How Positive Journaling Can Improve Mental Health.
Positive journaling is different to just keeping a diary. You don't include anything which is negative. With this particular type of writing you focus only on the good stuff. Those little glimmers of joy amongst an otherwise difficult day deserve to be recorded and remembered. It could be things that you have done or achieved, things you have felt proud of, compliments that you have received or anything that has made you feel happy.
Benefits of positive journaling.
Increased self esteem - by focusing on the positives about your life and your achievements.
Increased gratitude for the things that you appreciate about yourself or others.
A different perspective - by highlighting the joy in your day you can start to see things differently and become more optimistic.
It's a form of self care - this task is focused on you. It is a mindful exercise that is dedicated just to you. It gives you time and space to think about your feelings.
It helps you to track your progress. Whether you want to work towards a particular goal or you just want to record your achievements, this is a great way to do that.
It is a form of self regulation and can help to calm your nervous system.
It is a positive reminder that you can refer back to when things are tough or when you need inspiration.
Positive journaling can feel tricky at first. If you are currently experiencing depression it can sometimes be hard to find any positives at the end of a day so start off small and list just one thing. "I had a shower" or "I cooked a meal" are some examples of a good place to start. With practice you will start to recognise more positives in your day and may find that you go from struggling to list one positive thing to being able to write a whole page!
How to do it.
All you need is a pen and some paper or you could treat yourself to a special notebook.
Consistency is key. You don't need to do it every day but doing it regularly will bring the most benefits. Some people find it helps to use prompts such as:
Write down something nice that someone has done for you today.
Write down 3 things that you are grateful for and why.
Write down 2 things you are proud of today.
Write about someone who has inspired you and why.
Write about the thing you like best about yourself.
Write about something scary that you have done this week. How did you feel after you battled your fears and did it anyway?
Write about the qualities that make you unique.
How journaling can help with your therapy.
Journaling can help you to process your thoughts and feelings in between counselling sessions, this is when most of the change happens. It can also help you to identify areas which you would like to change or explore in more detail with someone who is not going to judge you.