Although many will consider random bouts of sadness to be depression, there is a difference between the fleeting feelings and the clinical disorder. With varying degrees of depression, it is important to get a proper diagnosis. Depression can be caused by anything from an internal chemical imbalance to environmental factors. Women are more susceptible to depression during menopause due to hormonal imbalance.
Keeping a journal is a reflective and therapeutic tool that can help one to ease and manage the symptoms of depression. The following are steps to get your depression journal started.
Identify Your Feelings
A journal is the perfect outlet to express your feelings. Begin your journal by identifying what you are feeling, and the probable causes that got you there. Reflect back on the past few days or weeks, recalling anything and everything that happened in your life. Reflection can provide useful insight and allow you to learn from the past. Take time to examine your thoughts as you put the pen to paper. Don't be afraid to put it all in your journal.
Be Honest with Yourself
Keeping a journal can have a positive effect on mental health. It allows you to have a conversation with yourself that you are able to read and re-read as many times as needed. Be brutally honest with yourself in your journal, and include everything from disappointments to accomplishments. Write about how certain situations or people affected how you felt/are feeling.
Focus on Positive Reinforcement
You are your biggest hero, and your strongest advocate. If you believe you can overcome something, there is never going to be anyone or anything that can stop you. At the end of each journal entry, write down three things you are grateful for, or three positive encouragements. Depression is all-consumed by negativity, and it's the barrier that needs to be brought down. By putting positivity into words on paper, you are focusing on the good and reiterating it to yourself.
Self-reflection and improvement takes time, and there is no saying how long. Don't be hard on yourself and don't expect success overnight. The purpose of journaling is to learn from the journey in order to heal. Commit yourself to writing on a regular basis, even if it's just for five minutes a day. It is easier to recall feelings when they are fresh, and not a week later when their intensity has passed.
While there are many lifestyle tips to manage depression, oftentimes the most successful solutions are therapy and pharmaceutical treatment. Give journaling a try to learn more about yourself and why you are feeling a certain way. Journaling can offer a peaceful time of reflection and self-growth. Also, find different treatments for depression.
- Depression Toolkit. (2014). Jornaling. Retrieved February 11, 2015, from http://www.depressiontoolkit.org/takecare/journaling.asp
- National Institutes of Mental Health. (n.d).What is Depression? Retrieved February 11, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml