I’ve got a big arsenal of tools to help me keep my mental health on track and one of these important tools is journaling. I’ve found that journaling helps me in so many ways. If you are looking for a way to overcome that feeling of overwhelm, to process your thoughts and help to relieve stress I highly recommend making journaling part of your daily routine. You may have no idea what to do or how to get started with journaling, or perhaps you have no idea what to expect from journaling. Keep on reading and I will cover what I’ve learned so far about the process of journaling.
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What Is Journaling
Journaling is very simply the process of putting our thoughts, feelings and experiences down on paper. There are no rules when it comes to journaling since it is a very personal experience.
There are two things that I like to stick to for myself. I journal every day and I always do it by hand and not on my phone or computer. Writing by hand is very different and I feel it gives me a better understanding of myself and my feelings.
Journaling Helps To Process and Feelings
As an addict in recovery with bipolar disorder I struggle with identifying my feelings and processing my feelings in a healthy way. Journaling helps me to identify what I am feeling and why. It helps me to identify what my triggers are and process everything that I am going through.
I’ve journaled about the traumatic things that have happened in my life (both in journals and I’ve shared a lot on my blogs) and it is very therapeutic. A 2005 study has found that their are emotional and physical benefits to expressive writing.
Journaling Helps To Relieve Stress
Journaling provides an outlet for feelings and that process can help to relieve stress. Very often when I have a problem or something that is bothering me I find a solution or closure while journaling or shortly after. Things often seem to just fall into place.
Journaling Can Boost Your Self-esteem and Happiness
While sometimes I journal because I am upset or something is bothering me, there are a lot of positive things I journal about. When I achieve my goals I love ticking them off, I also love writing gratitude lists and positive affirmations.
I also go back over my day and write about things I have done well, sometimes about things I can do better but I focus on progress not perfection.
Journaling Helps To Prevent Overwhelm
There are times when there is so much going on in my life that I get completely overwhelmed. I find that journaling helps get everything out of my head and onto a piece of paper where I can break everything down and get it under control in smaller to do lists.
I did a live video with Alison Deary from The Papery on How To Get Organized and Stay Organized and she shared some amazing tips on how to overcome that overwhelmed feeling. We will also be doing another live video on 21 May 2021 on bullet journaling which I am really looking forward to!
You can check what live videos are coming up next on this page.
Different Ways Of Journaling
There are so many different ways to go about journaling and I make use of a number of ways of journaling. If you have never done journaling before then I advise you take a read through some of the ways you can journal and find one that interests you to get you started. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to go about journaling, this is your personal journey and not for anyone else. Find what works for you and tweak it as you go along.
I have a number of different journals that I use on a daily basis and I love buying beautiful journals in different shapes and sizes to suit my needs. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the competition to win some beautiful journals from The Papery.
With free writing there are no rules and your only goal is to fill pages no matter what you write on them. You can set an amount of pages you want to write each day or you can set the clock for a certain amount of time that you need to write, for example 10 minutes.
You must write and keep writing until your pages are filled or the timer goes off. This is like a brain dump, whatever is in your brain gets dumped on the page.
Morning pages is like free writing but you do it in the morning when your mind is clear and you have the most energy before your day starts. It is great to set a certain amount of pages to write each morning,
A reflection journal is best done at the end of the day, for example just before you go to bed. It is about reflecting on what has happened during the day, to analyze events and experiences.
You can use this journal to write about your goals that you have achieved.
I personally use a reflection journal every day like a daily mini Step 10 from the 12 Step program. It is where I look at what I have done well for the day, what I could have done better and if there is anyone that I need to make amends to. Being in recovery from addiction means that I need to constantly check my behaviour, thought patterns and feelings and this is a great way for me to do that.
I love writing lists and I write all sorts of things down, from gratitude lists, to series that I’m watching (I need to keep track of them all and where I’ve watched to) and the books I’m reading. I write to do lists, ideas for snacks and lunchboxes, places I would love to travel to, restaurants I want to try out and hiking trails I want to do. I make self care idea lists, lists of positive affirmations and so many more things.
There are endless things to list down and for some reason making lists makes me happy.
Dream journaling is a fantastic way to journal. As soon as you wake up write down everything you can remember about your dream before you forget it, which is bound to happen as the day goes on.
It is amazing how much of an impact our dreams may have on our day, in a negative or a positive way. When you start dream journaling this can become very clear to you.
You may start to see patterns or dreams that reoccur, then you can start analyzing your dreams and their meaning. Remember that your dreams is your subconscious mind working through things.
This helps you to explore your subconscious and boost your creativity.
I’m a huge fan of bullet journaling, it involves simplifying things and using bullet points with a few words instead of complete sentences. Bullet journaling can be simple or it can be much more complicated and exciting.
As mentioned above I will be doing a live video with Alison Deary on Bullet Journaling on 21 May 2021 – so if you are into journaling and planning watch out for that!
Journaling can help you to plan your day by making a list of goals and tasks for the day. I use a refillable yearly planner and every morning I write out my daily to do list for work, kids, household and personal using bullet points.
I’m not a very arty person and I am not very creative in that way but there are so many people that love art journaling. My cousin Caylee is a huge fan of art journaling and has an amazing business around art journaling called Get Messy Art – you can check her out on Instagram for some stunning inspiration.
The Unsent Letter
This is a powerful tool to use and something most people have to do when they are in rehab for addiction. Many of us have unresolved emotions whether it be from someone we have lost to death or a relationship that has ended badly.
Writing a letter that we do not intend to send to that person to express how we are feeling, or to apologize can be very healing and therapeutic.
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