Happiness Is Healthiness: How A Happy Journal Can Help Anxiety and Depression

Happiness is healthiness!! This statement speaks volumes of truth in so many aspects. We often forget that we have more than just physical health; what about the mental and emotional health? When you truly discover how the three all affect you and how they rely on one another you can begin to truly heal. Our emotions and stresses can cause us to become ill. A lot of people struggle with depression and are placed on medication, but I’m sorry to say there is no such thing as a happy pill. So what is there to do about it?

You have to find your happiness, and when you can’t find it you have to create it. When I was a teenager I was diagnosed with manic depression and severe anxiety, and thus began the search for the right medication for me. Through trial and error, I realized all the medicine ever did was mask the signs and symptoms. I didn’t feel ANYTHING. I didn’t like this so I stopped all medications and sessions.

It was in my early 20s that I was talking to a good friend of mine about these experiences and how I still struggled with the depression and anxiety. It was there at my kitchen table that she recommended something that seemed so silly, but I tried it and it worked. It started with a happy list. My friend thought that maybe I was dwelling too much on the negatives and not enough on the positives, erasing any happiness from my existence. I took her advice, as silly as it seemed to me, and within a month I had a small notebook filled with happiness.

Many times people who are dealing with stress and depression have too easy of a time dwelling or thinking about the negatives, which causes a deeper depression. A happy journal is something there to be a reminder of all the positives that occurred in their day-to-day life. When I started drifting back towards the sad or frustrating thoughts, I would pull out the book and read it, taking in all of the good. This was a reminder that there is happiness in me always.

Eventually you will realize you no longer need the notebook. The notebook is just the stepping stone of guidance to help you discover the way to happiness. It will ultimately help you see the lighter side of life and open your heart to happiness. Your thoughts have an effect on your emotions and your thoughts and emotions have an effect on your health. Happiness is healthiness.

Here’s What You Do

1: Get a small notebook and pen that could fit into your pocket or purse and carry it with you everywhere you go.  If youre not a “paper and pen” type, use a note program on your phone! You can set a goal of how long you will keep a happy journal. I recommend giving it a couple of weeks.

2: When you notice you’re smiling or laughing about something, take a second to note what it was.

3: When you feel happiness about things, no matter how small, write them down.

At the end of each day look through your list, and let the memories of the day replay through your mind and heart. There will often be times that you notice the same things written down repetitively, and that’s just fine. You don’t have to stop when your goal is reached if you don’t want to. Some people find this is something they want to incorporate into their daily life on a regular basis.

Here’s How It Works

Using the notebook will help rewire or retrain your brain in a few different ways. You will notice when the depressing thoughts and memories arise that you have an easier time transitioning away from the negative on to something more positive. You will find yourself searching for the good in your life, instead of constantly reflecting on the negative. I personally noticed how I began automatically searching for what was good and positive throughout my day instead of waiting for something bad.

This method helped me through depression and anxiety without the use of medications. My stress levels are down. The sadness in my life has not gone away; I will not let it because you must have a balance in life.  But, I no longer need a happy list or journal to remind me of all the things I am happy for.

It is healthy to feel and experience all of your emotions, as well as express them. It is, however, not healthy to always feel angry or sad. We have such a range of emotions, and just as with anything, too much of them can have a negative effect. Go out and find your happiness and let it heal you.

Photo Credit: "Journals" by Barry Silver is licensed under CC BY 2.0