The Benefits of Journal Writing for Depression Management

Spend 10 minutes a day writing down your thoughts in a journal

Journal Writing

Journal Basics

Write in a Journal Each Day to Improve Mood and Self-Awareness

Understanding Yourself Can Boost Esteem

Are you willing to keep a diary or journal? Do you believe journaling has been shown to decrease anxiety? If you are feeling down and suffering from low self-esteem, we strongly recommend you start writing in a journal. Journaling is a tool for stress management, self-awareness, and depression management when done properly.

Benefits: Writing in a journal gives you the freedom to explore your thoughts while taking a step back to reflect on them. Scientific studies show journaling improves cognition and analytical thinking, enhances the immune system, reduces anxiety, and even decreases the severity of asthma attacks and arthritis in many people. By enhancing your self-awareness, you will deal with your hardships in a more thoughtful way that fights depression.

Seniors should write in a journal

The Freedom to Reflect for All Ages

Everyone from adolescents to seniors should write in a diary every day, whether you feel content in life or not. Keeping a journal is especially useful for seniors because the ability to reflect on their daily activities and overall lives help create narratives and stories that keep their spirits up.

For people with depression, it is important to start new narratives in your life to help move beyond trauma and setbacks. New narratives allow people with trauma in their past to move forward by giving them a new outlook, a fresh perspective of hope.

Find a quiet place to write in your journal

Find a Quiet Place to Journal

You must sit in a comfortable and quiet place to really hear your thoughts and allow yourself to react fully to them. Do not rush when you write. Block out a chunk of time, say 15 minutes, and write in an honest manner. Find a favorite place to sit that is relaxing. This is your one chance to have time alone and dedicate it to you. Most people care about other people but they forget to care about themselves. Keeping a journal forces you to care about you.

How to Use Journaling to Fight Depression

The key to using your journal as a tool to manage depression is to:
1) write in detail about your feelings and thoughts on key events;
2) when significant events happen in your day, write them down;
3) write out all the deep emotions and thoughts about the event;
4) sit back and analyze why you had those feelings and what they meant to you.

The 3-step Method to Effective Journaling: Event, Response, Reflect

The three-step method of effective journaling works in the following way. When you write in your journal, we recommend that you create three columns. In the first column write the event that was significant to you today. Feel free to give adequate details. Try to include what happened, who did what, where it happened, and when. The middle column is where you write about your response to the event. Be sure to write down the emotions you felt, and the actions you took. The last column is for reflection. Explain why you reacted the way you did, and talk about how you could have reacted differently. Try it today!

Here is an example:

The Event
Today at 3pm my colleague at work did not listen to me. I asked her to listen but she didn’t make time for me and walked away.
Your Response
I felt insulted and angry. I felt like she didn’t care about me which made me confused because just yesterday she helped me with my work. I reacted by going home early.
Personal Reflection
Leaving work early probably was not the best way to react. It can jeopardize my job. I think feeling insulted is reasonable, but perhaps there was something really important she needed to take care of and I’m blowing this out of proportion. Maybe she had an urgent matter and it wasn’t personal. I guess I should stop feeling terrible and hurt and talk to her tomorrow. That’s what I’ll do.