The Power of the Pen: How Daily Journaling Helps with Mental Health

Updated: Sep 23


By: Joe Chaka, MHA

It's obvious that the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone's mental health. I think it's fair to say that it's been a rough couple of years (right?). Studies have shown that anxiety and depression levels have risen sharply since the outbreak began [1].


If you're looking for a way to boost your mood and improve your mental health, then you should consider starting a journal.


Here's why daily journaling is an amazing habit with the potential to change your life.

The Benefits of Journaling


There are many benefits to journaling, including reducing stress, improving sleep, and boosting your immune system. Additionally, journaling can help you process your emotions, make better decisions, and solve problems more effectively. Journaling also allows you to track your progress over time and see how far you've come. This can be especially beneficial if you're struggling with anxiety or depression. Seeing the positive changes in your mood and behavior can help you stay motivated to keep journaling.




Getting Started with Journaling


Now that you know some of the benefits of journaling, you might be wondering how to get started.


First, choose a notebook or diary that you like. Any notebook will really do. I prefer to use an iPad air with an apple pencil. I use Notability to keep all my writings in one place while saving paper. But the important thing is to just get started and find the medium that works for you.


Then decide how often you want to journal. Some of you may want to write in your journals every day, while others journal weekly or monthly. Some days will barely have a few sentences and that'll be it (and that's okay!). Other entries may feel like a chapter in a novel. It's important to be consistent for the best results but there's no right or wrong answer here—do what feels best for you. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day (or a few).


When it comes to what to write about, there are no rules either. You can write about your day-to-day experiences, your thoughts and feelings, or anything else that's on your mind. If you're feeling stuck, try prompts like these:

-What are three things I'm grateful for today?


-What was the best part of my day?


-What am I struggling with right now?


-What are some things I want to achieve in the next month/year?


-If I could tell my future self one thing, what would it be?

Give Daily Journaling a Try!


If you're looking for a way to improve your mental health, then give daily journaling a try. It's an amazing habit with the potential to change your life—and it's easy to get started. You'll be surprised after some time has passed and you scroll through the pages to see how you've grown. Just find a notebook or diary that you like and start writing about whatever is on your mind. Before long, you'll reap the many benefits of this powerful habit!

References:

[1] Santomauro, D. F., Herrera, A. M. M., Shadid, J., Zheng, P., Ashbaugh, C., Pigott, D. M., Abbafati, C., Adolph, C., Amlag, J. O., Aravkin, A. Y., Bang-Jensen, B. L., Bertolacci, G. J., Bloom, S. S., Castellano, R., Castro, E., Chakrabarti, S., Chattopadhyay, J., Cogen, R. M., Collins, J. K., … Ferrari, A. J. (2021, October 8). Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02143-7/fulltext#seccestitle190


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