If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’ve written a dedicated blog post on 7 fantastic tips on maintaining a creative journal. I’ll tell you how journalling keeps me mentally fit. Do you know why one should keep a journal?
Or do you wonder how maintaining a journal helps you keep mentally fit? Well, I can sense that these questions are clinging on your mind since forever now.
So, I thought of writing this blog where I’ll talk in detail about my journalling habit and how it keeps me mentally fit.
I’ll also explain the different types of journals that you can keep and what importance each one holds.
If you follow me on Instagram and have seen my today’s post where I’ve shared all my journals and how they’ve been my ray of hope in these difficult times.
Without wasting much time in the introduction and extending it, let’s dive into how journalling keeps me mentally fit and the types of journals you can have.
1. Gratitude Journal
The two words – “Thank You” are magical.
Ever since the lockdown was announced, I thank the Lord for I’m alive. You can start with the same. Gradually, you can write small things that make you happy daily in your gratitude journal.
In our life, we tend to focus more on the negative events and often forget or ignore the good things that we’re blessed to have. That’s where the gratitude journal plays a vital role.
The news channels, these days, have only bad news and 2020 is just not proving the right year for almost all of us.
Nevertheless, I made it a point to look for the little happy moments that happen every day and be grateful for the same.
There’s something positive in every day, you only need to find it.
Every night, when I sit with my journal I remember that one thing which I should be thankful for and write it down. This act automatically makes me feel a little happier every day, despite the hustle.
As a result, I go to bed with a positive thought in mind and zero anxiety. If you sleep with anxiety, you’re bound to have a night of disturbed sleep.
This activity takes only two minutes but getting into this habit may take you a while. It’s not an easy thing to do every day.
I journal every day now unlike before the lockdown. You may say it’s because I’ve got a lot of time in hands. But the truth is, I genuinely noticed the changes in me and so ensure I do it every single day.
Writing a gratitude journal helps you concentrate on what’s important and makes you feel good about yourself.
If you’ve read my short story Home Quarantined you can relate to what I’m trying to say.
2. Worry Journal & how it kept me mentally fit.
Everybody has a different way of expressing grief. Some call their friends and share everything and feel better, some keep it confined to their hearts and some write all their worries into a journal or a personal diary.
I’m a combination of the above two types – I share my problems with my friends ( who genuinely listen ) and pour everything in my journal, called as the ‘Worry journal’.
You can write the smallest of your worries into this journal. You may also write down the questions that trouble you the most, for instance,
How will I do this?
The biggest advantage of writing a worry journal is, the journal doesn’t give you unsolicited advice, listens to you and keeps your worries confined inside its pages.
When you write down your worries, anxieties and fears onto paper, all these negativities are transferred from your brain onto the paper which frees you from the trap of ill thoughts.
I did the same when my parents were off to the isolation centre and it helped me cope with my fears and worries to a great extent. In fact, writing into my journal kept me sane throughout my home quarantined period.
3. Memory Journal
What is your recent memory? Mine is being fortunate for meeting a close friend who stays a few kilometres away from the house when the lockdown was made a little easy.
I’ve written a detailed note on our post lockdown meet to cherish it as a good memory. Why did I write down?
Well, the obvious reason to write down a memory is to memorise it. When you write down a memory, it helps you to capture the details of the event and adds value to the moment you’ve already lived. Writing it down helps you live the moment all over again and tends to bring a smile on your face.
When you read the same memory after years you may find how you’ve grown and got a better outlook on life. You’ll also feel nostalgic when you read it after a while.
4. Thought – map journal
Thoughts or ideas are fragile.
You often tend to forget an idea or a thought that came to your mind just a moment before. Don’t you feel irritated when you try to remember an idea that clicked to you and you can’t recollect the same?
It gets frustrating when ideas come and go due to their fragile nature. But you can’t afford to lose on that one great thought that came to your mind, can you?
I write down all the ideas that come to me anywhere and everywhere in a separate journal which I called it as the thought – map journal.
These ideas are then used for my blogs, Instagram posts and books.
Noting down your thoughts channelises your thought process and helps you make the most of your ideas without losing on them.
If you have a thought-map in front of you things become easier which in turn boosts your creativity.
Capture the ideas as and when they come to you and preserve them forever in your journal.
5. Travel Journal
Recently, I found a few photographs which I had bought from a street vendor when we were taken for a picnic to Ooty and Mysore in my 10th std. I was so thrilled to revisit all the places all over again through those photographs.
That’s when I decided to create a travel journal. I’m trying my best to make it creative and something which I’ll feel proud of.
A travel journal is not only about recording your travel history. There can be more to it, like photos, sketches, painting, etc.
You can stick museum tickets, bus tickets, notes for future trips, brochures, etc. in your travel journal. This will help you to revise your travel and maintain the details of the trip creatively (try to be as creative as you can even though if you are not an artist).
If you have all your travel notes in place, you can help a friend plan his next travel or just have a beautiful travel memory of yours.
6. Art Journal
I have always been sceptical of maintaining an art journal for I’m not a great artist. Despite that, I kept trying and added my touch to my art journal.
Today when I turn the pages of that journal it gives me immense satisfaction and pleases my soul to the core for creating something (though childish) on blank pages.
You can keep an art journal by making a collage, writing quotes with colourful pens, and pouring your heart into making it look beautiful – not for your Instagram stories but for yourself. For your inner joy.
Creating art calms your mind and brings you close to yourself. It helps you cleanse all the clutter which gets collected in your mind due to the ups and downs of life.
Lately, I’ve been going through really tough days. As I had no one to go to and share my sorrow with, I did little artworks in my art journals. And believe me, this helped me stay positive despite the awful things that were going around me.
I broke. I cried. But at the end of the day I sat down to fill in a page of my art journal. Practising this activity daily has boosted my morale like never before (that’s one of the major reasons why I’m writing this blog).
So that my experience helps you in some way or the other.
7. Letter Journal
Sometimes you don’t say everything that you wish to say. Maybe it is because you feel it is too much to say or you don’t find the correct words to express your feelings to your loved ones, say for example, father, mother, or your friend, to yourself, or a long lost friend or to God.
Writing a letter to someone is not just a way to communicate but its a process of self-reflection as well. Writing a letter to someone in your journal and not posting it to that person may seem silly.
But this activity helps you in talking out all your emotions without any filters. When you write a letter to the person, you understand your relationship and bond a little more closely.
One Tip For You
I don’t know if doctors recommend journalling for good mental health, but I definitely would advise you to maintain any one of the above journals or choose anyone.
You might think about how would you manage to have so many journals at a time. Don’t worry about that. You can make partitions (just like we made two sections for History and Civics) in one single journal.
So, this one was a really lengthy blog with a whopping word of 1758 words. I loved writing it down for you and I hope you liked it too. This is how journalling keeps me mentally fit.
Do let me know in the comment section below how did you find this blog. I would also love to know if you maintain any one of the above journal type.
I’ll be waiting for your comments. And if you haven’t subscribed to this blog, please do. Until next time, stay safe and boost your immunity.
P.S. Maintain a gratitude journal every day, rest of the types can be used once in a while.