By Martin Preston
Feeling down in January may not just be post-holiday blues. It could be a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD.”
Experts at Delamere believe journaling has a positive impact on a person’s mental health, helping relieve any stress or anxiety.
What can journaling help with?
“Journaling is a form of creative expression and acts as a powerful tool in helping to increase ones self-esteem, build resilience, reduce stress and feel empowered.
“Developing a deeper understanding of thought processes is the first step to overcoming any form of trauma or addiction.”
Why is it important? – How can it help with achieving goals?
“The way the brain processes traumatic events can often mean they are stored as pictures, emotions or sensations. Therefore, being able to freely express these thoughts through art, music, dance or drama, can create a more accurate picture of what’s going on underneath the surface.”
Maybe you have an important work meeting, or you are going on a date and you feel a little nervous? Writing down how these events are impacting you can be a way of relieving stress before a big day.
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What kinds of things should people journal about?
“A journal is a place where you can offload any thoughts and feelings you may have. Often, journaling is a great way to write about everyday life and activities and keep track of day-to-day feelings and emotions.
“Maybe you have an important work meeting, or you are going on a date and you feel a little nervous? Writing down how these events are impacting you can be a way of relieving stress before a big day. You can also write about future goals and aspirations, exciting things you have coming up, and reasons to be proud of yourself.”
How can beginners make journaling a habit?
“Writing a daily journal is an effective technique for coping with anxiety. It can help to process your thoughts and emotions, and reduce feelings of stress. Try to schedule around five to ten minutes of journaling per day to help relieve any inner emotions or anxiety.
“Journaling is often best when scheduled first thing in the morning. The idea is to get out anything you are thinking first thing, as this will clear your mind so you are ready to be more centred and focused for the day.
How can they incorporate it into their routines?
“Firstly, ensure to keep a pen and paper handy. If you do have busy mornings, try to journal as soon as you have some spare time, whether it be when you are travelling to work, when you arrive at the office, or during your lunch break.
“Even if you don’t have a pen and paper, you can use your phone or computer to write out a couple of lines on your notes page to stay on track with your journalling. Whenever you are feeling low or anxious, it is good to use the technique as an outlet for any pent-up emotions.”
How can beginners keep themselves from getting discouraged whilestarting a journal?
“When journaling, it’s wise to remind yourself why you are doing it, and that the diary is more than just a notebook. It is an emotionally supportive tool that does not judge or restrict you.
“Whilst some people may not feel the benefits of journaling at the beginning, research has previously found that those with various medical conditions and anxiety who write online for 15 minutes per day, three days a week, experience increased feelings of well-being and fewer depressive symptoms in as little as one month.
“Therefore, persevering for at least four weeks is extremely important to feel any benefits, and while you may struggle to incorporate it into your everyday life to begin with, the long-term positives of journaling are worth sticking it out for.
Martin Preston is Founder and Chief Executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect all or some of our beliefs and policy. Any links on this page do not necessarily mean they have been endorsed by Defying Mental Illness.
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