WRITING THERAPY: SELF-CARE
“Journaling for better Mental Health”
When you were a teenager, you might have kept a diary hidden under your mattress. It was a place to confess your struggles and fears without judgment or punishment.
It likely felt good to get all of those thoughts and feelings out of your head and down on paper. The world seemed clearer.
You may have stopped using a diary once you reached adulthood. But the concept and its benefits still apply. Now it’s called journaling.
It's simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.
One of the ways to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy way to express yourself. This makes a journal a helpful tool in managing your mental health. Journaling can help you:
Cope with depression
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart…
“How to journal”
Try these tips to help you get started with journaling:
Try to write every day.
Make it easy.
Write or draw whatever feels right.
Use your journal as you see fit.
“10 Amazing Prompts for journal therapy”
1. Talk About Your Day
This is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s still one of the best ways to get your thoughts and feelings out. That said, the way that you get your thoughts out is important in determining how effective this treatment is.
Try to relate events in your day to how they made you feel. It sounds a little cliché, but this really can help you identify trends in your behaviors and how those impact your mental health.
2. Identify Things you’re Grateful For
Finding opportunities to be grateful every day can be difficult for anyone, but even more so when you have a mental illness. Despite this, recognizing reasons to be grateful is a quick way to improve your mental health by giving you a positive outlook on life.
3. Write a List of Your Coping Mechanisms
Whether you’ve got depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, you’ve probably developed some coping skills over the years. So write about them, and evaluate which ones are working for you. If you can, assign a number to how well each helps calm you down in times of emotional distress. This will show you what coping mechanisms can stay, and which ones should maybe be retired.
4. Describe a Goal
What are you working towards? Write it out, then talk about how you’re going to reach that goal. This is a great way to not only keep you motivated but also to make sure that you’re staying on track.
5. Write About How Different You Were 5 Years Ago
You, like everyone else, are always changing. But it can be easy to forget that when you’re busy dealing with mental health issues. Try to recognize the ways that you’ve grown over the years, and give yourself credit for being better and wiser than you were.
6. Write a Letter to Your Body
Mental illness often changes how you view your body. Whether you want to write a love letter, some complaints, or a letter of apology, it’s important to address your body image. If you can recognize issues in your relationship with your body, then you can work toward fixing them.
7. List and Describe Your Emotions
What did you feel like today? List out every emotion that you went through and describe how it felt in that moment. This tool will help you identify the causes of your emotions and how you’re responding to them.
8. Write About How You’d Describe Yourself to a Stranger
If you were going to explain who you are to a stranger, how would that go? What are your likes, dislikes, your strengths, or your weaknesses? Writing this prompt can go a long way in helping you identify how you think of yourself.
9. Describe the Best Compliment You’ve Ever Gotten
What was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you? How did it make you feel, and how did that moment play out? Journaling is a great way to revisit a happy memory after a long day, so try this mental health prompt the next time you’re having a bad day.
10. Write a Message for Yourself on Bad Days
Bad mental health days happen, and there isn’t much you can do to prevent them. However, you can prepare for them by writing a message to yourself. The message can look however you want; remind yourself of happier times, point out good things in your life, and do whatever you think will mean the most to you when you’re in a bad place.
“Enjoy the process”
Journal writing can become your guide and confidant. Most importantly you can tap into your authentic self without inhibition or judgment. The precious time spent journaling will deepen insight and wisdom. You may find that your journaling ushers you into a healthier and happier place within yourself and with others.
Reference: - University of Rochester medical center, writer’s digest university, Port St. Lucie.
Author : Priyanka Bhanushali