The Benefits of Writing in a Journal for Anxiety and Depression

 “Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.” – Martina Navratilova

Writing In A Journal

If you’re a person that suffers from anxiety or depression, trying to look past those negative emotions can be a daunting task. Especially when your goal is to find a healthier way to live.

Sometimes we just need to unload everything that’s on our shoulders, before we can really begin to process our emotions. Journaling can help to take that weight off your shoulders. It can also give you a safe place to write down those thoughts that you’d rather not speak about with others. It’s an area of contemplation, reflection, acknowledgement and soul-seeking. We can discover something new about ourselves and even steer our minds consciously towards a happier place with positive self-talk practices.

I can vouch for it, because writing in a journal has always been my secret tool for self-soothing and self-improvement.

So, what are the benefits?

Take Some Weight Off Those Shoulders

The first thing that you might notice if you begin maintaining a journal regularly is the pleasant feeling of having all of those heavy thoughts off your mind and on to paper. It can be exhausting to carry your concerns around with you for long periods of time, putting them on to paper can help to give you the ability to let go of them without dismissing those concerns entirely. You’re just putting them aside for another day and you don’t have to worry about forgetting them.

Are you the type of person that can lay awake at night, unable to sleep, because some pervasive worry or trouble won’t let you go?

During moments like these, having a journal to scribble in can be hugely beneficial for your mental health. Unload those thoughts so that you don’t have to keep running them through your mind on repeat over and over again. Anxiety loves repetition.

The wrong way to reach enlightenment

Gain A Healthier Perspective Of Your Situation

Sometimes when our thoughts are stored in our minds, they can be in all sorts of little pieces and in order to understand them coherently, we have to piece them all together. When you write your thoughts on to paper, it forces you to organize as you go and it often creates a much clearer picture of your situation then you had known before you wrote about it. It also gives us a better opportunity to reflect upon our troubles and to reflect back upon our way of thinking in the moment, and even in the future.

Self-reflection can be incredibly helpful when trying to understand ourselves better in the finer details. Yes, we all know ourselves to some degree, but fully understanding the inner workings of our minds can take a ton of insight and it doesn’t come easily.  Some people will spend their entire lives never really understanding why they act or react in certain ways, they just do it because it feels natural. They don’t question it or look beneath the surface.

Use Journaling As An Opportunity to Practice Positive Self-Talk

One great thing about writing in a journal, is that if you are an anxious or negative person, it can be a great time to exercise more positive thinking habits. If you’re prone to anxiety or depression, than the odds are that you have a lot of negative self-talk going on inside. Fears about the future or fears about the past repeating itself may pervade your reality, or if you’re depressed, then you may just be convinced that nothing really matters. This kind of thinking can become habitual and the only way to shake it is to force yourself into an alternate mindset where you can exercise a different way of thinking. Journal time can offer an opportunity to practice that self-guided positive thinking.

Positive self-talk is the art of consciously shifting your focus from negativity to positivity, and not false dreamy positivity, but realistic optimism. Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability to overcome obstacles. Believe in the power that you have to change what you don’t like about your life. Then channel those beliefs through your self-directed talk. Even if it feels forced in the beginning, it will catch on and feel more natural with practice.

Imagine a friend came to you with all of their problems looking for some guidance and support. I imagine, that you would find words of encouragement and support to help them through their rough times, because we want to see the best in others. So, why do we forget to treat ourselves with the same words of encouragement some days?

We each need a strong sense of self-love in order to ever truly feel happy. We’re stuck with us for life, and no one wants to spend all day with a negative nancy. So, let’s work on that!

This may be too much self-love?

Write About The Good In Your Life As Well As The Bad

When it comes to writing in a journal, it’s important to try to balance out your thoughts between the positive and the negative. Writing can be an important tool for managing how to vent your stresses, but it’s also an opportunity to work towards consciously steering your thought patterns in a healthier and happier direction.

So besides just practicing your positive self-talk from time to time, be sure to record the moments in life that have made you smile. Those things that make you grateful to be alive and those people that warm your heart. Dreams? Goals? Aspirations? Write it all down. Hell, plan your goals out on paper, if you’re feeling ambitious.

Journal time can be an opportunity for growth time!

Ladder not included

Be Sure To Ask Lots of Questions!

It’s important to note that I don’t mean you should start playing good cop/bad cop with yourself like a paranoid schizophrenic. If you feel like throwing hot coffee in your face while shining a bright light in your eyes, I acknowledge your desire, but I reject giving it my endorsement! Feel free to e-mail me about it though.

What I really mean, however, is that it’s useful while journaling to dig deeper than the surface. Rather than just saying you feel a certain way and being done with it, ask yourself why. Work backwards if you have to, and it can give you a deeper understanding of not just your feelings but your insecurities and motivations as well. You may reveal something over time that will help you with your healing process in the future.

Do you keep a journal? Why or why not? What has your experience been like?

56 thoughts on “The Benefits of Writing in a Journal for Anxiety and Depression

  1. Really awesome post! I love keeping a journal, and this is certainly one of the posts I wanted to read since a long, long time… Whenever I experience the ‘down’s in my life or feel hopeless and worthless, I start writing to my journal. Do you keep a journal too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your feedback, I was hoping this post would be enjoyed. I do keep a journal. Some weeks I write in it more regularly than others. Personally, I haven’t written in it in a few weeks but my life’s been getting stressful lately. So I should today!

      Always helps.

      It’s nice to know that even Dragon Warrior’s in Cygnet journal :p

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for your reply!
        This week had been hard for me too. Perhaps because I am so sentimental. Yet, I am happy to pass through and have so many good friends beside…
        If you don’t mind me asking, what was the extra stress? Extra work, perhaps?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry, I don’t know why I wasn’t notified of this comment.
        I’ve always found my life to be stressful. Even when things are going well, I find a reason to stress.
        It’s a problem with my brain, I guess 😛
        But, this last week has been extra stressful because my Short Term Disability has finished which I’ve been on for 6 months because of an injury to my cervical spine (neck), and my work has been unjust with me about having me back. Basically, my financial situation is causing me some distress, but I will survive as I always do. Thanks for asking 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for replying…
        It happens to me too, very often, to find the bad in every good. Maybe it’s pessimism.
        Please cure soon! I think you should get some rest and plenty of good sleep 🙂
        Dark days would pass soon… ❤
        You WILL survive very amazingly, I know that very well and have great faith on you!
        You are one of my inspirations…!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great, and it’s so easy to do too. Sometimes I forget about my journal and my life will swirl into chaos. I’ll pay money to a professional therapist and then they just tell me to start journaling again. It’s funny…

      I think for me it needs to be a lifelong thing and that’s okay by me.

      What was your treatment for if you dont mind me asking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! I had no idea. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad for your recovery though and that you’ve been able to find something that works for you. I wish you a long and happy life.

        I’ve been there a few times contemplating suicide. It’s a dark place to be. Fortunately, if you are strong enough to endure those dark moments for long enough they will often pass with a little effort of our own and maybe some help from others. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just found your blog a few minutes ago – and I must say, reading this was something I needed today. Thank you for sharing. I’ve often thought of journaling as an outlet and it’s nice to read the perspective of how much it can be helping me that I didn’t even realize.

    Thank You

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Appreciate a new follower & glad you liked the content. I don’t believe in shoulds. ; ) Blogging does have a similar effect to journaling. I agree.


      2. That’s true. I’ve been following a book called Self-Coaching which is supposed to help with anxiety and depression as well. He talks about the importance of he language we use and “should” language was mentioned as a way of talking which implies we’re not good now. Thanks for the reminder.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s awesome and sure things are going well for me, but it’s important to remember that this has pretty much been my full time job for 6 months or so.

        I start school in September. Things may change then.

        That’s great that you’ve been able to see the world. I once took off for 2 years abroad. It was the best thing I had ever done for my life. It changed my perspective entirely. Do you feel that way?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Cool what will you be studying? Yes, living in another country is an experience I treasure; in Spain and Chile. I learned about who I am and how the US is perceived in the world. R

        Liked by 1 person

      5. A Bachelors of English actually. I really like writing. Maybe I don’t need to go to Uni for it, but I’ve always wanted to go to Uni as well. I dream of writing books from some little cabin in the woods or on a mountain, before dying in a fist fight with a bear. It’s all in the works.

        Travel is mind expanding!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I studied Spanish literature in school and it was very influential on my writing and thinking. Studying English sounds great. So many wonderful writers to read. I liked William Hazlitt. Full of action. The other influential and fun part is the friends you will make. Best of luck! -Rebecca

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for this article! It’s nice to find more people with the same advocacy on mental health through starting a conversation. I delivered a speech to college students last Saturday. It’s titled ‘The situation is a lot more nuanced than that: A meditation on mental health through Crazy ex-girlfriend.’ I decided to post a four-part lecture on it on my WordPress page.
        Here is the second part:
        Meanwhile, here’s the first part:

        Thank you for reading my posts and I hope that you give me thoughts on my speech. Follow me too. Be well!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic post (I love your writing style)!

    I for one have kept several journals and can vouch that the writing and venting is very therapeutic.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great read! Keeping a bullet journal has really helped me express myself clearer & remind myself of whatever small achievements I’ve recently made whenever I’m feeling low. Anxiety and depression still have big social stigmas to overcome, but talking about them certainly makes them seem less daunting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. It’s truly amazing how journaling brings an instant sigh of relief to our souls. When you struggle with anxiety and depression your thoughts, which in reality should weight nothing, seem to take on a physical weight.

    Liked by 1 person

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