It’s hard to think of a group of friends without one or two which struggle with depression. Mental illness and emotional difficulties are on the rise and most of us can identify with having had challenges in this area.

There are many, many ways to try to target mental illness but more often than not people jump into medication before they have tried alternative options. Medication isn’t always bad, but it is important to try to use other ways to help with your emotional problems which don’t involve popping a pill.

One of the best ways to work through emotional challenges in your life is to get open a notebook and write. I have used writing to cope with all of the most difficult times in my life and I can honestly say, I don’t know how I would have done it without this tool to help me process.

How about you try writing as your medicine?

Get it off your chest

Often we have difficulty thinking clearly. This may be because many, many thoughts are leaping around our minds and we can’t process them. When you get out a notebook and write down your thoughts it is far, far easier to objectively look at and process them, one at a time. You can even see, at this stage, what is a rational thought and what is not a rational thought. Try to do this every time you feel overwhelmed and as if you are not able to deal with all the crazy stuff going on inside your mind.

Keep a journal

Keeping a journal can sometimes feel like a teenage girl – ‘Dear diary, today I did this and then I did this’. However, keeping a journal is something which many therapists recommend. Not only does this create discipline and structure in your life but it gives you a constant place to feel safe and release your emotions. While you may not notice the difference this makes immediately, over time you will sense accomplishment and a sense of freedom from the regular release.

Don’t edit, just write

When you are writing for you, you don’t need to edit. The purpose of your writing is for you to be free and allow yourself to express what is going on. Nobody needs to read it (at this stage) and the editing process will only slow you down. Let it go, use the words you want to use, be honest, vent and describe your feelings in detail. It’s okay.

Make a list

The human mind feels satisfied when it has deadlines, objectives and accomplishments. There is nothing that makes you feel more accomplished than crossing some items off a list. Think about it, this even helps you when you are out doing the grocery shopping! If you are struggling to focus in your day and feeling sad or depressed is making you opt out of life, don’t let the struggle win. Sit down and create a list of all the things which you are grateful for in your life (this will help immediately) and then create a list of all the things which you plan to accomplish that day.

Write a letter

Often our depression is linked to an event in which we were hurt and offended. Feeling sad in this case is normal and writing a letter can be a great way to process these feelings. You don’t have to give the person this letter, however just getting it out will help you with how you feel. Many times we need to get it out and then write a letter to forgive the person on the other end and allow ourselves to be freed in the process.

Remember whatever you are dealing with, even though it feels very consuming and overwhelming is just for a season and will go away. No matter what the difficulty, you can always pray and ask God for help. He loves you and will be there with you through the challenging time. He offers us peace when we are tired and hurt and he will never leave you stranded in a situation alone.

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