events.
Create a tracking chart. Using a calendar or printable can help you to track mood swings and events to see if there are any correlations between the time of month, time of week and so on. Having this information available at a glance will help you to identify triggers and your reactions to them.
Keeping a journal or log. It’s essential to record everything that happened each day, especially something that sticks out in your mind that may have triggered you, whether it be encounters with people, animals, situations, or sounds. Sometimes you may even need to go back and revisit what you’ve recorded after some time has passed. You might be very surprised to find that some things bothered you more than you first thought.
Make sure to write some descriptions of your feelings that came about as you responded to the trigger. It may be helpful to color code these emotions so that you can make a chart and see how your mood changes and how it
relates to triggers.
What to Put in a Self Care Journal
Do you ever find yourself having a hard time getting out of bed, or even wanting to take a shower before work? When you’re dealing with anxiety or deep depression, it can be really difficult to do those simple daily tasks that need to be done to care for yourself. It’s perfectly okay to need to have reminders of these things because we all go through times where certain tasks aren’t at the top of the list of favorite things to do.
Here’s a few ideas on using a journal for self-care. Remember, this journal is for your eyes only. Feel free to write down anything and everything that you need to!
It’s okay to ruminate on your feelings. How often do you typically sit and think about how you really feel? Many times it takes awhile to really know how you feel about certain things. If you’re like me, you often get delayed reactions to things because you didn’t thoroughly process them! Emotions can be very difficult to
process, and if you’re missing certain bits of information, then you could be in for a shock. You shouldn’t try to do it all in your head, use the journal to know when you got upset. Record who was in the room, and how you felt.
Create a gratitude list. One of the most time tested ways of grounding yourself is to create a daily gratitude list. No matter what’s going on around you, there’s always something to be grateful for! You don’t have to feel like the world has turned its back on you. Writing it down can help you to remember that there are people who care about you.
Be patient with yourself. Remember that you are a work in progress. You have the right to make good healthy choices about what you want to do. Allow yourself forgiveness for past mistakes. They can teach you about yourself in shocking ways. As you journal and record these different time periods you are slowly building evidence to help you to find out what might be causing you to have intense reactions of different kids. Just be sure to have time to yourself every so often.
Do you have any tips about journaling for mental health? I’d love to hear about them!