To reduce stress, we are encouraged to exercise, stay connected with family and friends, and get plenty of sleep. Journaling is another easy activity that has shown to be an effective tool to help manage stress including symptoms of depression and anxiety. Journaling can be done in a variety of ways and can help you get to know yourself, work through problems, and even achieve goals.
Benefits of journaling:
- Journaling is associated with reduced symptoms of depression in both adults and adolescents.
- Journaling can be effective with anxiety and help to manage anxious thoughts.
- Journaling can help to clarify thinking and solve problems.
- Journaling allows you to control and articulate your personal narrative, an important part of stress management.
- Journaling can increase your sense of gratitude, which is associated with a reduced risk of depression.
- Journaling can help you make important changes in your life, whether it leads you down a different career path or helps you eat more cleanly!
Ways to journal:
- Write daily in a notebook or in a specific journaling app or word processing program. Some journals, digital or paper, have prompts to consider or questions to help you start writing. Some are decorated with colors and images designed to inspire!
- Not big on writing? You can still journal! Consider drawing pictures or using short phrases to represent how you feel or what you want. Can’t draw? Cut images out of a magazine or print images from the internet!
- Feeling the need to go public with your views? Start a blog or podcast! There are a number of platforms to use, and it’s a great way to connect with others about topics of importance to you.
- Whatever choices you make, give yourself time and space to express yourself. Don’t expect to uncover or resolve deep feelings immediately. Journaling is a journey, one that can take time and provide a number of surprises along the way.
Journaling is an inexpensive and easy activity to try. Commit to journaling a few times a week and see if it is an activity that works for you!
As always, if you begin feeling more depressed or find journaling leads you to greater anxiety, contact your medical professional or in the case of emergency call 911 or the National suicide prevention hotline 1-800- 273-8255.