Depression is a serious mental health condition that impacts one in twenty people in India. Depression can often make people feel lonely, making it difficult for them to open up to the people around them. While medication and therapy play a crucial role in treatment, expressing your feelings through diary writing can be a helpful, complementary tool to deal with depression as well. Research suggests that writing a diary or journaling can help reduce feelings of depression. Apart from this, journaling can be beneficial for someone with depression in multiple ways. Some of them are:

  • Increasing Self-Awareness

Depression can often be overwhelming, making it difficult for people to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings. Having a diary or journal allows you to put your thoughts on paper. When you write your thoughts and feelings, it can help you see what is going on within your mind. It may also help you uncover some thoughts or feelings that you weren’t previously aware of. Identifying your thoughts and emotions can help you cope with them better.

  • Provides a safe space

When someone is depressed, they might find it difficult to share their feelings and experiences with others around them. In such situations, keeping a diary can act like a safe space. Journaling can give you the freedom to express your thoughts and feelings without fear of being judged. Putting overwhelming feelings into words may also give you a sense of control over them.

  • Helps in noticing triggers

Triggers can be experiences, people, places, sounds, etc. that aggravate the symptoms of depression. Triggers can be different for everyone, but people can sometimes be unaware of them. Keeping a journal can be effective in identifying your triggers, which can help you develop coping strategies to manage them.

  • Allows observation

Journaling allows you to put your thoughts on paper, allowing you to become an observer of your thoughts and emotions. It also allows you to organize your thoughts. Organizing and observing thoughts and feelings can help you reflect on and make sense of them. It may also help you recognize repetitive patterns of thinking or behaviours that contribute to symptoms of depression.

  • Keeping Track of Progress

When someone is experiencing depression, it can be hard for them to look at positive aspects of life or keep track of any progress they might be making. Journaling can help you track your achievements and positive moments, serving as a record for personal growth. When you see yourself taking steps towards progress, it can serve as a powerful source of motivation.

How to start journaling or diary writing?

One of the advantages of journaling is that it doesn’t require a lot of resources, and you can start with it immediately. Here are a few tips to start with journaling:

  1. Start with writing for a short duration and keep increasing as you feel comfortable. 
  2. Set aside time every day to journal. It is generally advisable to journal at night, as it allows you to empty your mind before going to bed.
  3. Pick a safe place to write. Journaling with many people around might raise concerns over privacy.
  4. Write without judgment. Remember, there are no right or wrong thoughts and feelings. The journal is a space for you to express yourself freely.
  5. Write about different aspects or topics of your life so that you don’t feel stuck or overwhelmed by difficult feelings. 
  6. Be consistent to experience the best results. You can choose to journal on 3–4 days of the week, but being regular is helpful in the long run.


In difficult times of depression, diary writing can indeed be an effective tool to express yourself freely.  However, it is also important to acknowledge that journaling can only be a part of the treatment process and that it cannot act as a substitute for therapy or medical interventions.

Want to learn more ways of coping with depression? Read our article on Grounding Techniques For Depression


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  3. Krpan, K. M., Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Deldin, P. J., Askren, M. K., & Jonides, J. (2013). An everyday activity as a treatment for depression: The benefits of expressive writing for people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150(3), 1148.
  4. LPC-C, H. V. H., MCMHC. (2023, April 19). Journaling for Depression: How Writing Can Help. Day One | Your Journal for Life.
  5. Robinson, K. M. (n.d.). How Writing in a Journal Helps Depression. WebMD. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from


Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin