In the first article of my mental health journaling series, Journaling to Manage Mental Health, I cover the benefits of journaling to improve mental health. In today’s article I offer a few tips to keep your journaling going positive with successful results.
In its essence journaling seems easy. And it is. However, there is an effective way to journal for mental health and journaling just to get things out there. Here are six tips to journaling successfully and keeping your journal going.
Writing often is the key to keeping your journal going. Like anything, the more you do it, the more that activity becomes a part of your every day. Writing every day will help you develop a habit. You don’t need to write for a long time or word vomit, but setting aside 15 to 30 minutes a day is a great start.
Try not to write your autobiography in your first entry
If you’ve ever started a journal this may resonate with you. I have heard more people talk about how they stopped their writing because they no longer had anything to say. The problem was that the first entry in their journal is fifteen pages long documenting their life, when it only had to be a page or less. You shouldn’t feel the need to word vomit.
Let your thoughts flow
Your journal is a personal activity and you don’t need to feel weighed down as if you are sending it off to a book publisher. Sometimes it is easier knowing that no one else will be reading your journal. This is your moment to write what you want. Write about anything and let your thoughts, feelings, concerns, and praise flow freely.
In my journaling I have tried all sorts of techniques to get my mind in the right state. I’ve written to Thomas Jefferson as if he were a friend. I’ve written letters to myself and to my future self. I’ve journaled lists of positive thoughts. ideas, and simple word lists. Any time I can’t think of something to say, I try to get creative. Who knows, sometimes it is those creative entries that become writing prompts for the future.
Try not to be too negative
It really can be easy to be negative in your journal. And at times you will want to just get out your dark thoughts. If you can, put a positive spin on your writing or at least limit the negativity. The goal of your journal is to improve mental health, and the best way in journaling is to build a positive approach.
Also, if you do write something negative, try not to go back and reread those entries often. You may read them to better evaluate and understand where and when those thoughts came about, but dwelling on them will be counter productive.
Writing a journal is simple, right? Pick up a pen and… wait, where did I put the pen? Well, that’s okay, I can just get my notebook and… oh shoot, where did I put that thing? Wherever you decide to journal (notebook, computer, app, etc.) ensure that you have everything in place so that you just need to sit down and go. It becomes very easy to not write when the writing instruments are not accessible.
I am a full-time freelance writer specializing in memoirs and autobiographies on mental health, domestic and sexual abuse as well as other topics. I also write blogs, web-content, and handle several other types of projects. To see what I offer visit my rates page or contact me with specific queries and questions. I’m also available to help mentor you through your first book. I’d love to work with you, and if you know anyone else looking for a writer I offer a generous referral fee.