How a Bullet Journal Can Help Your Mental Health
What are the bullet journal benefits for mental health? Bullet journaling was first devloped by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll. It has since morphed into a form of self-expression that can be useful in many different areas, including mental health.
Bullet journals that allow you to track your habits, journal about your moods, and rant about your bad days aren’t a substitute for therapy, but they can certainly help you to stay on track and be more aware of how you are feeling day-to-day.
So, I thought I’d run down a list of all the potential benefits of a bullet journal for your mental health.
Confront Negative Feelings
Bullet journaling can help you to process and release negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness. In a study of 40 people with major depression published in 2013, writing about deep thoughts and feelings for 20 minutes a day over the course of three days led to decreased symptoms of depression.
Gain Clarity About Your Emotional State
Bullet journaling can help you to recognize what emotional state you are in and whether it needs improving. For example, if you use a habit tracker and notice a pattern of consistent low mood, that’s a signal that you need to do some work in that area.
Identify Harmful Behaviors
By the same token, that habit tracker may highlight your harmful behaviors that contribute to poor mental health, such as not drinking enough water, not getting enough exercise, not eating healthy foods, or other destructive behaviors.
When your mental health is poor, you’ll become worse at remembering to keep your life in balance; I know this is absolutely true for me. You can use the bullet journal as an “external brain” for those times when you’re just not keeping it all together.
Reduce Mental Load
When you try to keep everything you need to do all floating around in your head, it takes a mental toll in terms of your cognitive capacity. Instead, use a bullet journal to offload all that stuff you’re trying to remember. This is where a to-do list can come in handy, as well as a few carefully chosen goals for each day.
Tracking for Therapy
Bullet journaling is certainly no substitute for therapy, but it can be a helpful tool to help your therapist better understand where you are at and how you are progressing. Write down your concerns over the course of the week, keep track of your moods, thoughts, and feelings, and then report back to your therapist. If you don’t have a therapist and in-person therapy is out of reach financially, I recommend seeing if Betterhelp online therapy could be an option for you.
We all feel better when we are achieving our goals, and bullet journaling is an excellent tool to do just that. You can assign tasks from your to-do list to certain days of the week, and then let them go from your cognitive load. When you write things down, you release the fear and anxiety that comes with feeling like you are forgetting things; it creates more space in your brain for what is really important.
Doing Something for Yourself
The act of bullet journaling also has intrinsic value because you are taking the time to create something beautiful for yourself. This sends the message to your brain that you are worthy of this extra special effort. In other words, you should try to make it feel as luxurious as you can. Does that feel cringe-worthy to you? I’ll admit that I struggle with those feelings too. Let’s both give it a try and see how it goes. You can report back to me in the comment section.
Tracking Thoughts and Processing Emotions
Tracking your thoughts and processing your emotions is the key component of most talk therapies, so it’s no wonder that this aspect of bullet journaling will benefit your mental health. Aside from the fact that you’ll get better at recognizing how you feel, you’ll also be creating an historical record that you can look back on to see how far you’ve come.
Feelings of Empowerment
If you can get the hang of bullet journaling, you’ll end up feeling more empowered and like you are taking control of your life and your mental health. This is why I want you start simple and try not to get overhwelmed right at the start. This was the mistake I made and why I still have starts and stops with bullet journaling. Remember to take baby steps so that you don’t lose confidence and end up frustrated.
That’s it! There are many ways bullet journaling can benefit your mental health. Will you start using one? Let me know in the comments.