journaling enhance mental health

Presented by BetterHelp.

Living life to the fullest often leads to seeking out the latest fitness and mental wellness practices that offer proven benefits. While we’re all for optimizing our health and wellbeing, some of these methods can be time consuming and expensive. What could be better than a simple, inexpensive way to get results that doesn’t require any special equipment?

Journaling is such a commonplace practice that its powerful benefits can often be overlooked. According to a recent study on the potential mental health benefits of journaling, there are distinct advantages to having a journaling practice. The study identified journaling as a safe, inexpensive way to improve your mental health and increase the benefits of therapy.

Whether you’re looking to increase the benefits of therapy or online therapy, or simply seeking new ways to enhance your mental wellbeing, there are some attractive reasons to add journaling to your daily wellness routine. There’s a low risk of side effects and low cost involved. Yet so many potential benefits. Journaling has been associated with:

• Reduced stress
• Increased feelings of contentment
• Improved goal setting
• Enhanced self-confidence
• Better memory

How Does Journaling Work To Enhance Mental Wellbeing?

There are many ways journaling can potentially enhance your mental wellbeing. According to one study, expressive writing calms our brains by helping us focus on one thing at a time. In their findings, people who experienced worry are essentially caught multi-tasking between a task they’re trying to complete and worrying. In essence, worrying can hijack your brain and deter you from completing what you want to do by decreasing your cognitive functioning and making it difficult to concentrate.

Journaling has been shown to help you feel more in control of yourself and your destiny, which is referred to as locus of control in psychology. By naming what’s going on in your life, you may have the ability to assert more control over an event or pattern, which can lead to decreased stress.

Perhaps the best part is the only thing you need is a pen and paper to get started, and you don’t even need that if you’re using your phone or computer. So let’s look at a few of the methods you can use to get started journaling.

Tips For Getting Started

Although you can work with prompts or a structure, like writing about your day at a certain time, there’s no right or wrong way to journal and no judgements. Keep an open mind, and don’t worry about using proper grammar or spelling. Your journal is a private place to express your thoughts, not an English exam.

Create A Ritual Around Your Journal

Maybe you enjoy a cup of tea each evening. Or you like to start your day by journaling with your coffee. Play some relaxing music. Or sit in your favorite chair.

Creating a pleasant ritual has scientific benefits. A ritual around your journaling may help encourage you to stick with the habit you’re creating, which can give you a warm feeling of reward. Another way to enhance your journal practice is to find a diary you really enjoy looking at, or find a special pen that has a nice feel.

Try Journal Prompts

If you’re feeling stuck when you first begin your journaling process, it’s okay. It’s only natural to feel a little hesitant about opening up and starting something new can feel uncomfortable. Try using journal prompts. You can find them online, or you can write your own.

Here are a few journaling prompts to get you started:

• How was today?
• What was the best part of today
• What do you feel grateful for today?
• What brought you joy today?
• How do you feel?
• What are your ambitions for your career?
• What do you fear most?
• What three changes can you create the kind of life you love?

It’s easy to get things started if you think of a prompt as a question you’d ask a friend or someone you care about. Writing something like “How are you today?” is a quick way to jump start your practice. You may find it beneficial to think of your journal like a friend who cares about you and is asking you questions to learn more about you.

Use A Journal to Uncover Triggers Holding You Back

Sometimes, you may feel like you end up in the same negative situation repeatedly, but you don’t understand how you got there.

Try using journaling as a way to document your daily actions and help you understand invisible triggers that may be leading to negative feelings. Once you better understand what’s behind your triggers, you can work on how to better control them.

Online Journaling Vs. Keeping A Paper Diary

There are different benefits for keeping a good old fashioned paper diary versus an online journal. There are apps that encourage you to write in a certain format or may even remind when you haven’t written anything down in your journal that day.

On the other hand, some people may feel it difficult to get away from their daily life of answering emails and engaging on social media when using a digital device. When all the pros and cons are weighed, the most important factor is likely to be how willing you are to stick with it.

If you like digital diaries, then stick with using your phone or computer. If you enjoy having a break from your digital devices and prefer to simply take pen to paper, then go that route. Just remember, consistency is key to getting the most benefits from your journaling practice. Pick the type of journal that works best for you.

Whatever form it takes, journaling is your time to focus on your thoughts and dreams, what you feel good about and what you might like to do differently next time.

One of the most wonderful things about a journal is that it’s always there for you, all you have to do is open your diary or computer. In our busy world, it can be difficult to connect with people and even your best friend may not always be able to be there for you, but a journal can be a constant source of comfort that’s always within reach.


Journaling is one way to enhance your mental health and wellbeing. But it may not be the way that works for you, and that’s okay. There are many ways to go on the lifelong journey of caring for your mental health, whether it’s self-directed or working with a therapist.

And today, there are more options than ever before with technology. There are online mental health platforms that offer 24/7 in-app messaging, so you can reach out to your therapist when you feel triggered. Much like journaling, you’ll have a better understanding of your symptoms and triggers by recording them in an app.

So, grab your journal, and get started today.

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