Mindful Words: Journaling For Anxiety And Depression

You are looking through your cupboard, and you find your childhood diary. You see entries about your day and what you did the entire day. You know how you reflected your emotions in your writing. 

You were happy when you won that prize at school. 

You were sad when you fought with your friend. 

You were excited when your parents took you to that park. 

And when you read these entries, you feel like living through them again. This is how writing down your thoughts can affect your mind, ideas, and feelings. 

You don’t have time to write down your feelings when you grow older—pushing them down till you have time to deal with them. But with time, you might feel uneasy with these pent-up emotions. What should you do? 

You can talk to someone, but people who don’t want to open up about their emotions to anyone can try journaling. 

Yes, journaling sounds like a lot of work and commitment. You don’t have to journal every day to get the benefits. You can sit and write when you need to get those emotions out. Doing this will enhance your mental health

In this blog, we will be discussing journaling for anxiety and depression. But before that, let’s understand what journaling means and the different types you can try. 

What does journaling mean?

Writing, drawing, doodling, scribbling word; on a piece of paper or digitally; about your emotions and feelings are known as journaling. It is one of the most essential and effective ways to boost your mental well-being. You can write about your day, the things about something that is bothering you, your ideas, and anything and everything. 

Journaling is the process of penning down your emotions to understand them better. A stress and anxiety journal is used as a therapeutic tool. There are numerous mental health benefits that journaling can provide. There are many ways that you can use journaling for anxiety and depression. 

Let’s discuss the benefits of journaling and the different types you can try.

How can journaling benefit our mental health?

Journaling is a way of expressive writing which is simple yet powerful. Because you write your entire thoughts, emotions, and experiences every day, it helps you release the clutter from your brain. It helps you find solutions to your problems. It enables you to analyze the situation better. While journaling, you can have a third-person view, which can help you see your issues from a distance and change your viewpoint. 

Stress and anxiety journal has many mental health benefits. It is also recommended by many therapists that journals for stress and anxiety can help reduce symptoms of various mental health issues. 

According to a study, emotion-based journaling decreases anxiety and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, among the patients with anxiety and depressive symptoms, those who journaled felt much better in the next month. 

Some of the mental health benefits of journaling are:

1. Help reduces stress

A stress and anxiety journal can be a great stress-relieving activity. It helps release the overwhelming emotions that make us feel stuck.

In a study, Three-minute mental makeover, families, patients, and professionals of a children’s hospital felt relaxed after writing a journal entry. Some of them also continued journaling to help with stress management. 

2. Help provide space for negative thoughts

Negative thoughts can get us all caught up, and we tend to think of all the worst-case scenarios. Our mind constantly rewinds the negative thoughts we think are true, even if they aren’t. 

Journals for stress and anxiety can help you release negative thoughts and help you see from a distance in a third-person view. This is known as cognitive defusion. In addition, this is a great way to understand whether you have ideas; if they are not serving, you don’t have to believe them. 

3. Help process your emotions

We all habitually repress our emotions and not deal with them. These pent-up emotions can cause a lot of stress. They’ll affect your mental health even if you avoid them or push them down. 

Journals for stress and anxiety give you a safe place to express your emotions. It can help you understand your feelings better and help you accept them. If you accept your emotions, processing them will be less challenging. 

4. Helps discover yourself

Journals for stress and anxiety are a great way to discover yourself. Through your writing pattern, you can identify your behavior pattern, understand your triggers, know your coping mechanisms, and see how you are growing as a person. 

These journal entries will help you regulate your emotions better by helping you change things that negatively affect your mental health. They are like the witnesses of your changing life. 

5. It helps you set goals

Journals for stress and anxiety are a great tool that can help you set goals. However, sometimes we need help finding a roadmap toward our goal. In such a case, if you journal your thoughts, you can understand them better. 

Journaling can help you set short-term goals that can help you achieve your long-term goals. In addition, you can keep track of your goals in your journal. 

What are the different types of mental health journaling?

1. Gratitude Journaling:

The practise of gratitude is a great way to boost your mental health and decrease anxiety and stress. There are challenging times when we cannot think of anything to be grateful for. Everything seems to be overwhelming, and nothing makes us happy. In such a situation, you can take the help of gratitude journaling, where you can list the things that made you happy or grateful. 

