Journaling Tips for Managing Your Mental Health

November 21, 2023 Michaela Jarvis

Journaling can be an exceptional tool for managing mental health, and I've found creative journaling tips that have helped me reframe what it means to journal. When hearing the word "journaling," I used to think of "dear diary" entries, but now I believe there are many journaling tactics that are useful in combatting anxiety, depression, and guilt and gauging mental illness recovery progress. I'm excited to share some creative ways I've used journaling tips to assist in managing my mental health.

Journaling Tips for Gratitude

I've found that gratitude journaling is one way to work through a depressive episode. It's distracting and alters my thinking patterns in a positive direction. I often keep these entries simple. I like to make short lists of things I appreciate, things I'm looking forward to, or even doodles of things I love (such as my cat, flowers, etc.). Taking a step back and focusing on the good usually gives me a nice, positive energy boost.

Another tip I use for for gratitude journaling is to write my past self letters. I choose an age I want to address and write to that version of myself. For example, let's say I want to write to my 16-year-old self; I'll let her know what goals she had that I accomplished and what is positive in my life currently. Most importantly, I thank my past self for pushing through the hard times. I feel self-appreciation is often an overlooked practice.

Journaling Tips for When You're Upset

One of my favorite tricks to fighting anxiety is a questions-based exercise. In this practice, I choose a feeling (such as anxiety, guilt, or anger), and then I will continuously ask myself "Why?" or other questions until I get to the root of my feelings and put the situation into perspective.

Here's an example of how I use this exercise:

Journaling Tips to Track Your Mental Health Recovery Progress

My old journals line my bookshelf for the sake of tracking my progress over the years. Recently, I flipped through an old journal and was extremely validated to see that some of my biggest worries I was struggling with were now in the past.

In these entries, I often write in paragraphs about my current state, things that are going well, and things that are bothering me. Reviewing the worries I previously had reminds me that I am able to overcome difficult times. My worries now are completely different than they were two years ago, which is a comforting reminder that in two years, my worries may be a thing of the past as well.

Re-Thinking Journaling Tips for Your Mental Health

I've found that journaling is a powerful tool for working through difficult feelings, and trying different tips and tactics may be a refreshing way to re-think journaling. Journaling can be a nice escape to get all your feelings out on paper, but it doesn't always require a ton of writing or need to be time-consuming. There are many helpful, creative ways journaling can be soothing, validating, and sometimes, even fun.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2023, November 21). Journaling Tips for Managing Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

Jon Cosby
December, 19 2023 at 2:02 pm

I've been journaling for nearly 14 years and it provides me with therapy and a hobby. Reading back is fascinating to me. The writing has evolved, and so have I. I wonder sometimes, would other people find it interesting later on? Thanks for the tips!

December, 26 2023 at 12:46 pm

Hey Jon! Wow, I bet over 14 years it's satisfying to to see the evolution. I'm sure other people would love to see insights! Hope you continue to see progress through the pages :)

Leave a reply