Creating hope for children, adults and families. #LiftingTheLid

Menu

Our blog

The Power of Writing and Journaling for Mental Health

Brenda Berg

Although the masses of society have chosen writing alternatives such as texting and typing over traditional forms of handwriting, it’s worth reminding ourselves that writing has been used as a healing tool by cultures all over the world for centuries. In fact, records were found in Japan that date back to the 10th Century and show that people were keeping journals about their day to day lives.

Through writing, you can take yourself on a journey of self-discovery and peace, but you can also better your mental – and even – physical health.

If you’re not used to journal writing, then you may be wondering how you can get started. In this post, I’m going to talk through everything you need to know in order to start your own journal and feel the benefits when it comes to your mental health.

Get Started
Firstly, you’re going to want to get yourself a book of some kind that you can write in. You can get a typical diary book of your choice – there’s a ton online to choose from. If you feel more comfortable starting out on the computer, by all means, do, but studies have shown that it’s far more therapeutic and open to write by hand.

If you want to be able to explain your feelings and emotions comprehensively, it’s also recommended that you take a look at blogs like State of Writing and Via Writing. These can help you to improve your writing skills and allow you to get your thoughts down accurately on paper.

Start with the Positives
If you’re suffering from a mental health condition, it can be easy to focus on its negative aspects. However, starting your writing like this will set a negative tone for the rest of your entry, so start with something positive!
“Whether it’s something nice that you or someone else said that day, something good that happened or something you’re grateful for, write it down to give yourself something to smile about. After all, you deserve it,” explains Jennifer Coutling, a mental health writer for UK Writings.

Understanding Emotions
After writing that, you can start to write about your emotions that day. It doesn’t matter whether you were feeling really happy or really sad; all that’s important is that you write them down.

You don’t even need to write full sentences; even just single words can help you come to terms with how you really feel and understand how your mind works.

In doing this, you can also simultaneously improve both your communication skills and your emotional awareness, helping you to write and talk more effectively in the future!

A Journey of Self-Improvement
While writing can help you to come to terms with how you’re feeling and the way that your mind works, it can also be used as a tool to help you improve certain aspects of your life. Most commonly, journaling is used to help you achieve the things you want to do and help you stay motivated.

This could mean using your journal to write down your goals, whether they’re long or short-term. You could even just set one or two goals for the next day, whether that’s going for a walk, eating healthier foods, or drinking more water.

By going through the process of writing down your goals, you’re solidifying the fact that you want to achieve them, making it far more likely that you’ll go out of your way to do so according to a study conducted by Harvard MBA students. This is a great way to build up your levels of self-discipline, improve your problem-solving abilities, and can help you take proactive steps to living the life you want to live.

By practising this for an extended period of time, you’ll also become a lot more aware of how your mind and daily routine works, making it far easier for you to identify ways in which you can progress. Sites like Academadvisor have even claimed that writing a journal in this way can help you improve your general memory functions.

“Through writing and keeping a journal, I found one of the best ways to stay on top of your daily life, helping you to stay organised and in control of your mental well-being, is to write down a to-do list for the next day. This can be as long or as short as you like but can dramatically help you to minimise the stress in your life, resulting in a happier you!” says Karen Manning, a lifestyle writer for Paper Fellows.

Conclusion
As you can see, there are many ways in which you can use the power of writing and keeping a journal to help you in your day-to-day life. Forming a habit of writing in your journal, whether that’s once a day, or even once a week if you feel more comfortable doing so, can help you to understand yourself, and naturally improve your relationship with your mental health.

By Brenda Berg

Share this article
back to articles

Any size donation, no matter how small, will make a difference to those children, adults and families going through the distress caused by mental health issues.

© 2017 - The Shaw Mind Foundation - We're a registered charity in England (no. 1167947), and a registered company (no. 09921207) in the UK.

We can all change the game on mental health recovery. It’s time for a new way of thinking to make recovery inevitable for all. Join the movement #letsdostuff

Visit our page on The Mighty