Journaling is one of the easiest ways to help manage your mental health.
Journaling is self-care! Journaling gives you an opportunity to say however you feel.
Journaling is helpful to acknowledge your feelings instead of pushing them away and not dealing with them. Pushing your feelings away only works for so long until they bubble over. Journaling is an easy outlet for expressing your feelings.
It is helpful to take time out of your day to reflect on what is going well for you and identify areas of self-improvement. Journaling requires you to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This can help you identify changes that you want to make or the progress that you are making.
Journaling can help you clear your mind, especially if you are have racing or intrusive thoughts.
For some journaling is easy and then for others, it can feel like one more task to do. If you are not good at free writing, get a journal with prompts. There are a lot of prompted journals out there; find one that helps you focus on gratitude, reflection, mindfulness, or reducing a specific mental health issue.
The Center for Journaling suggests the W.R.I.T.E. acronym
W – What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How do you feel? What are you thinking about? What do you want? Name it.
R – Review or reflect on it. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Focus. You can start with “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I think…” or “Today….” or “Right now…” or “In this moment…”
I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow the pen/keyboard. If you get stuck or run out of juice, close your eyes and re-center yourself. Re-read what you’ve already written and continue writing.
T – Time yourself. Write for 5-15 minutes. Write the start time and the projected end time at the top of the page. If you have an alarm/timer on your PDA or cell phone, set it.
E – Exit smart by re-reading what you’ve written and reflecting on it in a sentence or two: “As I read this, I notice—” or “I’m aware of—” or “I feel—”. Note any action steps to take.
Journaling can help you become more self-aware and improve your overall wellbeing.
Consider talking to a therapist if you struggle with overwhelming or intrusive thoughts.
Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.
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