It is approximated that 280 million people in the world suffer from depression (1). It is a common mental health disorder affecting both men and women of any age. Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and the way to recovery is different for everyone. A tool that has been found to be effective is journaling. Not only has research suggested it reduces depressive symptoms, it’s also known to improve anxiety, reduce stress, boost immune system, increase self-awareness and identify triggers.
Journaling is a judgement-free zone for you to explore your thoughts and feelings and process what you are going through. Here is how you can make journaling work for you to help your depression:
Track your Mood
By tracking your mood on a daily basis, it can help to identify patterns and how to manage your depression. For example, you may find certain foods/diets can trigger certain moods, or caffeine. Or how much sleep you got or what part of your menstrual cycle you’re on. You may find correlations and journaling can be a great way to track this.
Depression can make it hard to see clearly the good parts of your life and make your struggles stay at the forefront of your mind. Practicing daily gratitude can help you become more balanced in your perspective and ease symptoms. There is tons of research showing the benefits of daily gratitude and although practicing gratitude may not cure your depression, it will make you seek out the enjoyable parts of life and appreciate them more.
All you need to do is write down 1-3 things you are grateful for every single day. This doesn’t need to be huge things, it can be as simple as feeling grateful for your morning coffee.
Self-Affirmations are positive statements aimed at yourself to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. It is said that by practicing positive self-affirmations it can motivate yourself, encourage positive changes in your life, boost self-esteem and help your anxiety. It is also super easy to do! All you need to do is pick a statement, say it to yourself and repeat. Positive self-affirmations are for those who find themselves talking negatively about themselves all the time.
Open your journal and write down how you want to be feeling, but write it in the Present Tense. For example, ‘I am a strong person’, ‘I am a beautiful person inside and out’, etc.
One way to truly dedicate yourself to this is to take 5 minutes to feel those words taking over your body and soul. Close your eyes. Repeat them over and over inside your head. They are not the right words for you and they don’t make you feel anything? Then write different words, until you find the ones that work.
Here are some additional tips for you to get the most out of journaling for your depression:
- Go easy on yourself
- Be honest
- Keep it private
- Don’t expect results straight away
- Don’t be afraid to contact professional help
If you’re looking for a guided journal for depression, check out our Uplifting Journal which is designed specifically for depression and low mood:
Check out the Uplifting Journal here
(1) Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx). http://ghdx.healthdata.org/gbd-results-tool?params=gbd-api-2019-permalink/d780dffbe8a381b25e1416884959e88b (Accessed 1 May 2021).