Journaling to Cope with Depression, Anxiety, and Stress


Journaling can be understood as the adult version of writing in a diary; it allows you to express yourself without punishment and to explore your feelings without anyone’s judgment but your own.

The cathartic act of getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.

The Benefits of Journaling

Overwhelming emotions are difficult to deal with, and journaling provides a healthy outlet for working through them. The process can help you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and cope with depression.

Writing in a journal regularly can improve your mood as you:

  • evaluate and prioritize your problems, fears, and concerns;
  • recognize triggers and find healthier ways of reacting to them;
  • identify negative thoughts and behaviors, and replace them with positive ones; and
  • record your progress with lifestyle changes and different types of treatment.

Tips for Making Journaling Work for You

  • Set aside a few minutes each day to write in your journal. If you want to improve your time management skills in an effort to reduce stress, write in the morning and set goals for the day. If you find that you always feel stressed at the end of the day, write in the evening or at night in order to vent.
  • Have something with you at all times so that you can jot down your thoughts whenever you need to. If the act of writing is therapeutic for you, carry around a small pad of paper and a pen. Otherwise, utilize a “notes” feature on your phone, laptop, or other portable device.
  • Practice “free-writing.” Let your thoughts flow freely by disregarding spelling and punctuation. Write about whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make sense.
  • Share your thoughts with others, but only if you want to. You can keep your journal private if you don’t feel comfortable sharing these things with your loved ones or if you’re still trying to make sense of them. Keep in mind that friends and family members can sometimes help you understand yourself.

Journaling can help you establish order when your life is in a state of chaos. It allows you to relax while you get to know yourself on a deeper level. It gives you something to look forward to every day—something that is good for your mind and your body.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center


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