Journaling for Mental Health: How to develop a supportive practice

Journaling is a wonderful way to develop a healthier relationship with ourselves. Through this practice, we become able to check in with our thoughts and feelings, tend to them with loving kindness, and find clarity to move forward on our paths. Journaling doesn’t have to be hard or scary. It can be easy, fun, and amazingly therapeutic! It all depends on how we approach it. 

It is important to understand that there are no right or wrong answers in journaling. Journaling is an exploration. It creates a safe space for us to be authentically ‘heard’ and it gives us the freedom to share whatever might be going on within us. Simply writing out our feelings without necessarily needing solutions can help us heal and process. Journaling also helps us articulate our needs to our community and loved ones better because we’ve taken the time to truly understand them for ourselves. 

Developing a journaling practice should be accessible and approachable. 

Read on for my top 3 tips for developing a strong journaling practice to support your mental health:

  1. Carry your journal with you everywhere. You never know when you might need to unload, check in, or reconnect with yourself. I recommend choosing a journal that makes you excited to write in and carrying it with you everywhere. The journal will ideally be comfortable to hold, carry, and write in to promote accessibility while you develop this positive habit. 
  2. Schedule your journaling. As you begin, try scheduling in daily time for your journaling practice. If daily doesn’t work for you, try scheduling in a session at least  2 or 3x a week. If this step feels challenging for you- you’re not alone! Consider finding a friend to use as an accountability buddy for greater support. 
  3. Start small! Set 5 minutes aside for each scheduled journaling session that you commit to. You’ll be surprised at what just 5 minutes can do for your mental health! Starting small is important because it creates an approachable pathway for us to continue showing up for ourselves again and again. If you feel called to, extend the time you wish to journal gradually or simply free write until you’re intuitively done. 

Do your best to be patient and gentle with yourself as you explore this form of self care. It can be intimidating to write out our thoughts if we haven’t done this before! That is natural and okay! Remember, like all things on this journey, it is a practice. Take your time developing the journaling practice that truly resonates with you and feels  supportive. Your mental health is a priority.