Here’s Why Journaling Makes You Feel Worse! {Explained}


Despite all of the known benefits of journaling for one’s mental health, journaling can have drawbacks.

Many people who begin journaling end up feeling worse about themselves than they did before they started because they do not understand how to use journals as tools for healing or resilience.

Journaling forces us to confront both our best and worst selves. It can be difficult to accept and face ourselves when confronted with an empty piece of paper that holds no judgment for our demons and angels.

Why Does Journaling Make Me Feel Worse? Here’s An Example

It’s possible that you’re focusing on the “what” rather than the “how.”

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If the majority of your journaling looks like, “He did this to me. Then she did something to me. They are so cruel to me. It makes me unhappy.” That will keep you trapped in a pit of misery.

It would make me feel terrible if I wrote my story in the same way.

See if you can shift your journaling to look like this:

“He did this to me. That made me feel unappreciated and powerless. I know I do have some power here, though. Next time that happens, I am going to try to stay in the conversation rather than shut down. I am going to point out that I have the right to disagree. He may still get mad. That is not within my control. But when he gets mad, I will leave and go see a friend. Now I’m going to go for a walk and make it a point to pay attention to the beauty around me. Tomorrow I will write some more about what role this relationship plays in my life and what I think needs to happen.”

If something similar happens again, you might freeze up, forget, or not think of your plan until later. That’s fine. Write that down, then write down what you want to do the next time, and keep going.

Because you’ve been practicing in your journal, it will eventually become a more natural response.

Now your story is, “Here’s the raw truth of what happened to me, and here’s what I did to overcome.”

That’s the power of journaling.

Sidenote: Don’t expect this change to happen overnight. Just work on making that shift.

Tell what happened, give some real thought to what feelings that brought up for you, and why.

Then consider what you would do differently to ensure that it does not happen again in the future. Try to do things that you enjoy and that bring you peace.

Read: 6 Tips on How to Stick to Journaling!

Why Does Journaling Make You Cry?


One thing journaling is good at is getting you to process things; traumas you may have suffered, negative emotions you might be sitting with, toxic people in your life, etc.

It’s normal to cry when processing these things, but it’s better to do so in the long run than to push it down and try to ignore it.

There’s probably a reason you’ve been drawn to journaling and it may help to keep that in mind as you get through the early stages. Keep trying, as least for a few weeks if you can.

That said, you may find it’s doing more harm than good to write down so many negative things.

If that’s the case and you still want to journal, it might be worth looking up prompts that get you to focus on the positive things in your life instead.

Try ending your entry with a positive comment (a quote, or something nice that happened that day or in the context of the entry). It will help balance your feelings so you finish the activity on a positive note.

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Why Do I Avoid Journaling?

Here are some of the reasons you avoid journaling:

  1. Afraid of being judged,
  2. Lack of time,
  3. Not making it a priority,
  4. Knowing that you have to face yourself,
  5. Believing that it wouldn’t be beneficial for you,
  6. You think it’s too hard or takes too much effort,
  7. The thought of journaling makes you anxious and stressed out, as if you’re going to say something stupid or that people will judge your thoughts and feelings.

Letting out emotions and words can be a painful experience because you’ve been suppressing them for so long, and now they’re all on the surface.

When people go to therapy, they often feel worse at first because they have to confront all of the feelings they have tried to suppress.

Sometimes it’s difficult to put what we’re feeling into words, but I genuinely believe that getting your thoughts down on paper and seeing them for what they are can help you understand yourself better.

There are many reasons why we avoid journaling, but it’s important to know that when you start a journal and write in it regularly, the benefits can be tremendous.

It might take time to establish a routine or find a space for your journal, but once you do this will become part of your daily life.


Journaling can be a great tool to help you process your thoughts and emotions. However, if done incorrectly or without thinking about what you are writing, journaling can make you feel worse.

When you journal, you can express all of those thoughts and feelings that are inside your head.

Journaling allows you to communicate with yourself in a way that no other form of communication does.

However, journaling isn’t for everyone, but I prefer to process and understand everything through writing, so if that’s your goal, don’t be afraid to confront yourself and just write!

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