If you took away the therapy and the medication, I’d have to say the one exercise that helped my mental health the most, would be journaling. The act of putting pen to paper has opened up my mind in such a healthy way, allowing me to see my actual thoughts on paper instead of letting them bounce around in my head at 100 mph. This allowed me to rationalize and find peace in overwhelming moments.
Journaling comes in many forms, but in this post I’m outlining the 5 I find most helpful. I hope you’ll find one in this list that you can enjoy!
1. Gratitude Journaling
Gratitude journaling is one of the simplest ways to bring positivity to the forefront of your mind. If you’re starting out, I recommend listing at least 5 things you’re grateful for and then reading the list out loud to yourself. I find this works best as a daily exercise because it requires you to remember even the little things that bring joy to your life. Overtime, you’ll find yourself listing more and more things and people you are thankful for. Humans so easily forget the lovely things in their lives and gratitude journaling offers the warm, comforting knowledge that you have so much going for you.
2. Bullet Journaling
Bullet journaling is, at its core, making lists in order to clear your mind. Some people choose to do this to keep their day in order, much like an agenda (which I use since, as you can see, bullet journaling isn’t my strong point). Other’s find it more comfortable to list their thoughts in short hand, rather than putting them into full sentences. Bullet journaling is all about organization. Use a color-coding system, add photos, make whatever kind of list you’d like. You’re in total control here.
3. Morning Pages
Morning pages may just be the best way to start your day, especially if you deal with morning depression or anxiety. It’s taking everything inside your brain, all your worries, thoughts, and dreams and dumping them all on the page. Even if you don’t have anything specific to say, just put pen to paper and start writing. The words will come. I recommend writing at least a page full, but feel free to write however much or little you’d like.
4. Art Journaling
Art journaling is a fun one for those of us that like to get our hands dirty. Grab some paint, pictures, glue, glitter, stickers… basically whatever you can get your hands on and start creating! Sometimes we express ourselves better in color or crafts and that’s ok. Art journaling is all about writing what you feel needs to be written and going one step further to decorate the page in a way that reflects those words. Go ahead, make a mess. Get lost in the art. Just enjoy yourself.
5. Daily Journaling
Daily journaling is and always will be my favorite. As a writer, I love to tell stories. I love to paint words onto a page and outline the details of my life and emotions. But even if you aren’t about getting down to the nitty-gritty of writing, you can still enjoy this journaling classic. I find it really helps me put things into perspective when I write everything out and read it as if a friend has written it to me. It reveals the whole story and gives me the opportunity to observe my circumstances as if I’m a third party.
Whichever form of journaling you choose, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I hope it offers you peace of mind and helps you cope with the world around us. Don’t be afraid to make it your own! Journaling isn’t about following any rules. It’s about taking a page and making it your own, doing whatever feels right to you. Best of luck to you on your journaling journey! May it bring you lots of joy.