Journaling helps bridge the gap between your feelings and thoughts and the real world. It does this by promoting mindfulness, moment-by-moment awareness of feelings, thoughts, and the surrounding environment. In doing so, journaling provides a powerful tool for better mindfulness and depression management.
In a study published in The Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers examined the impact of expressive writing on 40 patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Initially, study participants completed questionnaires and cognitive tasks to measure their depression scores. They were then separated into two groups: participants who wrote for 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days about their feelings and thoughts related to an emotional event, and participants who wrote for 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days about their feelings and thoughts related to a non-emotional event.
The study showed that MDD patients can benefit from emotionally expressive writing. Researchers found that patients diagnosed with MDD who engaged in expressive writing lowered their depression scores after the initial five days of the study. They also discovered that patients diagnosed with MDD who engaged in expressive writing lowered their depression scores four weeks after the study started.
How to Start a Depression Journal
Depression has emotional, physical, and psychological side effects that make it tough to function. However, with the right journal prompt, anyone can use journaling to improve mindfulness and cope with depression.
A journal prompt is a simple statement that provides a starting point to write about depression or any other topic. It can be any length and used by anyone, regardless of writing skills or experience. Now, let’s look at five journal prompt ideas that promote better mindfulness and make it easy to start a depression journal.
1. Today, I am grateful for …
Prioritizing gratitude promotes optimism, and helps people feel better about themselves and discover new ways to better themselves in the here and now.
2. My favorite way to spend a day is …
Fun activities can foster positive feelings and thoughts, and may help people realize that they have friends, family members, and other loved ones who help make each day special.
3. I feel energized when I …
By focusing on positive people, places, or things, energy levels may rise, depression symptoms may subside, and a positive outlook may develop that shapes the present and future.
4. I couldn’t imagine a world without …
Thinking about everyday must-haves and how the world would be different without them will promote greater appreciation for all things big and small that make the world a wonderful place.
5. I am inspired by …
Inspiration can come from anyone, anywhere, and at any time, and exploring and identifying sources of inspiration helps motivate people to establish and accomplish goals.
In addition to journal prompt ideas, there are several ways to make journaling a habit, including:
- Take a deep breath. Deep breathing exercises help calm the body and clear the mind before journaling.
- Make time to journal. Set aside at least a few minutes each day for journaling.
- Be yourself. Write as much or as little as necessary, as frequently as necessary, about any feelings and thoughts.
Journaling is one of many options to help improve mindfulness and cope with depression symptoms. In addition to journaling, it is important to also work with a team of expert mental healthcare providers to ensure that you receive personalized support to treat your depression symptoms.
At Achieve Concierge, our collaborative approach to treating depression enables us to deliver an unmatched total wellness experience that heals the body, mind, and spirit. We provide concierge psychiatry and wellness services that offer specialized mental health treatment options tailored to each patient’s needs. To learn more about our depression treatment options, please contact us online or call us today at (858) 221-0344.