Sometimes journaling gets a bad wrap because people associate it with some teen girl writing about her latest crush in a “diary”.
Remember those days?
For those of you that say you didn’t write in a diary about some 7th grade dreamboat, I don’t believe you.
Let’s start off by ditching the word “diary” so you can look at “journaling” in a new adult type way.
Journaling is one of the absolute BEST ways to improve your overall well-being and one of the most powerful therapeutic tools there is.
If you’ve read my previous posts or checked out my site, you know that I have professional and educational experience in the mental health field.
During my masters program I trained as a therapist and consistently recommended to my clients. It was one of my go-to therapeutic tools.
Why? Because it’s simple and incredibly effective.
If you’re struggling with mental health or even if you’re feeling stable right now, I highly recommend you put journaling on your coping skills list.
Trust me, the therapeutic benefits of journaling are MIGHTY!
Keep reading to hear about the beneftis journaling has on mental health, some journaling tips, and 25 journal prompts for mental health!
21 Mental Health Benefits of Journaling
1. Boosts mood
2. Uncovers triggers
3. Helps track symptoms
4. Reduces rumination
5. Decreases anxiety symptoms
6. Decreases symptoms of depression
7. Reduces stress
8. Calms mind
9. Helps to re-frame unhelpful thoughts
10. Provides an opportunity for positive self-talk
11. Increases a sense of well-being
12. Clears mind
13. Releases negative thoughts
14. Increases gratitude
15. Reduction in intrusive thoughts
16. Enhances emotional intelligence
17. Helps shift perspectives
18. Enhances self-awareness
19. Increases optimism
20. Reduces post-traumatic symptoms
21. Tracks treatment progress
I want to start off by saying that there are absolutely NO rules to journaling.
The following are only some helpful recommendations you might want to experiment with…
Keep Your Journal a No Judgement Zone!
Your journal should be a safe place for self-exploration, inspiration, clearing your mind, visualizing the future, sorting out challenges, and anything else!
The possibilities are endless.
Think of your journal as a trusted, kind, compassionate friend that you feel totally comfortable with.
Let yourself be uncensored
Be totally uncensored when journaling and roll with whatever comes up. Be honest and let the words and thoughts flow out of you.
It doesn’t need to be some profound, earth shattering information! Simply write whatever thoughts arise. Don’t overthink it.
Learn more about the benefits of uncensored journaling here
Start writing and don’t stop. Let your thoughts and feelings pour out of you onto paper. Don’t over think it or stop to review what you’re writing.
Journals aren’t meant to be edited! They are the one place where grammar and punctuation don’t matter at all!
Some people find it helpful to use a timer when journaling. It’s a helpful tactic to stay focused on the writing but make sure you’re setting a reasonable amount of time.
5-10 minutes is good enough!
Make it Habit
How often to journal is up for debate. You’ll never find a consistent answer to this question. Some believe everyday is best while others recommend doing it on an as needed basis.
My belief is that you need to do what works for you BUT to challenge yourself to do it as often as possible.
Try scheduling in a daily journal session if you can but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen.
Any journaling is better than none!
Write in a Quiet and Relaxing Place
Right before bed seems to be a popular time for people. It can be done in bed or some other quiet place in your home.
Journaling before getting some shut eye is a helpful way to purge all the busyness in our heads from the day.
Trouble sleeping? Research shows that journaling before bed can help people sleep better.
Use Mental Health Journal Prompts
Journal prompts are a fantastic way to get your journal juices flowing and dive into some self-discovery! They challenge you to think and uncover things about yourself you otherwise may not have.
Hence, the 25 journal prompts you’ll find in this post!
On that note, here they are …
25 Journal Prompts for Mental Health
1. If you woke up tomorrow and you didn’t have (depression, anxiety, _______) what would your life look like?
2. What positive things has your mental health taught you about yourself?
3. What worries you most? Why?
4. Describe a time you overcame an obstacle despite your struggle with (anxiety, depression, etc.)
5. Name 5 things you are grateful for and why
6. Write about the last time you felt proud of yourself
7. Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself or someone else you are struggling to forgive
8. Who has been your biggest support and why? If you’d like to have more support in your life, what are some steps you can take to build a bigger support system?
9. Do you ever feel unsafe with yourself? Discuss what you can do and the steps you can take when feeling that way.
10. What are your best strengths (try and name 3) If you’re having a hard time thinking of some, what do others tell you you’re good at?
11. What are some negative thoughts you have about yourself? What thoughts can you replace them with?
12. Create 3 positive affirmations you can use throughout the day and/or when your struggling
13. What are your top 3 coping skills? Discuss a time when you were struggling and used them
14. Discuss a time when you were struggling and used an unhealthy coping mechanism. What could have you done differently in the moment?
15. In what ways does your mental health get in the way of reaching your goals? What steps can you take toward one of your goals?
16. What are the signs you are starting to struggle? What is your plan for when this happens? (ie. who can you call, what coping skills can you use)
17. What advice would you give your best friend if they were struggling with their mental health?
18. What are your favorite ways to practice self-care? Discuss the last time you practiced self-care.
19. Name an unhealthy habit you have that negatively impacts your mental health. What healthy habits can you replace it with?
20. What changes can you make in your life that would help improve your mental health and well-being?
21. What makes you feel peaceful? Why?
22. Do you ever feel lonely? If the answer is yes, what can you do to feel less lonely?
23. What are the signs (in order) that you are starting to feel triggered? What can you do when you start to notice the signs?
24. Where or with who do you feel the most safe? Why?
25. What limiting beliefs are holding you back? What are some ways you can challenge those beliefs?
Alright folks, that’s all for now. If you liked this post you might also like my post on bullet journaling