Journaling To Help With Mental Health Issues (Ask Your Psychologist)


Depression, anxiety, and stress can be very overwhelming, and you might feel emotionally exhausted and afraid that you might not be able to finish even simple tasks. This can lead to overthinking that will not derail you from doing anything productive. (Ask a  psychologist about it, and he will agree.)

These mental illnesses tend to make you feel that you are not capable of work and your mind is disorganized and scattered. “Depression and anxiety are like flip sides of the same coin,”  says therapist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD. “Being depressed often makes us anxious, and anxiety often makes us depressed. If it turns out that you have both conditions, there are lots of ways to get help,” Irwin adds.

Journaling, on the other hand, will be a great way to manage your thoughts and emotions and let them go so you could focus on more important matters.

The Scientific Research On Journal Or Writing Therapy

Researchers found that there are positive impacts on people who write. They tend to focus more on their wellbeing rather than to focus on the stress at hand. Writing down your thoughts and emotions will help you figure out what bothers you and make an effort to reverse this.

Some researchers also found a connection between journaling and a healthy immune system, dropping of blood pressure to suitable levels and a lower risk of insomnia. This generally helps you become more robust.


Can Journaling Help Manage Depression?

Yes! Journaling can help manage symptoms of depression. It does not mean that journaling can be an alternative to professional treatments but can surely help with balancing treatments and therapies of a person with depression.

According to Cynthia McKay, a psychotherapist, “Expressing yourself in a journal can bring your thoughts and feelings to the surface. Many people are surprised by what they write. You may discover you’re worried about something you didn’t know was upsetting you until you wrote it down.”

Here are some samples of journaling as a tool to manage depression:

  • Expressive writing can help with women who went through an abusive relationship
  • Journaling can be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy for people with high-risk depression
  • Though journaling cannot lessen intrusive thoughts, this can help alleviate the effects of intrusive thoughts and depression symptoms which leads to reducing of symptoms
  • Journaling can help prevent brooding and rumination, the combination of symptoms of depression
  • People with Major Depression Disorder have lower depression scores after writing for three days for 20 minutes a day

Journaling helps people with depression release pent up emotions and thoughts and help them focus more on how to make a positive outcome in his/her day.

Journaling can even help people with anxiety disorders. Writing can calm your mind, and you can write about the things that give you anxiety, and you can work on it from there. Organizing your thoughts and putting it into paper helps you achieve more in your day.

Why Is It Beneficial For Anxiety?

Anxiety is an unnecessary feeling of fear for something superficial, and journaling can help you figure out that these feelings of fear towards something that will not even happen is just a product of your overthinking.

Writing in a journal can have a positive impact through:

  • Clearing your head and keeping yourself calm
  • Releasing stress and negative emotions
  • Letting go of negative feelings
  • Getting to know more about your anxiety
  • Writing about your struggles and success
  • Being self – aware and teaching yourself control over your emotions
  • Writing down and tracking your progress in treatments

Journaling has been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce health problems
  • Helps students manage their stress and anxiety in engaging in social events

This also helps people in managing their stress and avoiding anxiety problems and depression through:

  • Decreasing symptoms that lead to serious health problems.
  • Helps in your cognitive functioning
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Examining your thoughts and looking for positive solutions
  • Reducing rumination
  • Planning your options and having the best possible outcome

Journaling can help with stress and to overcome symptoms of anxiety and depression.


The Importance Of Journaling In Your Recovery

Writing down your feelings and thoughts into paper and facing them can surely help you in your recovery. Accepting yourself can help you overcome struggles.

Writing about an event or situation that is traumatic is a way to move on and accept that this has happened but will not happen again. This will help you calm your mind and letting go of the fears that you have.

Writing down the symptoms of your illness and freeing yourself from this is a great way to slowly but surely recover. Write down your symptoms and then write down what you can do to help in reducing these symptoms. This can free yourself from being down and thinking that you won’t get better.

Recording your struggles can help you see the patterns you have before you experience anxiety or stress. This will help you prepare yourself, and you can take a minute to relax and refocus on yourself. “Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings,” says Alison Stone, LCSW.


Remember to take care of yourself; physically and mentally. Your mind is a precious thing and writing down your worries and fears will let you see that some of them are not even true. You can focus on reducing and eliminating these negative thoughts and emotions and eventually eliminate your depression, anxiety or any other mental illness that is plaguing you.