I don’t just have one journal, I have two. Why you ask? Because I can never commit to just one. But they also function as different things as well. I have a main journal and a side Journals hat work cohesively. In this post I’ll show you how to stick to journaling, different ways of expressing yourself, what I use my Journals for and what’s in them and plenty of ideas to keep you busy.
My main journal
This journal is in a basic small notebook from Kmart, no need to go crazy. In this one, I use it to reflect, get things out of my head, write down any frustrations I have about people, positive things about people and so on. I keep this one neat and tidy because if I feel like the pages are messy I usually don’t keep going, it’s a commitment problem.
What do I actually have in my main journal?
- My journey through mental illness
- Compliments and thoughts I have on people that I will most likely never tell the actual people
- Thoughts about myself
- Gratitude lists
- Things that have happened to me
- My fears and insecurities
- What makes me mad, happy and sad
- Anything that’s clogging up my brain
- Picking apart words said to me
I have this uncanny ability to remember word for word what someone has said to me if it invokes a strong emotional response, so have a journal where I can write those down and pull it apart works wonders. You can write anything in this journal and think it’s important to have an outlet that isn’t reliant on people.
My side journal
This one is the bees knees, I have a cheap art book where I visualise thoughts, feelings, moments and dreams. I often use those gratitude and self discovery question lists and draw what comes to mind for them. I keep this one messy though, it’s an art book so it’s sort of warranted. This is more my creative outlet as opposed to filtering my thoughts. I do have some writing in this journal too but not a whole lot. I used it more for writing before I relocated my main journal.
What do I actually have in my side Journal?
- Drawing from movie stills
- Drafts and plans
I think it’s really good to have a private art book to journal in. You don’t have to show people and you don’t have to explain any of your drawings to people. This obviously isn’t going to work for everyone, but I have some other ways you could use it in the ideas part!
Why should you keep a journal?
They’re fantastic. There’s no consequences for what you write or draw and you can really let loose on just about anything. It soothes your soul being able to drag things out of your mind and onto paper. It helps in dealing with any sort of trauma or negative experience. I hold onto things so I find that even writing things that happened years ago helps me to let those things go. You can write things in the heat of the moment and not have any fear that your words will be used against you. There’s so many positives to this.
Let’s not lie to ourselves, it is hard staying motivated to keep journaling regularly. The way I stay motivated is as soon as I start thinking negative thoughts or my mental health begins spiralling I tell myself that journaling will help me.
I also sort of make a game of it, I look up different lists on Pinterest to see what will inspire me to write that day or I’ll look back through some of the things I’ve already done and update them. If you keep the Journals in a place that you’ll see often you’ll also be more inclined to work through them.
If you’re new at this, you could also get a journal that has activities already written inside of it. They’re usually available in book stores or discount shops. If you know you’re not obligated to do it everyday, you’ll find it is actually easier to keep doing.
Ideas, ideas and even more ideas
- Print out any screenshots from a conversation and comment on what was good or what was and about it and your reasonings
- Explore your goals and ideas on getting ahead
- Look at why you do things and why you do them a certain way
- Discover your morals, ethics and values
- What makes you mad, happy, sad, triggered etc
- Things that have happened to you in the past that you can’t let go of
- Things said to you that have sucked
- Quotes that you love
- Lyrics that you love
- Your favourite movie stills
- Ideas for the future
- Tv shows and movies that you want to watch
- For every negative thought you have for someone, write a positive
- Explore your thoughts about people
- Mind maps
- Your favourite memories
- Your favourite dreams
- Comparing what you thought your life would be like at your age to what it actually is today
- Your favourite toys or things to do as a child
- What you like to collect and why
- Your reasoning for different opinions
- Your journey through mental illness
- Idea that’s you have for your journal
- What’s important to you in friendships and relationships
- If you have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, explore why
- Explore how past events make you who you are today
- Make a mental health plan
- Research your medical history
- Admit things about yourself you never would to other people
- Important dates to always remember
- Names for future children or just names you love
- Recognise if you’re toxic, or the people around you are
- Draw your answers to questions instead of writing
- Favourite foods
- Your go-to skin products or makeup
- Your favourite clothes
- Explore your hobbies or find hobbies that interest you
- Assessments of people (why do you think they do the things they do ect)
- Photos you love
- A positive thought to every negative one you are currently having
- What your ideal mental health day looks like
- Favourite movies and tv shows and you’re reasoning for them
- What makes you different or the same
- What your life would look like if you weren’t afraid of feeling judged
- How you tackle the harder parts of life
- Stupid things people have said
- Owning up to things you’ve done
Wrap it up
As you can see, there are so many ways to utilise a journal and there’s so many reasons why you should keep one. I made a journal post in the past from memory so I thought I’d update that one! Don’t be afraid to fully express yourself either, this is your thing to use how you see fit.
Also, don’t forget to keep your Journals in a place you’re comfortable with.