Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

Journaling for Mental Clarity: A Complete Guide to Cope with Depression

  Jan 16, 2024
Reviewed by Ayushi Jain

Journaling for Mental Clarity

Journaling seems to be a simple hobby, but according to studies, it can help people cope with depression. 

According to a licensed clinical psychologist, Vivian Oberling, journaling is a powerful tool that helps resolve many underlying negative thoughts. 

This is because writing for mental clarity offers a safe space for people to explore and process their emotions. 

This can further impact their mood while reflecting on some significant life moments and events.  

If you are suffering from depression, you may have come across several suggestions to cope with the painful emotions. 

However, one simple way to manage this condition is by journaling about day-to-day thinking patterns. 

Wondering if noting down thoughts during severe anxiety is impactful? Well, this condition is not something that can be treated without assistance. 

So, journaling can be one medium to help sufferers deal with symptoms, particularly by blending writing techniques with medical treatment. 

What are the Advantages of Journaling for Depression?

Given below are some notable benefits of journaling for depression for better mental clarity and mental health: 

Boosting Mindfulness

When practicing mindfulness, one needs to be in a state of being in the present moment. Ideally, it is a technique quite opposite to overthinking that is difficult to overcome. 

According to various medical research, practicing, journaling can help in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms. 

It is because when you start writing about your current feelings and thoughts, it assists in trying to become mindful and happy.  

Many famous personalities across generations used journaling to record their experiences and ideas, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, Frida Kahlo, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie. 

Managing Emotions

Journaling also helps manage your emotions, according to some studies. When many negative thoughts are stored in the mind, it’s vital to start releasing them out of your head. 

One holistic method to do so is by writing them on paper. This helps change your perspective gradually, making them less haunting.

Recognizing Triggers

Journaling even helps to recognize your daily life happenings with a focus on actions, habits, and reactions. 

The more you understand what’s happening in your life, such as thoughts, behaviors, or events, the more you are likely to act in a controlled manner. 

Hence, you can even figure out the things that make you feel more depressed. In a state of confusion, the mind is clouded, and noting down daily accomplished tasks helps acknowledge and move in the right direction.  

You may sometimes notice certain patterns that often worsen your mood – 

  • After interacting with some people.
  • At specific hours of the day or night. 
  • While being involved in specific habits, such as saying yes to things you don’t want to do. 

When you begin journaling, it helps analyze things in a better way, improving your awareness of the things happening constantly. This healing technique also helps to notice the feelings you’re experiencing or any self-doubts. 

When you become aware of certain patterns while responding to specific situations, it can help to brainstorm some better coping strategies. 

In this way, the negative self-talk can be minimized, and you will start looking at the brighter side of life. 

Eliminating Triggers

According to a study, children and teens between the age group of 10 and 18 years old tend to do repetitive negative thinking. 

They mostly do so when they are in some complex situation, which can further feed negativity or anxiety symptoms. 

Here are some common triggers for them: 

When a friend doesn’t respond to their text for a few days, they may start thinking that their friend is mad at them or doesn’t like them. 

This ultimately makes them sad, and they start worrying about the loss of friendship. 

To cope with this situation, journaling can offer them an opportunity to challenge and analyze these perspectives. This helps in positively reframing their thinking patterns and starting the healing process. 

For example, you may begin with nothing about alternative reasons why a friend is not texting you. 

Then, start by scribbling the possible reasons, like maybe they are waiting until they’re in the right frame of mind. 

Or they may be overwhelmed with some other life stress or simply forget texting.  This is how a journal can give you a space for positive self-talk. 

Meanwhile, you can start writing some valuable traits that may eliminate certain triggers that can worsen depression.  

As seen in the graph below, young people were more affected by the sudden onset of the pandemic and lockdown. Now, there is a growing awareness about taking care of mental functionality by noting down thoughts to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Graph Indicating the Severe Impact of COVID-19 on Younger People.  

Pen and Paper or Digital? – Which Medium to Choose?

Does it matter to think about keeping a journal on a digital app, or traditional pen and paper? Well, it all comes down to a medium you prefer. 

Writing using pen and paper may pose some outside distractions that cannot be avoided, compared to using a digital app. 

On the other hand, an app gives enough flexibility to express yourself anytime and anywhere without any hassle. 

Plus, diary writing on an app is more convenient and faster than with a pen. 

You can look for the right digital journal as per your requirements and with security features for an extra layer of privacy. 


After reading about the advantages of noting down thoughts for combating depression, we hope you have become aware of how expressive it can make you deal with any mental condition. 

Just give journaling a try, and you’ll realize why we’re emphasizing the impact of keeping a journal.