Millions of people struggle with mental health disorders every year. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 22.8% of adults in the United States (57.8 million people) experienced a mental illness in the past year.1 And 5.5% of the population, or 14.1 million people, experienced a serious mental illness.
Although mental health treatment is an important part of the recovery process for many, not everyone is ready to seek help from a specialized facility. You can incorporate some things into your daily life that might help you manage some of your symptoms.
Mental health journaling is one such practice. You may have kept a journal or a diary when you were younger, recording your secret thoughts and stashing them away for no one to find. While it might have been something you left in your childhood, there are many benefits of writing in a journal as an adult. What are some of the ways that journaling can help your mental health?
Benefits of Mental Health Journaling
Mental health disorders provoke some serious emotions and internal conflict that can be difficult to manage. Finding healthy outlets to process these feelings and reactions is an important part of managing your mental health. Mental health journaling is one tool you can use to express yourself and work through troubling emotions.
Studies show that some of the benefits of writing in a journal include more manageable anxiety, reduced stress, and an improved ability to cope with depression.2 Journaling provides a neutral space for you to prioritize your problems, concerns, and fears. It also offers a way for you to track your day-to-day life, enabling you to identify triggering people, places, or experiences and develop ways to better handle these situations.
How to Start a Journal
If you want to make use of mental health journaling, the following tips are a good place to start:
- Make time to write every day. You don’t have to write pages and pages, but carve out a few minutes to get some thoughts down on paper and build the habit.
- Pick a notebook and pen you enjoy writing with. The more enjoyable the experience, the more likely you are to stick with it.
- Your journal is your own. Don’t force yourself to write, draw, or document in any particular way because it feels like you “should”; do what you want to with your space.
- Keep your journal private if you want to. Knowing you have a space that no one else can read will enable you to express yourself more freely.
Other Useful Practices for Mental Health
While mental health journaling is a useful practice for managing mental health, it’s not the solution for a mental health disorder. Trying to journal your way out of mental illness is not the best approach. Journaling is a useful tool when incorporated as part of a comprehensive mental health treatment program.
If you’re struggling with mental illness, seeking help from a specialized mental health treatment facility like LifeSkills Florida is the best option. You can find a program that best suits your needs depending on what you’re struggling with. If you would like to find out more about the services we offer, reach out to us by phone at 954-953-1742 or submit an online contact form, and an admissions specialist will be in touch with you.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2021.
- University of Rochester Medical Center. (2023). Journaling for Mental Health.