A Wellness Journal is a simple tool which contains coping strategy used by individuals who suffer from depression, bipolar, or other mood disorders to help keep themselves healthy. It contains about twenty different sections that are created when you are in a good mood so that you can use it to prevent or get out of depression. It is a tool that does not replace medication or counseling, but augments existing treatments.
A good Wellness Journal is like creating a savings account. When you are feeling well you contribute to your journal. Then when you are down, or are seeing warning signs that you may be entering a down you make a withdrawal from your journal. However unlike a financial savings account, a withdrawal from this account does not reduce your savings. One entry can be withdrawn hundreds of times.
A Wellness Journal is powerful and proactive yet it is simple enough that anyone can do it. Even people without depression can create and benefit from Wellness Journals and most people can see how they are beneficial. Some of the individual parts of the Journal have been well researched to yield positive results, others I have learned about through speaking to other therapists, or through firsthand experience. A wellness Journal is a constantly evolving tool, which is unique to the individual, and addresses his or her personal challenges.
I encourage my clients to create wellness journals because I want to encourage self-reliance. I want people to have the tools necessary to succeed without me. I don’t want them to need me when they are in a crisis. I don’t want to be their therapist forever. I want to give individuals tools that help them move on with their life.
Wellness journals are not time consuming, and can be integrated into your daily life with ease. If working on it by yourself, you can spend as little as five minutes a day writing in it. If working with a counselor you can spend part of your session each week working on it, in addition to the time spent on your own. Poor reading or writing skills, penmanship, concentration, or finances are not barriers to creating an effective and valued wellness journal.
When loved ones see your consistent dedication to working on your wellness journal they often recognize your efforts and become reinvigorated in supporting you in your journey towards wellness. Therefore I recommend that people don’t keep the journal hidden from their loved ones. It is not something that needs to be hidden from prying eyes, as it contains only positive things. If someone were to happen upon it they would find nothing that would embarrass you. My children regularly read my Wellness Journal and comment when I am not following through with things, such as my Wellness Plan.
It is so simple, but so powerful. In my journey towards wellness my Journal has been an integral part of keeping myself healthy.