There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that journaling is good for our mental wellbeing.
While you’re safe at home, a daily diary or a gratitude journal to record details of your day-to-day life during the coronavirus can help your brain process your thoughts and emotions, leaving you feeling happier, calmer and more in control.
You could make the most of this difficult time and start a mood diary.
How does it work?
Many different things can affect your mood right now, such as uncertainty over the future, adapting to working from home, taking on new responsibilities and restrictions on what we can do and where we can go.
Keeping a mood diary allows you to track and understand how certain events, situations and interactions make you feel. The good and the bad. By keeping track of the context of your ups and downs, over time you'll build up a clear picture of what affects your mood and how.
Being aware of the specific scenarios that have a negative impact on your mood means you can take extra care of yourself in those difficult times.
In the same way, you can boost your mood by being aware of what makes you feel more positive. This is especially important now, when so much of what we’re experiencing is beyond our control.
Make the connection
A mood diary is especially useful if you've felt out of sorts for a while but can't put your finger on why. The coronavirus is a reason why you might feel a certain way. But sometimes there isn't an obvious reason or it could be something else. And that can also be scary. You may find yourself wondering whether you'll feel like this forever. Keeping a mood diary will help you to notice patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, which you can then address.
Evidence suggests that one of the main reasons mood diaries have such a positive impact on our mental wellbeing is the sense of empowerment and control they can bring. During periods of low mental wellbeing it can feel as though our mind is not our own. We don't recognise our own thoughts and feelings. Trying to understand our emotions is the first step towards managing them. Identifying our triggers gives us control of our own mental wellbeing and helps us to understand that we’re not going to feel a certain way forever.
There are plenty of mood diaries available online, where you can record and track your emotions on the go. But you can also create your own using pen and paper. You could make notes and observations throughout the day. Or you could set aside time each evening to reflect on the day's events as you wind down ready for bed. Whatever works best for you.
Here are a few web-based mood diaries, recommended by the mental health charity, Mind, to get you started.
Making sense of it all
Talking things through with someone we trust can also help us make sense of our thoughts and feelings and see situations more clearly.
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