The Joys of Journaling: How Putting Pen to Paper Improves Mental Health


“A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to “become”. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember and dream”- Brad Wilcox


A skill that we learn very early on in our lives is writing. We write down directions and recipes, so they are exact and correct. We write down events in history, so they are accurately conveyed to be remembered and learned from. The same holds true for our feelings and emotions. Journaling is a powerful and effective tool that can aid us in processing, remembering, and coping with our feelings and emotions. Simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.


There are many benefits of journaling:

  • Enhances your ability to reflect

  • Allows us to become more mindful/aware

  • A place to understand and express our thoughts and feelings

  • A means of processing stress and difficult experiences in our lives that we may not feel comfortable sharing with another person

  • Relieves stress

  • Allows for self-exploration and personal growth

  • Builds resources helpful for coping with stress

  • Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns

  • Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them

  • Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors

There are numerous strategies and prompts for journaling including

  • Rage on the Page” -set a timer and purge your feelings of anger and frustration while listening to music. Allow whatever comes up for you to be written without thought or judgement. When you’re done, you can rip it up

  • Gratitude letter-write list of things in life that you are grateful for. Write a letter to a meaningful person in your life and how they have positively impacted you. You may send the letter or keep it for yourself.

  • GLAD Technique - (1 thing you are grateful for, 1 thing you’ve learned, 1 thing you’ve accomplished, 1 thing/person that brought your delight/joy)

  • Sketch Journal - draw it out! (your feelings or reflections on a situation, things you are grateful for, goals. etc).

  • Keeping a Diary- write down your daily adventures, feelings, accomplishments, frustrations, loses, successes


Keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time. It's a time when you can de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that's relaxing and soothing. Look forward to your journaling time. And know that you're doing something good for your mind and body.



“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you are grateful for and what you have committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day”- Hal Elrod

Dawn Muscarnera, LMSW


Written Dawn Muscarnera, LMSW



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