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How Journaling For Five Minutes a Day Can Greatly Improve Your Mental Health

How Journaling For Five Minutes a Day Can Greatly Improve Your Mental Health

Although 2020 has been a mess of a year, one good thing to come out of it has been this new age of self-care and being more open when it comes to talking about mental health and mental health practices, especially on social media. One ‘trend’ that has boomed in recent years has been journaling. If you’re new to this idea, journaling is the process of writing down thoughts, feelings, or ideas. There aren’t any specific rules with journaling, other than allowing yourself to be present and mindful. Journaling can help us to figure out what makes us happiest, what makes us unhappy, what we’re grateful for, and work through difficult thoughts, feelings, or times in our lives. 

Research shows there are many physiological benefits to journaling daily.

  • Journaling can help clarify your thoughts and feelings. Writing accesses your left brain-analytical and rational, while your left brain is occupied your right brain is free to create and feel. Writing can help remove mental blocks, which in turn can help clarify difficult thoughts or feelings.
  • Learn more about yourself. By allowing yourself to write freely and with a stream of consciousness, you might learn things you didn’t know about yourself or were holding back from fully accepting. 
  • Reduces Stress. Writing about stressful moments, angry feelings, or painful emotions can help release the intensity of those feelings which will result in feeling calmer.
  • Can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you take a moment each day to write down one thing you’re grateful for, it can help put your life in perspective. One study has found writing expressively for 20 minutes a day reduced symptoms of people who were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. 
  • Can help reduce symptoms of PTSD. The Cambridge Journal found writing about our deepest fears and challenges can help reduce inhibited emotions and stressful feelings.


If you’re new to journaling or don’t know where to start, here are some tips.

  • Set aside a few minutes each day. Start small with five minutes, this will help you get into the habit of writing regularly.
  • Make it easy. Keep your journal with you at all times, or download a journaling app on your phone so it’s always with you. (Some apps we’d recommend include Day One Journaling App, Gratitude, and Jour). 
  • Don’t overcomplicate it. Journaling doesn’t have to be a daily epiphany or emotional break-through. Allow yourself to write from the heart.
  • If you don’t know to even write about, use prompts to get you started. 
    • What is one thing you are grateful for today?
    • My favorite way to spend the day is…
    • Make a list of 30 things that make you smile
    • The words I’d like to live by are…
    • Make a list of the people in your life who genuinely support you, and who you can genuinely trust. (Then make time to hang out with them.)
    • What does unconditional love look like for me?
    • Find more prompts here.


Please note these are suggestions and journaling should not take the place of professional care. If you or someone you know is struggling wants professional help for mental health, request an appointment with one of our licensed therapists today!