This can help you find greater meaning in your life and make you happier. Even if you find it tough to list things in your initial days, it’s okay but continues doing it, and then you will see the difference in your mindset. This will help you build a positive attitude. 

2. Free writing Journaling:

Sometimes we cannot think of a plan to start writing a journal. Well, journaling is not about being perfect. You can try a free writing journal where you can begin writing your emotions without thinking about going through a specific writing style to decrease anxiety and stress.

 Write everything that you are feeling at that very moment until all your emotions are out. Don’t care about the grammar or sentence structure. Just free yourself and write. You can use journal prompts to help you start writing. 

3. Unsent letter journaling

As the name says, these are letters that you’ll be writing to people or specific individuals in your life, expressing all your emotions that you are scared to express and then not sending them. 

This is a great way to release all the emotions that might bother you and decrease anxiety and stress. You can be completely honest about your thoughts because you don’t have to worry about sending them. 

4. One word journaling

This type of journaling is very effective for extremely busy people throughout the day. When there’s no time for them to sit and write a journal until the day’s over, they are too tired to write anything. 

This type of journaling requires you to write just one word that sums up your day. However, even writing one word daily can effectively decrease anxiety and stress. 

5. Photo journaling

Journaling is only sometimes about writing something. If you are more into pictures and photographs, take all your mobile phones out and click pictures of things or scenes that make you happy or sad. 

You can also click pictures that describe your day. Images have a lot of stories behind them. So you can take one picture daily to express your emotions and decrease anxiety and stress. 

6. Collage journaling

This is an effective therapeutic way of journaling if you are crafty. In this type of journaling, you can cut pieces of pictures from a magazine or your picture collection or use other craft things and a prompt to start.

This journal becomes your mood board. This can also help increase your creativity and decrease anxiety and stress. You can use them to express your emotions and goals and visualize and reflect on them.

7. Mood Journaling

Another excellent journaling method is writing about your mood throughout the day. Mood journaling is about rating your mood levels throughout the day, like how you feel today, how anxious you are today, and what your triggers were. 

Mood journaling is very effective when you are taking therapy. It helps you see your progress in your behavioral pattern and guides you to learn coping skills to calm yourself down. It also provides you the opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts to decrease anxiety and stress. 

8. Thought diary 

This is an effective cognitive behavioral therapy technique. This journaling technique involves understanding your thought process, the reason behind it, the impulsiveness behind it, and the outcome of such a thought. You make columns for each of them and keep track of your behavioral pattern.

This is a great way to help decrease anxiety and stress. It also enables you to analyze your decisions and redirects you to what is right and what can bring negativity. Reading your thoughts from a third person’s perspective will help you look at a problem differently. 

How to start journaling for anxiety and depression?

Now you know the benefits of journaling. You might be wondering where to start. You might have excuses not to start journaling. But give it a try. 

We’ll help you start your journaling journey: 

1. Choose your journal type:

There are mainly two mediums for writing a journal. Either it’s digital or paper. Before starting, find the best that you’ll be comfortable with. If you are a pen-and-paper person, go for journaling notebooks or artbooks. 

But if you like things digitally, many apps are also available to help you journal. Choose the one you can easily access that will keep you motivated. Your journal should make you happy, so it should be your choice. 

2. Write, don’t second guess:

When you sit to journal, don’t overthink. Write anything you want. Be it just fractions of thoughts or just words. Write it down. Write precisely what you are thinking. Be honest about your feelings. Write what first comes to your mind. 

Don’t judge your thoughts. It’s a safe space. You can write anything that is coming to your mind. It’s better to let these feelings out rather than fixating on them. 

3. Forget about the structure:

When you start journaling for anxiety and depression, you don’t have to go for a perfect structure. You don’t have to think about grammar or sentence structure; just write what comes to your mind. You just have to concentrate on your emotions and pour them into your journal.

You can choose different kinds of journals for stress and anxiety, either write or stick pictures or just doodle something. Do what makes you happy and helps you understand your emotions. 

4. No hard and fast rule:

Before you start journaling for anxiety and depression, remember there’s no rule about how you should journal. It depends from person to person. So it’s about finding your style. 

