A dear friend of mine recently brought up journaling in conversation. It reminded me of when I journaled in high school. I would write all of the intrusive thoughts that crossed my mind. I wrote poetry when I felt like it and wrote endless sentences/brain dumped when I wanted as well. It made me happy, but I stopped for some reason.
I don’t know if it’s because I thought it felt childish, or that I felt it wasn’t helping, but one day I put my journal down and never picked it up again. Until she mentioned it. I immediately wanted to journal again. So, I went to my nearest office supply store and bought a $6.00 journal, came home, and wrote to my heart’s content.
I’ve been writing in my journal daily for about two weeks now, and here is how it’s helped my mental health.
I’ve been dealing with stress easier
In the last week, I’ve dealt with a minor falling out with my best friend. This was awful, but I coped with it until we fixed things. Typically, during these types of hiccups, I would internalize everything until it blew up in either a rage or a depressive episode. I noticed in the week of this falling out, all of my journal entries were about the situation. They were about how I was coping, what hurt, what didn’t, how I felt. Journaling almost acted like therapy for me.
I have someone-or “something” to tell all my problems to
If I’m happy, it goes in the journal. If I’m sad, into the journal it goes. Everything that crosses my mind that affects me, I write into the journal. Yes, I have people in my life, but everyone has certain things they don’t even want to tell their best friend. Those things go into the journal.
It’s become part of my morning routine
Every morning, I wake up, make a coffee, and enjoy it while I write in my journal. This gives me a great start to the day because 1) it’s a routine and routines are great for mental health, and 2) it’s a great time to do some self reflection. Often, I will write what I dreamed about, what I want to do for the day, and how I’m hoping to feel.
All seriousness aside, journaling can be fun. I fill mine with washi tape, Mildliners, and cute swirly calligraphy. Yes, it’s a place for all my secrets, feelings, and intrusive thoughts, but it’s also a place for me to be creative and enjoy myself. Sometimes it can be a sad place, but sometimes it can be filled with happiness.
There are no judgements
I can write in beautiful handwriting one day, skip a week of writing, and then word vomit in chicken scratch on another. I can swear, I can be vulgar, I can let my tears drip on the paper. No one is telling me I’m “too much” or “not enough” I can be and do whatever I want. This is huge for my mental health. I’m constantly nervous to tell people what’s on my mind in fear that they will think I’m dramatic or ridiculous. Having a place to be nonjudgmentally open is so nice.
So, what do you journal about? Do you have a bullet journal? A cheap lined notebook? Pieces of loose-leaf? If you don’t journal, why not?
Let me know in the comments, and as always:
Take care of yourself,