Journaling for Mental Health


In this article, we are honored to feature insights from Kristin Mosley, the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) for St. Louis CITY SC. An avid journaler, Kristin volunteers her expertise and experiences to champion the mental health benefits of journaling. With her extensive background in promoting inclusive practices, Kristin brings a unique perspective to the transformative power of journaling. This piece reflects her dedication to spreading awareness and her commitment to enhancing well-being through reflective writing.

One of the ways I preserve my mental health is through journaling. I have an insane number of journals all around my house to prove it. I have found journaling is a way to purge thoughts without judgement. My pen and paper never critique what I write but in turn act as a conduit for creative expression, stress relief, a way to develop/practice healthy habits, setting goals, and to convey gratitude, etc. Journaling can also become an effective way to help with better communication with family, friends, coworkers, or anyone in your life. When I write I find it helps brings perspective and peace and ease to whatever issues I‘m trying to sort out mentally.

As I mentioned before, daily journaling can impact your life positively in so many ways. I highly recommend trying it out and to make a conscious commit to a journaling practice. I cannot stress enough that the process of writing is inherently therapeutic. It can help you organize your thoughts, express yourself, and process and deal with your emotions — both good and bad — in a constructive, healthy way.

Other benefits of journaling can include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Identifying and tracking goals
  • Achieving those goals
  • Tracking problems so you can recognize triggers
  • Finding inspiration
  • Improving self-confidence
  • Overcoming fears
  • Identifying and addressing negative thought patterns and behaviors
  • Starting a habit of using self-talk and creating mantras

How to start
If you are new to journaling, I want to provide you with some practical ways to get started.

First start with a commitment to writing every day. Making it a habit helps! Set aside some time either in the morning, during a break in your day or at night right before you sleep (what I do). I find keeping a consistent dedicated block of time helps me stay on track. Next, set a limit. Choose how long you want to write. If you are new, maybe set 5 minutes aside and then as you do it more, the time will extend. I find that before I know it, I’ve written for 30 minutes non-stop once I get going. If a limit doesn’t work for you, then just allow yourself to free write. Do whatever works best for you! Be open to whatever comes out and try not to hinder yourself. Your journaling is unique to YOU!! If you get stuck, try Googling some journaling prompts. Lastly, your journal is your safe space and can be as private or as public as you’d like it to be. Your journaling can be used in a multitude of ways. It can be used during therapy sessions, a guide during difficult conversations or again as a space to freely purge all thoughts.

Lastly, I will leave you with 5 journal prompts to get you started and more comfortable with writing. I’ve used these on several occasions, and I hope they help you!

  1. List what you are grateful for.
  2. Talk about your day (something to do in the evening)
  3. What do you want to improve about yourself or your life?
  4. Talk about your goals.
  5. Write a letter to your future self.

Although journaling may not be the answer to all and won’t solve all you may be struggling with, journaling for mental health is a wonderful tool to help you focus, let go of trauma, manage your emotions and to work towards your personal growth and development.

Please visit www.tacklethestruggle.org for more information surrounding mental health. You are not alone!