start journaling for mental health

Journaling is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might be feeling worried or even scared at some point in your day or week.  Those feelings can get overwhelming! Journaling can be a lifesaver to anyone who is struggling with stress. Here’s how to get started with journaling. 

Journal Writing for Stress Relief

One of the key benefits of journaling during times is that getting your thoughts out helps you to process and deal with them. If you struggle with anxiety, you know it usually starts off with racing thoughts and fears of some kind. This is because anxiety is generally something that is triggered by an outside source and that triggering is hardcore and fast.

Writing down your thoughts as they come to you can help you slow your mind down and get rid of the mental clutter while your nervous system comes down. It also helps to bring you back into the moment.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s three simple journaling prompts:

  • Write about what you did today.
  • Write about what’s making you anxious.
  • Write about what decisions you need to make.

Writing About Emotions

When you journal during an times of stress and anxiety, you’re actually removing those negative thoughts from your mind. Yes, you are voicing them, but you would otherwise be doing that internally. By writing your emotions and thoughts down, you’re removing them from an internal space to a concrete, open space. Having it out on paper can help you sort out the issues and keep them from bottling up in you.

Like my other stress busting suggestions, journaling is something you can try out with what you have on hand then if it works for you, then start incorporating into your daily habits. 

instant stress buster: start journaling

How to Start Journaling for Therapy

It doesn’t matter if you go 20th century with a notebook and a pen, use a Word document on your computer, or even start your own blog. Just go with whatever medium works best for you right now. The only difference is the tools and mediums you use to collect and organize your thoughts.

Don’t make yourself crazy getting started. Journaling is simply about getting your thoughts on paper and in the process you’ll be able to work through your thoughts. Not only does journaling help you work through anything that’s happened during your busy day, it’s also very therapeutic and can help to reduce stress. And later on, it’s fun to go back through your journal later and see how far you’ve come.

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Tips for Keeping a Journal

There many ways to journal. What style and medium you choose is entirely up to you. There’s no wrong way to do this. If you find it easier to be at a computer, then go for it.

What you’ll want to do is to find the journaling method that you most enjoy and feel that you can stick with for. It’s during those longer stretches of time when you’re journaling regularly that you’ll see and experience the full benefits of journaling when it comes to helping you relax and reduce stress.

Here’s a few ideas to started. Grab any old notebook you have laying around and a pen and start writing down one or two sentences about your day.

If you feel more motivated by a cute journal and a fun gel pen, go out and get them, by all means. If you find typing easier than handwriting, start on your computer. Or start a blog.

You can even use Instagram as a micro blogging platform and start with a picture followed by a few sentences about your day.

Online journaling options can always be can set to private so you don’t have to worry about just anyone online being able to read your posts if you don’t want to go public with it.

Figure Out Your Best Time for Journaling

You should figure out what time works best for you to make sure you journal regularly. Some people might prefer to do it first thing in the morning, others at night before bed. Anything in between works just as well. There’s no right or wrong time to journal.

But that being said  while you’re getting in the habit of journaling, it’s a good idea to stick to the same time each day until it’s an integral part of your daily routine. After that you can be a little more flexible.

How much or how little you write is also up to you. Start with short entries, or even give bullet journaling a try. You don’t want to set the bar so high in the beginning that the thought of having to sit down and write a 500 journal entry each day stresses you out.

Keep in mind, journaling is supposed to help you relax and reduce stress, not create more!

Do you keep a journal? How do you stay with it?