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Journalling: Writing for Your Mental Wellbeing

writing journal

The transformative power of journalling can be a beneficial addition to the routine. While it cannot substitute counselling, this insightful practice can offer relief and enhanced insight, potentially reducing the need for therapy sessions. Journalling promotes a deep dive into thoughts and experiences, reducing resistance when exploring vulnerabilities and allowing complete honesty. Moreover, even the most profound secrets become less daunting and more approachable once written on paper.

Journalling: Emotions, Reflection, Understanding

Journalling is not merely recording events; it is about describing thoughts, emotions and experiences and a deeper exploration of perceptions, expectations, and interpretations. All this allows you to make sense of your story. Expressing emotions in writing helps to work them through and move forward. Keeping a journal is also a great way to strengthen mindfulness and self-reflection skills.

man journalling

Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.

Mina Murray

Exploring Journalling and Mental Wellbeing

Journalling for your mental wellbeing is not an alternative to counselling. If your distress involves past traumatic experiences, approaching journalling requires caution as it may increase the discomfort experienced if not undertaken under professional supervision. 

Also, if you want to use a journal to relieve intrusive thoughts, it's best to discuss with a therapist the best way to approach it.

Benefits of journalling

As said, under certain circumstances, journalling helps improve physical and psychological wellbeing in various ways:

  • Keeping a record of your emotional development

  • Remind yourself how far you've come

  • Make sense of your thoughts and experiences

  • Adapting your story in a way that is meaningful to you

  • Recognise patterns 

  • A chance for self-reflection

  • Exploring different perspectives

  • Reduces worries and rumination

  • Decreases the avoidance of negative thoughts

  • Improves working memory


Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation,

 is not only life-changing but life-expanding.

Jen Williamson

Mastering the Art: Journaling Strategies

While there are no right or wrong ways to keep a journal, here are some guidelines that may help with this task:

A quiet nook to write.

Find a place where you can sit quietly and write. Make this become the safe space you need to open up. Ensure you won't be disturbed by others and switch off your devices.

Make it a daily habit.

Fifteen minutes of daily writing allow you to enter your inner world. Writing only amidst an emotional hurricane can enhance its strength and not be very helpful. Assigning a specific time increases the chance that your commitment to journalling holds.

Take notes

Learn to take little notes before you forget about it when something brings up complicated emotions.

Let the fun begin!

Dig into your notes and start writing about something relevant, whether a positive or negative experience. Give the focus to your feelings: 

  • How did it start?

  • How did it feel?

  • Where did you feel it first?

  • Was it intense?

  • Did it change over time?

The feeling wheel can help in this process. Spend a few minutes exploring your thoughts and feelings about the experience you want to write about, begin to write and let the flow lead you. The outcome is often different than expected; new ideas may show up, and that's perfectly okay!

Write without focusing on spelling or grammar; the main concern is the content.

Jurnal and coffee

Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way

to help you distil what’s important and what’s not.

Martina Navratilova

Overcoming Writer's Block in Journalling

Here are some prompts for your journal when inspiration eludes you:

  • Which are your first memories involving emotions?

  • What was your best experience, and how did it feel?

  • Write a letter to yourself at the age of ten.

  • Write five positive things to remember the next time you're in a negative spot.

  • List 10 things that make you smile.

  • Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has caused you pain.

  • Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself. 

  • How would your perfect day be? Which feelings are involved?

  • Write to someone important to you but not in your life anymore.

  • What will change for you in the next six months? 

  • How do you want your emotional world to change?

Woman writing a journal

Journaling is paying attention to the inside

for the purpose of living well from the inside out.

Lee Wise

Final Thoughts

Journalling is an effective method to help you handle your stress and deal with challenging feelings. There is no need to be a writer to benefit from writing. All you need is a pen and paper and to commit daily in exchange for many benefits.

When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. Contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

Subscribe to this website and get 15 minutes of free online consultations. 



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