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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

          Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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          Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

          Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

          There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

          “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

          Primal Therapy

          Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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          How it Started

          “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

          It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

          “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

          Delving deeper

          Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

          Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

          Some Methods To Practice Screaming

          If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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          • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
          • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
          • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
          • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

          After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

          Scream Sing

          Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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          • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
          • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
          • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
          • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
          • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
          • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
          • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

          If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

          Scream into a pillow

          Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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          Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

          Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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