Often, as someone who deals with mental illness on a daily basis, I find it difficult to process thoughts as I’d like. It can often affect my ability to be productive, putting my racing thoughts in the forefront of my mind. But it’s difficult to control these thoughts if they only live inside my head. That is why I looked into journaling for mental health.
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Remember when you were a kid and you used to keep a “diary” tucked under your mattress. The thing that held all of your fears, failures, accomplishments, and crushes. You know, the little book that no one but you was allowed to see. Well, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
There are incredible therapeutic benefits to using a journal. Especially when you are mindful in your journaling. It doesn’t have to be a task that is bothersome, and it shouldn’t. You shouldn’t consider journaling for mental health to be a chore. It should be a calming exercise.
How is Journaling for Mental Health any Different Than Keeping a Diary?
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s not much different. But it’s more purposeful. There is a reason you are journaling for mental health. Whether it be to relieve stress or remove negative thoughts from your mind.
But it really is just that, a diary of sorts. Use it as such. It’s okay to write down things you would never say out loud, even to your counselor, and get them off of your chest. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of writing down secret thoughts, for fear of someone finding it, you can purchase a journal with a lock on it. Or you can always keep your journal with you.
Keeping your journal with you at all times can be helpful. It will allow you to journal any difficult situation that arises. And then you can come back to it at a later time to analyze the situation and your emotions involved.
No matter how you go about journaling, you’ll still be able to get the same benefits.
The Benefits of Journaling
Whether you are journaling for mental health benefits, or just journaling to journal, the benefits will be the same. And there are a whole bunch of them!
The key to getting the most benefit though is to make it a regular habit. By making journaling a regular habit, you are allowing your mind to release prominent thoughts on a regular basis. Which then frees up your thought space.
10 Health Benefits of Keeping a Journal
1 Reduced Stress Levels
2 A boost in memory and comprehension (remember all the freeing up of thought space we’re doing here)
3 Clearing up thoughts
4 Reduced anxiety
5 Increase in depression coping skills
6 Can lead to better outcomes in therapy or counseling situations
7 Improved mood
8 Better understanding of symptoms (psychological and physical)
9 Trigger pattern tracking (allows you to track any triggers for your anxiety, depression, or other conditions)
10 Increase is self-love and self-awareness
My Favorite Things About Journaling for Mental Health
I don’t use my journal quite as often as I should. But when I do use it, I can actually feel the stress releasing from my chest. Besides writing down events of the day, or letting out negative emotions you may be feeling, your journal can also be the home for all of your dreams and aspirations for your life.
Writing about things you want to accomplish can make it easier for you to break it up into an attainable goal with small tasks you can accomplish.
Even more so, you can use your journal to track other parts of your life also. I really like the concept of bullet journaling. It’s a system that you can use to track everything. You have complete freedom to create planner pages, goal pages, symptom trackers, habit trackers, and don’t forget journal pages. I love using mine for journaling for mental health.
My Bullet Journal: Journaling for Mental Health
I used to use my bullet journal for everything. But quickly realized that it was tough to keep up with, using it as a planner and having to make the planner pages every week.
It turned into a chore, one I just didn’t have time for. So I lost track of it for a few months.
But I’ve recently decided to pick it back up again and use it differently this time.
Here are some things I plan on including in my bullet journal:
- A Monthly Calendar View for Appointments/Important Dates
- Symptom Tracker for Anxiety/Depression (myself)
- A Symptom Tracker for My Son’s Behavior Concerns
- Monthly list of Journal Prompts
- Journaling Pages for each day
This system will be much more simple for me to keep up with. And I hope that I’ll be able to use it in conjunction with my therapy and counseling to really get the most benefit. Journaling for mental health is an excellent tool to use side-by-side with therapy because it allows you to stay connected to your session throughout the following week.
You can focus on topics that were the main concern for that session throughout the week. Tracking your progress or concerns will give you a chance to really hone in on persistent issues.
Journaling for Mental Health: Prompts for October
I’m going to get you started on your October journal by offering a few prompts that really lead to self-discovery. Learning more about your true self is part of the benefit of journaling for mental health. Sometimes these prompts won’t be easy to complete, but please don’t give up.
They’re difficult for a reason. The emotions underlying may be difficult but if you bring them to light, you may be able to work on them better and move past it.
October Journal Prompts
Here are 10 journal prompts to get you started. If you’d like enough prompts for the full month of October, scroll down a bit and claim your free 31 Journal Prompts printable by clicking the image. Print it out, paste it in your journal, write.
- One piece of advice you would give your younger self.
- Write a forgiveness letter to someone who has hurt you.
- Something you’re really good at and why.
- Write about something you feel guilty for and how you’re going to work on letting it go.
- What is your biggest fear and why?
- Your favorite activity and why you love it.
- What makes you like your siblings (if you have any)?
- Write the perfect love story.
- How to make you laugh.
- Your hope for your future children.
Click below to get a free printable list of 31 journal prompts and get to journaling for mental health! Plus, I’ll send you an email each month with prompts for the following month! (& you get access to my resource library!)
Have you ever tried journaling for mental health? What about journaling for any other reason? Send me some prompts, I might even include them in next months prompt list!!