Write what you are comfortable with. There’s no perfect when it comes to journaling for anxiety and depression. It’s about trying different ways and finding the best suits you. 

5. Choose your time and place:

It is essential that while you are journaling, you should be calm and peaceful. Journaling should not feel like a task to you.

 So before journaling, try to find a calm place and a non-hectic time so that you can concentrate on your emotions better. 

6. Use journaling prompts:

Journaling prompts are questions or tasks that you can use while journaling. 

 Sometimes, when you don’t know where to start, you can use a journaling prompt, answer the question, or do the task and write about your feelings. 

7. Make it a habit:

Your journaling for anxiety and depression can only be effective if you keep writing it daily. Making it a habit will help ease the channeling of your thoughts. 

 Even if you don’t have the time to write about your day, you can just write words or sentences or just an affirmation for yourself. With time you will develop this into a habit. 

8. Try meditation 

Before journaling about your day, try meditating for a while. Meditation helps you clear your mind. As a result, you can think better and understand what you are feeling. 

Mediation will also help you release your stress and help you focus on the positive things in your day, which you can reflect on in your journal. 

40+ journaling prompts for anxiety and depression

Journaling prompts can be really useful when you initially start writing. These prompts include some questions or activities you should try answering by describing your feelings or emotions attached to them. 

If you want to begin journaling for anxiety and depression, here are some prompts that can help you: 

  • How have you been feeling lately?
  • What does your perfect day look like?
  • What are some of the events that bothered you this week? 
  • What is your biggest strength right now?
  • What do you feel most anxious about at this moment?
  • What were the three things that made you happy?
  • Tell yourself that your emotions are valid.
  • Describe one person in your life that makes you feel complete.
  • What did you learn from your anxiety?
  • Finish the sentence; I want to travel….
  • Write about one habit that you want to change. 
  • What does peace mean to you? 
  • Three things that you love about yourself.
  • Tell yourself that you deserve to be cared and loved. 
  • What is your favorite book at the moment? How does it inspire you? 
  • Write a letter to yourself five years from now.
  • Describe a perfect life. 
  • Write about your favorite things that make you happy when you feel depressed.
  • Tell yourself that you are strong.
  • What are your top 5 favorite quotes, and how do they inspire you?
  • Describe one of your favorite memory.
  • Finish this sentence; this week, I’m looking forward to……
  • Create a list of things that you need to let go of.
  • What are your recent favorite songs?
  • Describe one thing that you love in your life. 
  • List 5 of your achievements. 
  • What do you love about yourself? 
  • How do you take care of yourself? 
  • What coping mechanism works best for you?
  • Describe your favorite hobby.
  • Write about 5 of your triggers and the reason behind them.
  • Tell yourself that you deserve all the good things in life.
  • Write about your pent-up emotions. 
  • Forgive yourself for the things in the past. How does that make you feel?
  • What is the biggest challenge that you are facing right now?
  • Tell yourself that you are capable of all the wonderful things. 
  • Write about something you are afraid of and state the reason.
  • When was the last time you laughed the most?
  • List ten things that you are grateful and happy for
  • Sit and practice 10-minute deep breathing exercises. How do you feel?
  • List 5 movies you watch when you feel depressed.
  • Tell yourself that you’ll feel better with time. 
  • What do you feel about therapy?
  • Write about three things that you are proud of.
  • Write five positive affirmations to yourself. 

Final thoughts:

So these were some of the ways of journaling for anxiety and depression. But, remember one thing, journaling for anxiety and depression is not the cure for any kind of mental health issue. If your symptoms worsen, you should consult a mental health professional. Journaling can be used in combination with other treatment plans. 

If you want to begin the habit of journaling for anxiety and depression, find the best way you are comfortable with. There are many various things that you can journal about. For example, another affecting journaling is self-love. There are various prompts available that can help you journal and enhance the emotions of self-love within you. To know more about it. Click here. 

Did you like the post? What journaling techniques do you prefer? Comment down below! 

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1 Comment

  1. I journal in the morning when my mind is clear, in the evening to reflect on a day, and I write some random thoughts that pop out during the day.

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