Clinical depression not only affects millions of Americans, but it’s a daily struggle for those millions. Though there is no disputing that the best way to cure depression is with proper medical treatment through a psychiatrist and therapist, there are things that we can do to help ourselves too. No matter how depressed one gets, there is always hope for recovery, and there are many ways we can assist in that recovery. One of these ways is through journaling.
Whether it’s an old notebook, a Blogger account, or a Word document, a journal can be one of the most important tools you have in fighting depression. It’s a method highly recommended by therapists for those suffering from a variety of mental illnesses. But if you’ve never journaled before, you might not know exactly what to write about! Here are a few ideas about the things you can journal about every day, to lift your spirits and soothe your soul.
Write down five things you are grateful for. Do this daily, and although it may be difficult at first, you’ll find that it not only gets easier, but it goes to show you that we all have things for which we can be grateful. Whether it’s a warm breeze, the support of a friend, or a favorite food, there are things in this world that we are so incredibly thankful are there.
This time, try writing down five positive things that occurred during your day. It can be anything from getting out of bed, accomplishing some homework, or going to work. Anything at all that you think was good about that day is fair game. If you focus on the positives daily, you’ll remind yourself that not all is negative, even though the depression makes it seem as if it is.
Write down things you’ve accomplished in your life, and your thoughts on them. For example, I wrote down that I am fluent in Japanese. It’s something I’m proud of, and certainly an accomplishment. You don’t have to be fluent in another language to have accomplished things, though. Graduating from high school or college, getting married, having children, helping others, learning to knit―whatever it is you’re proud of that you’ve done, write it down and reflect on it. You’ll soon realize that you’ve really accomplished a lot at a time when it feels as if life has been a waste.
Writing down a goal for each day, or a list of goals that we want to accomplish in both the short and long term, gives us something to work for. Reminding ourselves that we have things we still want to accomplish in our lives can give us the motivation to get out of bed in the morning or to get out of the house in order to bring ourselves closer to those goals.
The number one rule to therapeutic journaling is that you must not allow negativity to come through. If you focus on the negatives, this exercise will not have the intended effect.
These are all excellent ideas to get you started on journaling, but these are most certainly not your only options. The sky’s the limit! Write whatever you feel you want to write. Letting out your feelings is an important part of this process. Best of luck!