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Why use a journal?

I’ve started to use a journal recently, and the reason why I have started this is because I want to see if this will help with my mental health.  It wasn’t until the last 1 ½ years that it was apparent that I needed help.  I’m on medication to help me with my depression and anxiety.  I’ve also had counselling which has been helpful to me.

In the last lot of counselling sessions I was told about journaling and to try writing things down to help me.  Back in the day I always knew journaling to be a form of keeping a “Dear Diary” type of thing, and I did wonder whether this was something for me.  So, I researched this and watched videos on YouTube to see what others were doing and how they did it.

Journaling is a lot different to what I thought it was!  It’s a way for you to offload all those thoughts going on in your brain and put them onto paper.  That way you can then clear it from your mind and it’s one less thing to be going through your mind to be worrying about.

I love notebooks and that’s why I started to make them, so why not make something and give journaling a go?  Three months have passed, and I’m on my second notebook and still using the journal.  I’ve been using it to offload and jot down ideas, lists, and doodles.

I must admit it has been helping me.  Once I’ve offloaded I do feel better for it, even lists and ideas when on paper in the book means my brain doesn’t have to retain them and stops all that “noise” in my brain.  I’ve even written this post in my journal.  It’s been going through my mind for a couple of days and I’m getting it out on paper ready to type up.

My journals

The paper used is 135gsm in weight and is made for bookbinding, where the paper grain is running in the correct direction when folding.  This paper is from Shepherds in Victoria, London.  I love using a fountain pen when writing, so this paper is great because there is no bleed-through to the other side.

I’m currently on my second journal and both are the same style, that is a quarter binding.  Cloth is used on the spine, and paper on the remaining cover (front and back).  The first journal I used was the paper from an old ordinance map which was printed in the 1950s, that I found at a car boot.  The second journal cover has some lovely paper that has painted mushrooms and their names.  The print reminds me of something you would find in an old Victorian book about plants.

Something I have been thinking about changing for the next journal is making the paper lined to make things a little neater when it comes to writing in the journal.  I will use the lined paper I’ve created which you can read in my Creating Lined Paper post.  Lastly, I’ve noticed I’ve been using my latest journal purely for journaling, I haven’t been using it for ideas etc., so I’m considering having a separate notebook for this.

I’ll soon be coming to the end of my second journal, so I need to think about starting on my third journal.  I’ll have to see what I can use as the paper for the cover.  I’ve also been thinking about numbering them, which I might use a gold iron-on foil that I can cut on my Cameo.  But I need to figure out how to complete this, and what design to create.  I do have a brass embossing tool that says “Journal”, but using the gold foil doesn’t seem to have worked as well as I’d like it to have done unless it’s the material or…me that needs practice.

Has journaling helped?

Yes, I’ve found this to be helping me.  I’m even trying a new way of writing in the journal, because I was finding I was writing literally what I had done in the day, but not always how I was feeling, what triggered anything, etc., and I was writing for hours on some days which is not what I need to be doing.  Then finding this was giving me anxiety to try and keep this up, so it felt like a vicious circle.

So, I’ve been watching videos on YouTube to see how others are doing it.  And one particular person mentioned that they keep it to 3 headings, which are “Mood”, “Triggers” and “Accomplishments”.  They also said they draw a face depending on the mood, which is what I’ve been doing already.  The face is a smiley, “meh” and sad face.  This visually shows what my mood was like for that day.

You may be asking, what about using an app?  I’ve tried to use apps in the past, for keeping notes or even lists for daily chores.  In the end, I never use them because I find it much more of an effort to update and use.  For me, there is nothing better than pen to paper, I’m not adding to my screen time when writing and I’ve noticed this has reduced my time on a mobile device scrolling through endless Instagram posts!  This is another thing I’m trying to stop using so much is a mobile device, and only the other day I closed my Instagram and Twitter accounts, don’t get me wrong I was never a big poster but it was the scrolling that’s the killer for me!  Writing is supposed to help improve recalling from memory and cognitive development.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again!

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