Journaling As Self-Care for Your Mental Health

Friday, September 27 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Journaling for self-care eases the distress inherent in mental illness along with the stress of mental health stigma and maintaining the delicate balance of medication, therapy and building a positive support system. Blessings come from learning passionate self-care and finding expressive outlets for the sometimes overwhelming emotions and triggers. Journaling as a kind of self-care is easy, fun, unique and, above all, journaling is beneficial to your mental health.


Journaling as self-car increases your mental health awareness and recovery because it provides a safe place to hold thoughts and emotions without fear of the reactions of others. It can also help in those moments when there are things that need to be said but you are unable to find the words to clearly express things.

Journaling can take many forms: On paper (such as a bullet journal), blogging, private digital journals, or with art journaling, which combines text, color and a multitude of available mediums for self-expression (try zentangling).

Emotion and Gratitude Journaling as Self-Care

My first exposure to journaling was through a human relations class. The professor required us to keep 2 journals throughout the quarter: an emotions journal and a gratitude journal. The purpose of the emotions journal was to allow a safe place to capture intense emotion - anger, sadness, fear, etc and simply free write. No editing, no self-censoring, curse if you like, but release. The process allowed me to read through entries, identify negative thought patterns that were holding me back or to identify triggering events.

The gratitude journal is a place to write about "What's Right With Me". It takes no effort to come up with the things that annoy us in our lives. The journey within to find what is going well - even just "I am here" - requires a healing, loving introspection. I keep both of these journals in a Google document so that they are password protected and are only for me.

Art Journaling for Self-Care and Sanity

Art journaling is another self-care tool that you can carry in your mental health recovery toolbox. My foray into art journaling began 3 years ago when I had back-to-back medical crises that each took 18 months to diagnose and resulted in emergency surgeries.

I bought a sketchbook, paints and pens and began splashing down my frustration at being passed around through 6 doctors, trying to find the correct phone number for the correct department and the feeling of betrayal by my body. The magic of art journaling is tapping into the subconscious and bringing it into the light. My 1st piece is titled "Can You Hear Me Now?"

Over time, I have learned to allow the pages speak on their own: inspired by the color or a mental image, a phrase or a line, the composition builds itself. Recently, I have discovered zentangling which is a form of creative meditation in which the creator is not concerned about the final image. My most recent piece is a reflection of my thoughts about my mom's passing and is titled "Willow Weep For Me".

Journaling as self-care provides a path to both self-discovery and self-healing. Creative expression enhances mental health recovery. Learn more - read this.

Creativity through journaling can be a lifeline to our mental health recovery. How are you positively expressing yourself?

Art by Paulissa Kipp

Author: Paulissa Kipp

View all posts by Paulissa Kipp.

Journaling As Self-Care for Your Mental Health

judy
says:
September, 27 2013 at 6:41 am

I journaled for a long time. Did all forms - straight up writing, drawing, etc. It was definitely one of the most effective tools in my self-care toolbox. I referred to it as a mental/emotional trash can (especially when my mind was racing). It also served as a means for reflection. Then it was stolen, completely misunderstood, flung outward for all to see and misjudged.

Needless to say, it is no longer a healing pursuit.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
September, 27 2013 at 7:04 am

I'm sorry to hear of your experience with having your journaling exploited. Have you considered doing it again but in a password protected fashion using scribbler and some of the resources used above?

judy
says:
September, 27 2013 at 7:23 am

It was password protected - apparently it was not too effective.

But it was just my fluke experience. In no way am I posting this to deter anyone else from journaling. It is effective and helped keep me even for a long time. Unfortunately, when something like this happens, it simply isn't the same tool.

Sad, because I think you really need everything in your arsenal to cope - whether you have a mental illness or not.

Paulissa Kipp
says:
September, 27 2013 at 7:39 am

Awwwww so sorry, Judy. Yes we do need everything we can find to cope.

judy
says:
September, 27 2013 at 10:06 am

Thank you, Paulissa. It was pretty awful.

The funny thing is I really don't remember what's in it, but I do know people suddenly started treating me differently. I hope it never happens to anyone else. Nothing is worse than being characterized as something that you are not, and being subjected to a shitload of ignorance. Especially when you're having med problems.

Anyway, I noticed you are fairly new. Looking forward to reading your future posts.

Paulissa Kipp
says:
September, 28 2013 at 3:45 am

Courageously living with a mental health diagnosis is tough, the stigma can be tougher. Keep being a BraveHeart, Judy. I am new here and am excited to share. Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your experiences. I wish you peace.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
October, 2 2013 at 12:38 am

I took the time to read a number of your posts. You write very well. You asked in one of your posts how to tell people that you have a mental illness. I began with telling my inner circle. The words I used were "I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. That imbalance causes me to behave and respond to stimuli in intense ways. These are some of the things you may notice ______________. I am seeking treatment and would appreciate your support as I go through this process. You can help me by ________________." Hope this helps.

nicky
says:
June, 13 2015 at 11:04 am

i cant bring myself to write things down.. i tried several times, i even just tried to scrapbook and project life.. and fail miserably every time. I feel silly writing these things down or maybe it makes them more "real".. love your zentangles!!! absolutely amazing, mine always looked like a 2yrs old drew them so i gave up on that.

jerusha
says:
June, 29 2015 at 10:46 pm

This is a great article, thanks for sharing.

hilfreiche Ressourcen
says:
April, 1 2016 at 4:54 am

Gesagt, getan; sie machten sich die Arbeit.

koennen sie dies ausprobieren
says:
May, 7 2018 at 4:49 am

Ich hätte mich selbst ohrfeigen können, weil ich mich plötzlich fragte, ob er Single parkplatz sextreffpunkte kürzester Zeit hatten die beiden sich aufgegeilt, dass sie sich fragten, ob sie Silke und einladen sollten.

Dr Musli Ferati
says:
June, 30 2018 at 12:25 am

Positive experience with journaling the feelings, thoughts and dal;y impressions throughout logt time process of recovering from any mental disorder indicates a genuine and useful tool to surmount the difficult outcomes of mental disorder. Anyway, it is in concordance with the axiom of active and inventive facing with the strong and hard emotional struggles of any mental illness. Besides this benefit, journaling improves global life skills, as predictors of satisfying psychiatric treatment of mental disorder, whoever it may be. This kind of mental activity relax our emotional apparatus whenever we can and want. By this way we may regain lost social skills, as repercussions of mental illness. These and many others vantage of journaling are fully suffficient reasons to begin to write or to draw our personal psycho-emotional experience in freely and intimate manner.

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