How A Journal Helps Me – Journaling for Mental Health
I can remember when I started journaling. I was 15 years old, the beginning of grade 10, and my first journal was an orange Hilroy lined exercise notebook. Pretty much the same ones I currently buy for my kids now. Some things do not change. My journaling routine was to write in the book before bed. I would basically write about my day. I would date it on the left side just like I would my school notes but I didn’t write ‘Dear Diary’ or ‘Dear Journal’ at all. I would just start writing. It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood (mid-twenties) that I realized by rereading entries what my journals actually were to me. My journal was my way to express my feelings, document my day and story and where I worked out a lot of my issues and a place to encourage myself. At the end of each entry I would end with a mantra (I didn’t know at the time that was what it was but it felt right to do) – Bonnie you are strong and intelligent and you deserve goodness in this world.
*Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and if you click on a link and do decide to purchase something I make a very small commission. You can read my full Disclosure Policy Here.*
Here is How a Journal Helps Me – Journaling for my Mental Health
Recognize Negative Thought Patterns
When reading back through your entries look for patterns. Is there anything that you repeat? They could be words, thoughts, feelings? For example – while in university I realized a constant pattern of frustration when it came to balancing school work and life. This frustration was leading to a feeling of unhappiness. Once I consciously said to myself, ok, I’m unhappy with the current state of balance in my life, I journaled about how I could create more balance and maybe what it would look like. I decided to open up and start volunteering for those activities that I had always felt connected and enjoyed. I began coaching softball and bowling for kids as well as volunteering at the local museum.
Clarify Your Thinking
This one can apply to your personal life or in your business. When you want to make a clear plan for something I find when I write it down it gives me clarity of focus. It can help you stay on track and motivate you towards your goal. I noticed that once I started journaling as a 15-year-old and kept going with it I developed what I called my ‘five-year plan’. As an adult, I wanted more so I bought Write it Down Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser (that was about 18 years ago now) There are probably newer books out now that help with the same thing. I believe this type of system works for me because of physical writing down what I want I have announced it to the universe somehow, the action itself helps cement it in my mind, I look back on it and I’m reminded of what I what so I can stay the course or reflect and make the necessary changes.
Can Help You Relax
After I’m done journaling I feel relaxed and calm. Especially when I do my gratitude journaling. Here is a post I have done in the past about developing a gratitude practice.
How does that work? Well, sometimes if we write things out we can discover our roadblocks and then make a plan for dealing with those roadblocks. When our minds are clear from toxic negativity it is more open to create and blossom.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. No special equipment (I started with that old orange Hilroy notebook) is needed. Just find a comfortable place and set a time and let the words flow.
CEO of Everything in my life