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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 September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

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