Journaling and Therapy

I can’t say enough good things about journaling. I’ve been writing in journals since I was five, and it’s always therapeutic to carve out time just to sit and write out my current fears and joys. After emptying my mind onto a page, I don’t have to keep running through the same thoughts and concerns. Plus, I love going back and reading my old entries. It helps me keep tabs on my goals and mood and overall health: mental, physical, and emotional. Online journals and blogs can be great, too, but I love the pen and paper process.

This year, I started keeping a bullet journal which has basically turned into a series of lists and charts that manage my day to day life. I regularly track:

  • My “self care” routines (things like how often I sleep, shower, write, and go outside)
  • Distance I run/walk every day
  • Which yoga videos I practice
  • The foods I eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

It feels tedious sometimes, but after a year of unpredictable moods, eating poorly, and neglecting so many of my basic needs, I’m now able to connect the dots between my behaviors and how I’m feeling. I’ve noticed trends with my mood and sugary food intake, for example. I also write out my ‘high’ and ‘low’ feelings for each day. It’s work, but it’s also such a helpful, therapeutic tool: being able to see what brings me joy (being outside! travel! friendships!) and also what is causing me stress so I can learn how to manage everything better.

Speaking of therapy, I loved reading this short piece. My favorite line is:

“[therapy] was the place where I discovered the role anxiety was playing in my life, and it wasn’t pretty. It was one light bulb moment after another. It was like going in for my annual physical only to learn I’d been operating with a low-grade fever my entire life.”

It makes me sad that, for many people, there’s still a stigma toward going to therapy and taking care of your mental health. Therapy has been such an important and beneficial tool during major transitions in my life, and my hope is that in the near future, just like we visit our doctors for annual physical exams, it will normal to meet with a therapist for a mental wellness check in each year.
All this is to say, if you’re feeling stuck or unhappy or overwhelmed (who isn’t with the current state of things?!), I highly recommend journaling and/or therapy. Both can be such tremendous gifts to yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.