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Journaling Tips and Topics in Recovery

Emotional Wellness Journaling, Journaling

Some of us kept diaries as children. Maybe their covers were decorated with cars, planets, or princess themes. However juvenile their outward appearance may have been, those diaries held our inner thoughts: our reactions, emotions, observations, ideas, and secrets. Planets and princesses aside, your journal may have been a profoundly safe space for you. 

Diaries are wonderful ways to keep a record of life events and how you feel about them, but they can also be taken a step further to offer deep healing of mental and emotional distress. Through trauma, illness, or tough times, journaling for emotional wellness has the capacity to illuminate truths, clarify questions, and help us better know ourselves and our boundaries. Journaling in a mindful way can bolster your ability to cope with the following mental health challenges:

  • Depression: expressive writing directly works to reduce depression symptoms 
  • Anxiety: journaling helps counteract the negative, incessant spirals of anxiety by redirecting your brain to positive emotions, events, and affirmations
  • Stress: journaling can lessen the impact of burnout and compassion fatigue
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): writing about traumatic events in your personal life can decrease PTSD symptoms
  • Attaining perspective: journaling improves your ability to reflect on the past and present with objectivity and clarity

What is Emotional Wellness Journaling?

In the therapeutic world, there are several different types of journaling practices. One is called positive affect journaling (PAJ). In PAJ, you not only process your emotions but also focus on the positive elements of your life, using their uplifting effects to keep you grounded, grateful, and less susceptible to feeling depressed or overwhelmed. The medical world has seen this type of diary-keeping create positive outcomes for patients

There’s also the powerful form of expressive writing, which consists of writing about trauma, stress, tough emotions, and how each has an effect on you. Groups of individuals who tried out expressive writing and kept up with it generally reported better physical and mental well-being. They felt less ill, less prone to being impacted by trauma, and happier than peers who did not journal. 

At Miramont Behavioral Health Center, we see many of our patients who suffer from anxiety disorder, depression, and substance use disorder (SUD) thrive while journaling. We also highly recommend the practice as a supplement to therapy for our Veterans struggling with their mental health. 

The Extensive Reach of Therapeutic Writing

Journaling isn’t just for getting through tough times like trauma or addiction. Therapeutic writing also supports our growth as people and is highly beneficial for everyone. 

By helping you get perspective on and manage problem points in your life, including fears that hold you back from your full potential and concerns that need to be acknowledged, journaling helps you track your headspace on a day-to-day basis. The process illuminates triggers, enabling you to create more effective boundaries if you struggle with mental health or substance use issues. And it’s much easier to engage in positive self-talk and to identify your red flags and poor behaviors when you know you have a private space to do so. 

Therapeutic Writing Prompts to Jump-Start Journaling 

Journaling is a journey. When paired with our extensive behavioral support and healing services, journaling can help you uncover what holds you back from living your ideal version of life. 

Don’t be afraid to start small, writing 5-15 minutes a day at first and gradually increasing your time. Write what comes to mind without fear of judgment. Your journal is your private space to vent and search for meaning and understanding. You don’t need to justify what you write or show anyone else what you’ve written. 

See how these prompts draw out feelings, opinions, and gratitude for you today:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What are three goals and three aspirations that I have for myself, and how can I attain them? 
  • How do I define love, and what do I expect it to look like in myself and others?
  • What have I learned about myself recently and over time?
  • What made me unique as a child, and what makes me unique now?
  • What challenges have I overcome, and where did those challenges come from? What made them worse or better?

Begin Your Wellness Journey with Miramont Behavioral Health in Wisconsin

Our mental health support center has two locations in Waukesha and Middleton, WI. We encourage you to contact us at any time to take your first steps toward well-being. 

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About programs offered at Miramont Behavioral Health

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