Journaling is a powerful mental health tool that you may want to consider trying (or may already be doing!). Journaling refers to the act of using pen and paper to put words to what you think and feel. Its positive benefits—such as helping with stress, anxiety, and depression—lie in the cathartic or therapeutic process of allowing self-expression in a safe, private space.
In the past few years, using a bullet journal in lieu of a planner has boomed in popularity, particularly among adolescents. This is partly due to social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube (often found under the #bujo or #bulletjournal hashtag), where people can turn to for ideas and where to start, if not an aesthetic to hopefully achieve. They’re colorful, creative, and an opportunity for people to have their journal truly be a reflection of them.
At the beginning of March, I came across a TikTok that expressed that this account was going to do a 31 day journaling challenge with a new prompt everyday for the month. Since I have been wanting to get into journaling myself, I thought this would be a fun way to try it out.
The past month has been difficult for me with new mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and medications. Because of my new symptom of fluctuating between having very little energy or motivation and then feeling very motivated and over-confident, my health care team has assigned me the task of completing a daily mood tracker.
I feel a sense of clarity after journaling. It’s as if I’ve handed all of my anxious thoughts to the paper, taking some of the weight off of my mind. But journaling can seem daunting. How do you start? What even is journaling? I’m no expert, but I’ve been on and off journaling throughout my entire life and have recently gotten back into the groove of (somewhat) daily journaling. In this article I will tell you about the benefits of journaling and will give you some tips for starting. If you already journal, I hope this can offer some new inspiration as to how you can approach it.
I have had a complicated relationship with journaling all my life. Starting in elementary school and through early middle school, I was a pretty consistent journaler. I filled two journals within a few years, and wrote about once a week. The entries were hilarious to read back on; mostly they were just gushing over a boy I had a crush on or outlining what I did with my friend that day.
About a year and a half ago, I started a morning journal. I had no clue how to structure it, or how it even came into fruition. I do love To Do lists, so I would have small journals that would contain my daily To Do’s. From there, I have progressively grown and evolved what has now become a crucial part to my morning routine, so much that when there’s no pen on paper for that day, the day is definitely off.