How Journaling Can Save Your Mental Health

5 min read


My senior year of high school was rough. I took all college classes including AP and Dual Credit. On top of that, halfway through senior year I was shocked to see 2 random science classes that popped up on my spring schedule. It turned out that my advisor forgot to verify I needed another science credit to graduate!

In total, I took 9 college classes.

Meanwhile, being an overachiever that I am, I had 3 honor societies and 3 leadership positions under my belt. Did I mention I was a martial artist as well?

Obviously after a few months the bubbling madness of stress took a toll on my mental health.

School can be stressful. That’s why its crucial to take a step back and reassess yourself daily.

Journaling is a powerful tool that can help cope with the stresses accompanied with your daily grind.

Journaling is actually proven to help manage your anxiety, guard against depression, and lower stress. (source: University of Rochester Medical Center) Why?

  • Journaling is a way of active thinking about your own problems, fears, and worries. You will be able to rationally talk to yourself and view your conflicts on paper.
  • Journaling can track things that make you worry or upset in order to come up with better solutions to handle them.
  • Journaling helps you talk to yourself like a friend to put issues into perspective.

source: (source: University of Rochester Medical Center)

The University of Rochester Medical Center reminds students that journaling is only one puzzle piece in building a happy and healthy lifestyle.

They highly recommend these essential practices:

They emphasize using a journal to track these necessary healthy habits everyday. (tip: a bullet journal can help you track these habits)

What is the most beneficial way for me to journal?

1. Write daily.

It is important to write daily. Set aside a time and place to write.

For example, I personally write in my bed when I wake up in the morning in a prayer journal and practice thankfulness (all of us have so much to be thankful for).

I even write at night in my bed before I go to sleep to think about things that happened in the day. I reflect on what excited me or events and occurrences that stood out that day.

2. Write everything.

Don’t think about making spelling mistakes or if your handwriting is nearly illegible. This journal is only for you.

Write everything that is bothering you. Write everything you are thinking about. Write everything that you want to.

Writing all your fears and worries down on a physical piece of paper is when the power of journaling creates a healthy state of mind.

Journaling is a physical reality of emptying your mind of toxic thoughts and putting them away in another location away from your brain.

3. Relax.

Journaling shouldn’t be stressful and should be one of your favorite parts of the day.

It is a time for you to relax and reflect. Journaling is a way of self-care.

I suggest drinking a hot cup of your favorite tea while sitting in a quiet space in your room. Surround yourself with candles, plant friends, or anything that relaxes you.

What is your favorite way of journaling?


3 Quick Secrets on Starting Your Journal

5 min read

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I tested and approved of. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that are no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thanks.


How can I start my own journal?

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind

Natalie Goldberg ( author of Zen Living, Writing and Eating)

1. What is my goal through journaling ?

Having a purpose for your journal can lead you in the right direction and look back to see if you grew and met your goals.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my journal for mental health, productivity, or to express my feelings in a positive and healthy way?
  • How do I express my thoughts? Do I enjoy writing them? drawing? or both?
  • Do I like to keep souvenirs from places, people, or events?

Here’s a quick reference guide on journals for creative students:

Art, health & fitness, productivity and goal setting, and personal writing are essential towards a happy and healthy mind and body. As college students you and I need to take care of our mental health because college can be an especially stressful time.

Types of journals you can start today:

1. Art Journals

Do you like to express your emotions through images?

  • art collage – a collage of photos, art, souvenirs, memorabilia, magazine and image clippings
  • sketchbook – your own drawings, paintings, sketches of people, urban sketching, lifestyle
  • nature – a collection of pressed flowers, art, drawings, dried foliage, poems, or any observations, feelings, thoughts, or studies inspired by nature.
  • travel – a collection of photos, souvenirs, drawings, sketches, thoughts, ideas, and writing about where you’ve been.

2. Health & Fitness

  • food log – keeping track of your intake and diet, water consumption, healthy recipes, dishes you’ve tried from different cultures, your own favorite recipes
  • exercise tracker- track your workout routine, weight loss plans, goals for your sport (ballet, track, martial arts etc.)
  • women’s health – period tracker, hormones, mood swings, feelings, fertility cycles etc.

3. Productivity

4. Personal Writing

  • personal log & feelings- a record or observation of daily events that resonated with you, interesting thoughts, ideas, goals, events, what you felt, people you met etc.
  • creative narrative- story writing, describing your own life or small moments in details, and short stories
  • poem- writing songs, haikus, writing down a moment or something that inspired you through the art of poetry.

Your journal is a reflection of yourself.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say”

FLANNERY O’ CONNOR

Don’t feel pressured to follow the bullet journal trend or confine yourself to a set of rules.

I personally have multiple journals that are a mix of all the above: a planner for tracking my college studies, deadlines, assignments, tests, projects as well as my social and personal life like parties, birthdays, and events. I also keep my goals, daily to-dos, and fitness plans. I have a pocket sketchbook for drawing quick sketches of people or scenes that inspire me while traveling. A bullet journal for dumping creative ideas, souvenirs, and pressed flowers and foliage. And a prayer journal for my daily life.

The most important thing about journaling is to relax and have fun!

2. Find Your Aesthetic

Finding your aesthetic may be more for creatives.

It may take some time but “find” what you like. In art, the more you practice, the more you start to develop your style.

Here are some of my favorite themes:

  • vintage theme
  • black and white
  • minimalist
  • floral
  • Brown, black, white, and gold
  • pastel
  • asian
  • glam or girly
  • travel
  • or a mix of your choice

3. Find Supplies

To me, this is the fun part.

Finding a notebook or journal that you love will make you want to write more. Here are some materials I love:

Materials ideas + recommendations

I got a lot of these from my local craft store like Michaels

Notebooks:

Writing Supplies:

Extra:

Note: you don’t have to purchase a lot of materials to journal. Just be creative with already existing papers, photos, pens, and materials.

“When it comes to art, it’s important not to hide the madness.”

Atticus

How does journaling help you?

Comment down below and check out other posts on mental health here: