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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can keeping a journal help with my depression?

    I have recently been struggling from loneliness due to a recent break up with a boyfriend and living far away from home. Some of my friends suggest that I write down my thoughts as it can be a good way to share feelings privately and not keep them bottled up inside. Can this really help? I’m feeling lonely and depressed.
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    Karen Adler

    Arts Therapist

    I am a Transpersonal Art Therapist, an artist, writer, curator and researcher. I am a firm believer in the inherent healing qualities of the Arts. … View Profile

    Journalling can be immensely helpful in dealing with depression and loneliness. Depression quite often makes us believe that nothing changes, that how we feel now will be how we feel forever and that we are totally hopeless, helpless and powerless in the grip of our emotions. Writing externalises the normal and natural pain we feel at the loss of love and also gives us tangible, daily proof that our feelings change, that they pass and have a pattern to them. Journalling increases our sense of connection with ourselves which is hugely important when we’ve lost someone we love, enhances mindfulness and self-awareness - all valuable tools in dealing with life.

  • 2

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    I'm passionate about helping families, couples and individuals with the pressure of life, no matter where the difficulties originate. In therapy we find the source … View Profile

    Yes, having a journal is a very, very positive way to get out, especially negative emotions, but also to journal good things. Quite often, I recommend that a person keep a journal for a number of reasons. One, as you've mentioned, to record private thoughts and emotions that maybe you're not prepared to share with anyone, so that gives you a way to express these emotions and feelings in a really, totally safe environment. As you become more comfortable with looking at what you've written down, you can then share parts of it or all of it with either your counselor or a trusted
    friend or family member. But quite often, unprocessed emotions, especially negative feelings, do lead to some forms of depression.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Writing as somebody who is in remission from depression, I think that journalling is an excellent idea. For me, it gives me a sense of objectivity about my thoughts and feelings.

    Privacy/security issues are important though. In my case, my journal is a Word document protected by a strong (10 character) password on this laptop. Gaining access to my laptop needs knowing a different strong password.

    That means that I can journal whatever I need to, knowing that nobody else can read what what I have written without my express permission.

  • Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    Hi,

    As a writer and counsellor myself, I certainly would encourage the use of writing as a healing practice. However, as we are all different and all individuals we cannot say for sure whether something is going to ‘work’ or not in assisting healing from feelings of loneliness and other feelings related to your situation.

    However journalling or writing is pretty safe to experiment with, and has been shown in several studies to help. There are some specific tips that can be followed with therapeutic writing, including making writing sessions time limited, so setting your timer on about 20 minutes and then writing until it goes off allowing yourself the freedom to fully let go and explore all of your feelings, emotions and thoughts on the issues.

    This is one method that has been quite well researched, and there's more detail available if you would like it. Otherwise generally keeping a mood diary and adding a daily gratitude practice (writing three things you are grateful for) to the mood diary can also be of help.

    Good luck.

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    Hello, Yes, I agree with the above answers. Journalling can be a good tool to assist you in managing/healing from depression. I am also a writer and getting things out on the page can be very therapeutic. However, I would recommend that you do other things as well, such as seek professional help, eat well and exercise regularly, make sure you get enough protein in your diet and find things that you enjoy doing. Try to connect with family/friends and other supports. Good luck!

  • 2

    Thanks

    Lucinda Curran

    Acupuncturist

    Lucinda Curran of Eco Health Solutions offers a truly holistic approach to health by combining Building Biology and Chinese Medicine. Her work is solutions-focussed and … View Profile

    Hi!

    That is a tough place to be.

    Writing down your feelings into a journal is an incredibly powerful tool and one that you can use to not only help you recognise the core of what you are feeling and thinking, but also to make positive changes.

    I find it helpful to use one page of your journal to record whatever comes up, and the other side to reflect on what you have written and draw out the positives.

    Please also make sure that you reach out to your family and friends, no matter how far away they are - reconnect with them.

    Wishing you well.

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