How To Start A Depression Journal In 7 Easy Steps


Depression can be a difficult and overwhelming condition to manage. It can be helpful to keep track of how you are feeling or any changes in your moods to better understand and cope with your depression. This is where depression journal comes in. Depression journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings to help you process them and gain insight into your mental and emotional health. In this blog post, you will learn how to start journaling for depression. I will also discuss the importance of starting a journal for depression and provide you with journal prompts to help you get started.


What is depression?

According to The World Health Organization, an estimated 3.8% of the population experience depression, including 5% of adults (4% among men and 6% among women), and 5.7% of adults older than 60 years.


Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression. Depression is about 50% more common among women than among men.

The World Health Organization states that, worldwide, more than 10% of pregnant women and women who have just given birth experience depression.


More than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15–29-year-olds

The American Psychiatric Association defines depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act.


Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and home.

If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988, or chat




What are depression journals?

Depression journals are a type of journal specifically designed to help you track and recognize your moods, thoughts, and behaviors.

You can use them to document your experiences over time to help identify patterns in behavior or habits that could be impacting your mental health.

You may also choose to write about coping strategies for depression that work for you or any techniques you’ve learned in therapy.


How to start a depression journal

Here’s how to start journaling for depression in 7 easy steps;


Understand your triggers:

Start by identifying the situations or events that tend to trigger your depression. It could be anything from stressful work deadlines, relationship problems, or loneliness.

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Set a goal:

Once you’ve identified your triggers, set a goal for what you want to accomplish with journaling. Do you want to learn more about yourself and better manage your depression or do you have a specific goal in mind?


Choose the right journal:

Choose a journal that will work best for you. You might prefer an online diary, a physical notebook, or an app on your phone. It’s important to choose something you’ll use and feel comfortable writing in.


Find a comfortable place:

Find a place to write that makes you feel relaxed and safe. It should be quiet, with few distractions. This is important for maintaining focus and concentration.


Start writing:

Now it’s time to start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). You can start by jotting down a few things that are on your mind, or you can use journal prompts to get the ball rolling.


Use prompts:

Journal prompts can be helpful to get the creative juices flowing. You may have a set of pre-made prompts that work for you, or you can create your own. Journal prompts are meant to give you focus and help you explore your thoughts, emotions, and experiences.


Review and reflect:

When you’re done writing, take some time to review what you’ve written. Reflect on your thoughts and feelings and see if you notice any patterns or triggers that could be causing or exacerbating your depression.


What do you write in a depression journal?

When journaling for depression, it’s important to write down your thoughts and feelings. This can help you process and make sense of them.

You may also choose to write about anything that’s on your mind, such as recent events or things you’re grateful for. Here are a few journal prompts to help you get started;

  • What emotions are you feeling right now?
  • Describe a situation that made you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
  • How have you coped with difficult emotions in the past?
  • What are three things you’re grateful for today?
  • What do you need right now?
  • What do you find calming or soothing?
  • What can you do to take care of yourself?
  • What are some positive changes you can make to improve your mental health?
  • How do the people in your life help or hinder your emotional well-being?
  • What do you need to let go of?
  • What can you learn from difficult experiences?
  • Write about a time when something went wrong, but you managed to get through it.
  • What are some of your greatest strengths?
  • Describe a time when you felt proud of yourself.
  • What helps you feel connected and supported?
  • Describe how you practice self-love and self-care.
  • If there was something you could change about your life, what would it be?
  • Write about a time when you felt particularly inspired.
  • What thoughts and beliefs do you need to challenge?
  • What do your dreams tell you about yourself?
  • Describe a time when you felt at peace with yourself.
  • What are some of the things that bring joy into your life?
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Is journaling good for depression?

Yes, journaling can be a great way to cope with depression. Here are a few ways journaling can help you deal with depression;

  • Journaling can help deal with common mental disorders
  • It can help to keep track of anxiety disorders and triggers
  • You can use a depression journal to track postpartum depression
  • Most mental health services recommend journaling to help manage symptoms of depression
  • It can provide a way to express emotions, thoughts, and feelings in a safe and healthy way
  • Journaling can help you recognize patterns and work through difficult thoughts
  • It also helps to learn more about yourself, and your feelings, and how to develop better coping strategies
  • Journaling can help reduce stress, improve self-awareness, and increase emotional intelligence.
  • You can use journal trackers to track minor and major depressive disorders
  • A journal can serve as your diagnostic and statistical manual
  • It can help to monitor your moods and recognize triggers to make lifestyle changes that can improve your mental health.
  • Journaling can help relieve mental illness, mood disorders, depressive symptoms, negative feelings as well as any major depression.
  • You can also use a journal to track any exercise, medicine (antidepressant medication), and other therapy sessions that you may be attending.
  • It can help to look back over your previous entries to identify any underlying mechanisms that trigger you, possible solutions, and any new techniques you may want to try to help improve your mental health.


How to stay consistent with your depression journal

Creating and maintaining a regular journaling habit can be difficult. Here are some tips to help make your journaling practice more successful;

Set aside some time each day to focus on self-care and write in your depression journal. This can help you stay consistent with your journaling routine.

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Pick a time of day that works for you – whether it’s first thing in the morning, before bedtime, or any other time that works for you.

Start small and gradually increase the amount of time you spend writing in your journal.

Create a comfortable space to write in – one that is away from distractions and has all the materials you need within reach.


If you feel stuck, look back at your previous entries for inspiration and topics to write about.

Don’t be hard on yourself – there is no right or wrong way to journal.

Write down any ideas that come to mind, even if they seem silly or unrelated.


Be open and honest in your writing – don’t worry about censoring your thoughts or feelings.

Finally, remember that journaling is a safe and nonjudgmental way to express yourself – it can be an important part of managing depression.


 What type of journaling is best for depression?

The type of journaling that is best for managing depression depends on the individual and their needs.

Some people may find that expressive writing, which involves focusing on specific topics or life events, helps to reduce depressive symptoms.


Others might prefer to keep a mood diary with daily entries on their mental health and emotional state.

Other forms of journaling include using lists or bullet points, art journaling, and gratitude journaling.

The most important thing is to find a type of journaling that works for you. Experiment with different styles and techniques until you find the one that helps you manage your depression the best.


Bottom line

Journaling can be a powerful tool in managing depression. It can provide an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and feelings and also help to recognize patterns and triggers.

Creating a journaling habit can be difficult with dedication, it can become part of your self-care routine. Experiment with different styles and techniques until you find the one that works best for you.

When used consistently, journaling can be an important part of managing depression and improving mental health.



  • Ben

    I'm Ben, a data engineer who adores journaling. My passion for recording life experiences inspired me to develop Otto's Journal, an online diary app. Join me as I blend data and storytelling in the ever-changing tech world, making journaling more accessible and exciting.

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