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If You Want Better Mental Health, You Should Use Your Journal In This Way

If You Want Better Mental Health, You Should Use Your Journal In This Way

Most experts and psychologists recommend keeping a journal because journaling is a great stress reliever and by being this, it’s helpful for anyone under emotional or mental stress. But a new kind of journaling is in town – that of the bullet journal, and it is more helpful than ever in improving emotional balance and mental health of those who decide to do it.

Many of us might have started writing a journal some time or the other, only to let it slide whenever times becomes harder. But with a bullet journal – all it takes is 10 minutes to let out those emotions, keep a track of physical fitness and plan your days, weeks and months in advance!

What is a Bullet Journal?

It may sound a bit complicated and tough – but a bullet journal is simply a bulleted version of a Dear Diary, with the added benefit of it also being a planner and a to-do list. You can use any journal, any pen, be as creative as you want and still have the mental health benefits of lowering your stress, keeping a tab on your feelings, have a cathartic outlet and be organized in your daily life as well as overall life goals. Here are five tips for you to best use that bullet journal for emotional and mental health.

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1. KISS the Layout

By this, we don’t mean you pucker one up for the journal. Rather, keep your layout simple, and something that you can remember. The idea is for you to be able to organize your life and goals a little better, and have an outlet for your emotions – thereby keeping you in the pink of mental health. Start your bullet journal with an index – like a book, marking important topics to page numbers. The next few pages could be a yearly future log and for other important things. You can then move from month to month.

    2. Use different keys

    To make things more organized, use different bullets for different things – to-do, done, postponed, notes, events, achievements, important and so on. Keep a key at the end of the diary for you to remember what the bullets mean.

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      3. Make a monthly habit tracker

      Keep two pages free at the beginning of each month to keep a log of all that happened – on top, jot down the dates of that month, and on the left you can write down your goals, whatever they may be. For example, mine would read – did not get angry, Yoga, ate fruit, unplugged by 10, completed all articles due…

      Draw a grid like structure (think Excel) and then color each square on the date you did achieve your goals. At the end of the month, you’ll be able to see where you scored and where you lag. This can help you be more organized in achieving your goals – and in turn, your achievements will help you be in a better state of mind, ergo, better mental health.

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        4. Keep a monthly gratitude log

        The last page of each month should be your gratitude log, one thing that you were thankful for each day of the month. Think of it as counting your blessings – it’s sure to put you in a cheerful spirit and give you better mental health.

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          5. Remember, it’s all for you

          Lastly, remember that your diary is meant only for you. You don’t have to beautify it for others, or hide the truth from yourself in it – it’s meant to be a tool for you to help you be better at all that you want to be better at, to give you happiness and better mental health. Be painfully honest, and keep it as messy or as organised as you like.

          Keep the journal as real as it can be – this will help you assess and pinpoint your weak points – use it to turn over a new leaf on an everyday basis.

          Featured photo credit: TinyRayOfSunshine via static1.squarespace.com

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          Rima Pundir

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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