A journal can be whatever you want it to be. For some people, it’s a record of each day. For others, it’s a creative outlet. For others, it’s a way to manage their mental wellness. Journaling for mental wellness has gained a lot of focus over recent years (especially since the pandemic). If you’re thinking of trying it, here are three points to consider.
Journal on paper
You can journal electronically if you really want to. It is, however, a good idea at least to try paper journaling. Many people find it a very different experience from journaling electronically and a better one for mental wellness.
Apart from anything else, journaling on paper, by definition, takes you away from screens. It can also help to force you to slow down. Even if you’re a slow typist, using a keyboard is still often much quicker than writing. That’s fine if you just need to get a job done but sometimes there’s a case for going slowly and mindfully.
Journaling on paper also provides a high degree of privacy and security compared to journaling electronically. You don’t have to deal with tech fails or cybersecurity issues. There’s also less danger of you accidentally publishing something you meant to keep private.
Balance structure with freedom
Even though the names are similar, bullet journaling and regular journaling are different. You can, however, draw inspiration from bullet journaling. In particular, you could look at its balance of structure and flexibility as a guide for your journaling. For example, you might want to include prompts and trackers alongside blank space for you to use as you wish.
You can also keep a “temporary” journal as well as a proper one. Your temporary journal can essentially be your “catch-all” for whatever thoughts you want to record. This can literally mean anything from basic to-dos to your thoughts on the Yelp extortion issue. You would then distill these down into your proper journal.
This approach is particularly useful when you’re still figuring out what you want from your journal. Even once you do have an established journaling process, it can still be handy to have an “overflow” notebook.
Push your creative boundaries
As previously mentioned, your journal can and should be whatever you want it to be. If, however, you’re journaling for mental wellness, then you may find it very helpful to push your creative boundaries. At the very least, it’s worth trying and seeing how you feel about it.
Pushing your creative boundaries will mean different things to different people. Basically, it will depend on where your starting point is. If you’ve never considered yourself to be creative then you might want to start with the likes of stickers and stamps and doodles. If you are more artistic, then use your journal to try out new techniques.
Regardless of your previous artistic experience (if any), you might want to try exploring neurographics. This is a technique for drawing out your inner feelings and expressing them on paper where you can address them. Many people find it very soothing and relaxing.