Journaling for mental health is a powerful tool that can help you connect with your emotions, relieve stress and create a positive future. Journaling can be done at any time and in any place, whether it's done by hand or on your phone. The key is to find the right words to express what you're feeling. You don't need any special training or supplies; simply start writing about whatever comes up for you at that moment.

What is Journalling for Mental Health?

Journalling is a way to express yourself. It's a way to work through your thoughts and feelings, and it can help you remember important things. It's also a tool you can use to set goals for yourself—it will help you figure out what those goals should be, but more importantly, it'll keep you honest about whether or not you're actually achieving them.

Here are some easy tips to follow when starting out in journaling;

  1. Start Small

Write one entry per day and don't worry about what you're writing about. Just write.

Don't worry about spelling or grammar. If you want to go back and edit it later, that's fine but the first draft should be just for you so don't worry if it isn't perfect. (I've been journaling since I was eight years old and I still haven't perfected the art of grammar.)

  1. Write your Feelings

Writing your feelings can be a powerful way to help you get to the root of a problem, understand your feelings, and deal with negative emotions. If you keep a journal and find yourself writing about the same things over and over, it may be time for some therapeutic self-reflection.

You can use journaling as an outlet for your emotions by writing down exactly how something makes you feel. This helps shift from thinking about problems that cause anxiety or stress into actually dealing with them head-on by processing them in writing rather than just dwelling on them mentally where they can become stuck in ruts of negativity.

  1. Feelings of Pride or Accomplishment are also Important to Write Down 

Journaling is a way to capture your thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe space. It can be therapeutic as it allows you to process your daily stressors without having to worry about offending someone or being judged.

There are many reasons why journaling can benefit mental health:

  • You can express yourself freely without fear of being judged.
  • You’re able to see all your progress over time 
  • It gives you an outlet for expressing negative emotions in a constructive way rather than letting them build up inside until they become overwhelming (which could lead to self-harm).
  • Journaling helps you identify patterns in your life so that you can address them before they get out of hand (e.g., depression).
  1. Keep a Log of your Symptoms

Keeping a log of your symptoms is important, especially if you suffer from depression, anxiety or panic attacks. Writing down what happens when and how often can help you to identify triggers, coping strategies and patterns that may be contributing to your condition. 

You may find that certain situations are more difficult to manage than others, or perhaps certain people bring out certain reactions in you. This information is invaluable when it comes time for treatment planning with your doctor or mental health professional.

  1. Make Lists

One of the most effective ways to use journaling is by making lists. Making lists helps you organise your thoughts and prioritise tasks, remember things, stay focused on the task at hand, and even plan.

Here are some examples of what a list can be used for:

  • Your daily to-do list (you can do this in bullet points or more detail)
  • The things that need attention in your home or apartment (this could include cleaning out closets)
  • Things you want to accomplish over the next few months or year (this could include learning how to play an instrument like the guitar)
  1. Make Gratitude Lists

Gratitude can be a powerful tool for self-improvement. It can help you feel better about yourself, more connected to others, and more connected with the world around you. This practice will help you realise how much there is in your life that is good and worthwhile. While journaling about gratitude does not have to be complicated, it can be helpful to follow some of these suggestions:

  • Make sure your list isn’t just filled with people who have done something nice for you—including all of the little things (like waking up healthy every day). It helps if you keep it balanced so that there are at least twice as many good things on the list as bad ones!
  • Use descriptive language when writing down what someone did for or gave to you so that your mind fills in the details from memory instead of just thinking “someone gave me some money”—write down “my friend Amanda sent me fifty euros when I needed it most” instead. This step is important because it allows us to picture specific details in our minds when we read it later on rather than just having big picture ideas floating around up there!
  1. Express Yourself

Journaling is a way to express yourself. As you write down your thoughts, you may feel better or more in control. You can choose not to share your journal entries with anyone else if you want to—that's completely up to you.

But the benefits of journaling go beyond just feeling better and taking charge of your own life:

  • Expressing yourself helps connect us with each other, even when we don't know the person we're writing about personally. We all have similar experiences that help make us human, so by sharing what's going on inside our minds and hearts with others through our words and drawings, we are also building bridges between people who might otherwise keep their feelings hidden away from society at large (or even from themselves). This connection makes us feel less alone because there are other people out there who understand exactly how we're feeling at any given moment in time.
  • Writing doesn't always have an endpoint; sometimes it's just about getting everything out onto paper without worrying about spelling mistakes or making sense of what happened yesterday versus today versus tomorrow.
  1. Set Goals for yourself and Create a Plan 

Now that you have your journal, it's time to set some goals for yourself. A good goal might be "I want to do my laundry this weekend." You can also make more complex goals like "I want to read two books by the end of the year".

If you're not sure about what your goals should be, try asking yourself: what are my biggest challenges at school/work? What do I wish I could do that I'm not? What would make me happier? How could I spend my time differently so that I'd be happier or feel more productive or fulfilled?

Once you've got some ideas in mind, write down each goal on a piece of paper. Next to each one, write down the steps needed in order for them to happen and when you'll complete them (i.e., what actions need to take place and when). If necessary, break down bigger tasks into smaller ones with realistic deadlines (so if reading two books seems overwhelming right now—maybe start with something simpler like "read one chapter"!).


Journaling can be a really helpful tool for managing your mental health. It can help you process emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your overall well-being. If you're someone who struggles with depression or anxiety but has never tried journaling before, then we highly recommend giving it a try!

Of course, the team here at Cork Mental Health are always on hand to offer support and assistance where we can. Reach out to us and we would be happy to offer a helping hand.