Since I was a little girl I always had a diary. I loved writing my thoughts down, getting my feelings out and just feeling like I was speaking to someone, even if it was just myself.

I have kept up the practice of journaling on and off for years but in the past year or so, I've gotten more into making this a habit for me. I journal anywhere from 2-4 times a week but always try to journal at least once. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less... it's usually more if I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Journaling or just writing, in general, is a great way, in my opinion, to take control of your mental health. When the world feels like it's closing in on you, writing your thoughts and feelings down really brings everything to the forefront. It helps ground you when things feel out of control. 

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How to Get Started

It's fairly simple to start the practice of journaling... just buy a journal and get writing. I recommend starting off by breaking out your journal daily. Doing it every day will help you form the habit and make the entire practice easier. 

If you would like, you can follow journaling prompts (I did an article on FabFitFun about journaling prompts) to help you get started and give you a structure to follow.

If you have never had a journal before, a prompt might help you not feel 'silly', and sometimes, structure helps us form coherent thoughts. Maybe you don't feel like you're in a place where you know how to get your feelings out on paper or are so overwhelmed you don't know how to put your feelings into words, that's where a prompt could help.

Once you get the hang of writing things down, you'll be able to leave the prompts behind and write down your feelings, your thoughts, your hopes, and dreams. Writing everything down will help get them out of your head and you will feel physically and mentally lighter, I promise you.

How I Journal

I currently am using a Kate Spade journal and I try to write in it every night but as stated above, it's usually 2-4 times a week. I tend to write when things are bad but I need to get into the habit of writing down the things that are good, but the negativity is what I need to sort out in my mind so it makes sense that I'm writing down bad emotions.

When I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I write those thoughts and feelings down in my journal and it helps me release them. Sometimes I'm in denial about why I am feeling down but getting it out in my journal gives me a safe space to admit my bad feelings. Also, sometimes as I'm writing, I will stumble along with a feeling that I didn't even know was there and it's almost like having an epiphany. 

Writing my feelings down really helps clear my mind and center me. Sometimes I grab the journal in the middle of an anxiety attack to just get everything out on paper. It's like releasing 

Other Types of Journaling

There are a lot of other very niche journals that you can use aside from a general notebook. As journaling becomes more mainstream, thank the explosion of the 'wellness' industry, brands are coming up with all types of new journals/notebooks! 

There are self-care journals, travel journals, gratitude journals, and one of my favorites, the 52 Lists journals that you write in every week. A bunch of my favorites is linked below! 

I have experimented with the self-care journal and 52 Lists but I kind of forget after a few weeks. The only other type of journal I keep is a mood journal. I started it around August when my mental health was really deteriorating and I was starting a new medication so I wanted to keep a record of how I was feeling.

I guess you can say that this is a mood/medicine tracker because when I started another new medication in December, I continued to track how I was feeling on a daily basis. This really helps me review where my head is at in relation to medicine, times of day, times of the month, etc. It's really helpful and recommends it if you deal with mental health issues and/or are trying new medications or new routines! 

I hope this was helpful and not too all over the place! All in all, journaling has helped me and my mental health and has taught me a lot about my anxiety and depression triggers. 

Do you journal? What are your thoughts on it?

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