Journalling is a staple of mental health care. It’s one of the most popular suggestions for helping those with mental health issues or as a preventative self-care measure. The reason for this is that journalling is effective. I’ve even written about this before myself, which you can read by clicking here. Thus, I thought I could add to my pervious article by discussing some of the eight journal ideas that can help you with your wellbeing.
8 Easy Journal Ideas
One of the common problems with life is the negativity bias. You can see the negativity bias best at work through the fact we prefer reading negative news (doomscrolling) over more cheerful news (cheerscrolling). But it’s not just world news, we do that with our own lives too.
To overcome our negativity bias tendency, we can take a leaf out of the book of positive psychology. All you need to do is create a list in your journal and start tracking the thing you’re grateful for. As I said, these are easy journal ideas.
The kind of things you could be grateful for could be anything, like someone holding the door for you when your hands were full or getting a nice compliment about your clothes. It can be anything really, as long as it gives you even the tiniest boost to your feelings of gratitude.
Although similar to gratitude, it’s not quite the same. For this journal idea, first decided if you want to do daily or weekly highlights. Then you need to create a list and add a highlight for that day or for that week, and do this every day or every week.
A highlight could be that you got up early and got ready for work with time to spare to start off your day more relaxed than usual. It could also be for getting praised for something you’ve done.
Many people can have their mental health condition triggered by something, or have an addictive behaviour triggered. However, sometimes we’re not always aware of what those triggers are. With this journal idea, you can track what’s triggered you until you find commonalities.
So, every time you feel you’ve been triggered, you just write about what happened and what’s around you. For example, if you were alcohol dependent, but in recovery, you might get triggered by the smell of alcohol, so if that happens, write it down.
Another example would be getting anxious at work. Now this could have been caused by something someone said, something that happened, something you saw, stress, etc. Write it all down and you’ll be able to narrow in on the trigger, then when you have, you can work on how to overcome it.
I had a client whose anxiety was getting triggered by uncertainty at work, although they didn’t realise it at first. So when their manager said something like, “I need to see you in my office later”, instead of getting anxious about what it’d be about, they would simply ask. Asking that simple question allowed that client to reduce their anxiety and stress at work significantly.
The problem with habits is that we can engage in them with little to no thoughts. Thus, this journal idea will force you to activity think about your habits by the mere act of tracking them in a journal. This can help you realise when and why you activate this habit, while also allowing you to learn how to overcome it.
If you’re on medication and finding it hard to track if you’ve taken them, then using your journal to track your medication can be really useful. Just create a table with the list of medications with an area for date and time they were taken.
One problem with taking medications is that you can experience side effects. Medications like antidepressants can be especially bothersome for their side effects as you try different antidepressants. Thus, tracking which ones caused what side effects and how long they lasted can help you pick the right antidepressant for you.
Because of the way my anxiety disorders work, some medications can cause me to have psychotic episodes. The first round of antidepressants that I started in August 2021 caused me to have a psychotic episode that only stopped when I stopped taking the medication. The trigger for the episode was drinking alcohol while on the medication. Although I only drank once on the medication, the psychotic episode didn’t go away until I stop taking the antidepressant, about four weeks later.
Several antidepressants later and I’m on one that also triggered a psychotic episode when I drank on it. However, it only lasted the day. The next time I drank, I had a psychotic episode that lasted about 30 minutes, then the next time I drank after that, it lasted a couple of minutes. Now, taking this antidepressant and drinking alcohol doesn’t cause a psychotic episode at all.
Tracking your side effects will allow you to understand what’s going on with your medication, allowing you to make better decisions. It will also be beneficial to your doctors to know how bad your side effects are when making treatment decisions with you.
The problem with being human is that, as I’ve said, we’re a sucker for the negativity bias. We often recall feeling worse than we actually felt. This is one of the easiest journal ideas, so all you need to do is keep a mood diary in your journal. Just track your mood every day, say, during the morning, the afternoon, and the evening.
It can often be easier to do this on a scale of 1-10, with one being the worse and 10 being fantastic. Doing this will allow you to have an accurate idea of mood and might lead to insights of what caused your mood to change.
Strength word of the day
You don’t have to do much for this one. All you need to do is create a table in your journal to write a strength word each day at the start of your day. Doing this will help you live your life intentionally every day. Just pick your strength word and let that would be the strength you try to live by and your mantra for the day.
Keeping a journal can help for a lot of reasons. When I was dealing with the trauma from my childhood which caused my insomnia, I kept a notebook by my bed. In doing so, I wrote about everything that bothered me and eventually all those thoughts and memories lost their power over me.
These other eight easy journal ideas can also help improve your quality of life. Using gratitude and highlights will help return positivity to your life. And tracking your moods and triggers can help you find obstacles you can work on overcoming. So why not give them a try? What have you got to lose?
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with using these journal ideas in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.