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I started journaling for mental health a few months ago, just before I officially started therapy.
Initially, I fell in love with all those beautiful aesthetic journals you see on Pinterest and Instagram. The owners of these journals have beautiful handwriting, wonderful artistic skills, the ability to draw straight lines and create gorgeous calligraphy headers. I thought they looked so gorgeous and like something that a person could be really proud of. Basically, these journals were works of art to be admired…
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What I Needed Was A Mental Health Diary
Although these journals were gorgeous to look at, what I really needed was a mental health diary. I needed a place where I could literally just brain dump about all the things that were going on in my life, and as you can imagine, because I decided to start whilst I waited for my therapy appointments to be confirmed, there were a lot of negative thoughts I needed to get out of my head. What I wanted to write…well, it wasn’t pretty. I found that journaling for anxiety and depression was sometimes a very raw experience; tears washed ink away; pens broke through the paper; and that fancy handwriting quickly gave way to hurried scribbles.
The Notebook I Use When Journaling For Mental Health
When I knew what I wanted was less about glorious aesthetic journals, and more about being able to vent in a mental health diary, I went ahead and bought a cute little notebook to begin my ‘journaling for mental health’ journey. I bought a lovely little A5 number – easy to pop in your bag, take to work with you, or keep in a drawer where it wouldn’t take up too much room. I thought if I failed miserably at making it look beautiful on the inside, it can at least look nice on the outside, hence why I decided to get this Starry Night Van Gogh print journal. The hard cover has a gorgeous matte texture, the image quality is top notch, the lined paper is thick, and it also has a hand little puch at the back which is where I keep my therapy notes and stickers!
The Process Of Journaling For Anxiety And Depression
Once I had my mental health diary, I will admit that I did try and make it look pretty. But honestly? That lasted about 2 days. I had to get things off my chest, after all, I was journaling for mental health, and once I had scribbled the contents of my head messily onto paper, I felt so much better.
That being said, what I had written wasn’t exactly…constructive. It helped me in the sense that I had a release for my worries and anxieties, but it didn’t do anything towards making me feel better. That’s when I decided that I should focus on including some more structured writing, as well as journaling for anxiety and depression.
Journaling For Mental Health Using Prompts
Journaling for mental health has been, dare I say it, a life saver for me. When times have been so hard I struggled to get out of bed and deal with the daily grind, I could fill up the pages of my mental health diary with my worries and it was extremely cathartic.
What I found most helpful was using mental health related journaling prompts. These mental health journal prompts really helped me to focus my thoughts. They encouraged me to stop and think for a few minutes before I started writing. I was able to analyse my emotions, figure out why I had reacted a certain way, or even how my way of thinking had impacted the scenario.
Sometimes the prompts were painful, they took me to places that were difficult to remember, yet ultimately some good definitely came from them.
Free Mental Health Journal Prompts
I found writing prompts to be an invaluable tool when it came to journaling for mental health. I still use them all the time as I find they really do help you to figure out exactly what is going on and how you can change certain aspects of your life that you’re unhappy with.
I have decided to share with you a few mental health prompts for free that you can download and print out. These can be glued into the front of your own mental health journals, or you can download and save them for later use.
I want Lukeosaurus and Me to be a safe space, so please feel free to share this blog post with anyone else you feel may benefit from journaling for mental health, or from these free mental health journal prompts.