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Writing things down

Writing things down, by using a journal or a diary, can help you to defuse a situation that you have kept inside you. For some people, they use journals as a way of sharing difficult feels, expressing words that they would not be able to say out loud. Others use journals to track their mental health, highlighting the good days and the bad so that they learn more about themselves and their mental health. 

Sometimes people use paper journals, or others use blogs or their social media to let it out. There are many websites that can give you advice on how to journal including the University of Rochester. The blog Journaling for Mindfulness also includes over 40 prompts to help you start journaling.


What young people have told us:

'I enjoy reflecting but often jump too quickly from one thought to another. Writing things down helped me to arrange my thoughts, and now I can go back and reflect on those thoughts.'

'I got what I needed to get out of my system.'

'Definitely try this, even if it is just a scribble it is a way of just releasing your emotions.'

'Don't feel that you have to write loads. At the same time don't think anything isn't worth noting, just write.'

'It helps me when reflecting whether I was overreacting or not.'

'It's good to let it off your chest when you have no one to talk to.'

'My best advice would to be just pick up a pen and start writing. Don't think about anything specifically just let your thoughts pour out onto the page. No one needs to see it, it can just be a mess of words but it helps a lot to just get it out of your head and sort out how you are feeling.'

'It did, I got to express myself in a way I don't think I could have out loud. I realised how little I knew about my real self and I might still be learning but I'm glad I am.'

'I feel renewed every time I finish writing and the fact I can reflect on it just makes it more bearable.'

'I was able to get everything off my chest and out of my mind! I love free flow writing, its always a surprise when you read it back!'


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.