Morning pages, gratitude journal: This is how writing can help your mental health


Regular writing or journaling promotes self-reflection and a deeper sense of self-awareness
Regular writing or journaling promotes self-reflection and a deeper sense of self-awareness

Journaling is an act of self-care

By Delna Mistry Anand

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 5:25 PM

Way back when I was just a teenager, trying to fit into a new environment, with no easy access to life coaches or self-help guides, I did the best thing ever. I bought a brand-new diary, personalised the cover with stickers and quotes, and started writing things down. And if I didn’t have my diary on hand, I would take anything – a paper napkin, used envelopes, and scribble away. It brought me immense comfort.

The coming years brought their fair share of adversity in my life. Faced with uncertainty and loss, I knew the one place I could pour my heart out was in my diary. Writing allowed me to fully experience all that I was going through, the ebbs and flows. And it became an important part of my emotional growth.

Writing things down is an act of self-care. It’s like opening the door to your heart to peep in and allowing yourself to sit with it all. It helps build resilience because it allows you to process, comprehend and release some of the most complex parts of life. It is also a way to document what’s happening around you as it unfolds in your life. And when you are ready to start the proverbial new chapter, just turn a fresh page over and write.

Regular writing or journaling promotes self-reflection and a deeper sense of self-awareness. It enhances emotional regulation, improves problem-solving abilities, and also boosts creativity.

Here are two of the most powerful writing exercises you can try today, even if you have never explored the beautiful world of journaling:

1. The Morning Pages:

This isn’t just an exercise but a beautiful, simple yet powerful form of journal meditation: one of my most favourite methods, the ‘Morning Pages’ is a concept described in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. Very often, I ask clients who do not like to sit still and meditate, to use this method. It is simply writing three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning (30-40 minutes from the time you wake up). There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. You need not bother about writing anything beautiful, creative, or even grammatically correct, you just write about whatever crosses your mind at that moment. Keep your Morning Pages private, as you are literally just emptying out your thoughts before you take on the day. Morning Pages promote clarity, comfort, and help you synchronise the day. Do not overthink it: just put three pages of anything on the page... and then do three more pages the next morning. Remember this: it's not about what you write, it's how often you write.

Some prompts to get you started:

- Today I feel…

- What I really wanted to say was…

- Write about an embarrassing moment...

- The questions I am living with...

2. Gratitude Journal:

Gratitude is a secret sauce to help you attract abundance in life. Too often we focus on what we lack, as it’s so easy to point out. Gratitude is a way of looking at what is abundant and good in our lives, so point that out instead and set the wheel of abundance in motion. Gratitude creates positive manifestation because it changes our mindset by merely focusing on the things we are grateful for in our lives. This is a very powerful abundance message to send to your subconscious mind.

There are several more creative writing exercises you can explore, do what vibrates with your energy. The key is to be consistent.

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