Bullet Journaling for Mental Health

If you’ve been following my journey, you’d know that journaling is a passion that’s very close to my heart. It’s more than just a routine or habit; it’s a source of solace, a canvas for my thoughts, and an oasis of reflection amidst the hustle of everyday life. But just when I thought I couldn’t love journaling more, I discovered a new avenue that has taken my practice to a new dimension. Have you heard about bullet journaling? If not, prepare yourself for an exciting revelation.

Bullet journaling is not just an innovative method of journaling but a whole new way of organizing your thoughts, tasks, and ideas. It combines the mindfulness of traditional journaling with the practicality of a planner, providing a unique space where creativity meets productivity. From to-do lists to sketching, habit tracking to idea brainstorming, bullet journaling is a versatile tool tailored to your needs and personality. So, whether you’re a seasoned journaling enthusiast or a newbie looking for a fresh approach, buckle up as we delve into the wonderful world of bullet journaling…

What is Bullet Journaling?

The bullet journal is an analogue system initially created by Ryder Carroll, a Designer based in New York. Carroll says the bullet journal is meant ‘to help you track the past, organise the present, and plan for the future.’

The bullet journal transcends the conventional notion of a journal. It is a versatile tool that can effortlessly morph into a to-do list, a personal diary, a sketchpad, a repository for spontaneous ideas, or even a health tracker. More than just a practical tool for organization, bullet journaling invites you to indulge in the simple pleasure of artistic expression with pen and paper.

While the beauty of a bullet journal lies in its flexibility, allowing you to customize it to your heart’s content, the system is traditionally anchored by four key features:

  1. Rapid-Logging: This is the language of bullet journaling. With symbols representing tasks, events, and notes, rapid logging is an efficient way to capture information quickly.
  2. Index: Think of this as the table of contents for your bullet journal. It helps you locate different entries and collections without having to flip through every page.
  3. Collections: Collections are different ways to group related information. Standard collections include the Future Log for long-term planning, the Monthly Log for a bird’s eye view of the month, the Daily Log for day-to-day tasks and reflections, and Curated Collections for specific themes or projects.
  4. Migration: This process involves reviewing unfinished tasks and deciding whether to carry them forward or let them go. It’s a built-in review process that helps keep your bullet journal relevant and efficient.

Embracing these elements, the bullet journal serves as a canvas for your life, allowing you to capture, curate, and create in a way that is uniquely you.

I’d recommend the starter guide on the official Bullet Journal website and this How to Bullet Journal video to learn more about setting up your own bullet journal and how to use it.

The Benefits of Bullet Journaling

While I still journal every evening, I always keep my bullet journal with me. I’ve loved playing around, creating pretty pages, and taking time to doodle and draw in a mindful way.

We can all benefit from exploring our creativity and having a little fun. Bullet journaling allows you to combine this with some good old-fashioned organisation, so it really is a win-win! Take a look at all the bullet journal inspiration on Pinterest for some simple, creative ideas.

I love a to-do list, but many of us create completely unachievable lists. Ideally, you should prioritise just three things you want to accomplish each day. Noting down my ‘Big 3’ in my bullet journal has been so rewarding. Rather than agonising over an endless to-do list, I feel I’m actually achieving something each day.

Taking time out from the digital world has also been a joy. Screens are part of almost everything we do these days and the amount of information and data being thrown at us is overwhelming and stressful. It’s a tonic to open my bullet journal and know I’m not going to be attacked by a pop-up, notification, or message.

Bullet Journaling for Mental Health

If you’ve already purchased my CBT Journal, you may notice the journaling sheets are inspired by some of the principles of bullet journaling. There are tick boxes to rate each day and record how you’re getting on with diet and exercise. Daily mood and anxiety rating scales also allow you to track where you are and record your progress each day.

Mood trackers, anxiety trackers, negative thinking trackers, or trigger trackers are just a few of the ways you can actively learn more about your mental health. As I always say, awareness is the first step to changing unhelpful patterns. Writing things down gets your thoughts out of your head, reducing stress and helping you become more objective.

  1. Mindfulness: Bullet journaling encourages you to be present, focusing on the task at hand. The act of writing, drawing, or doodling can foster a mindful state, reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
  2. Organization and Control: It can help manage anxiety by allowing you to organise your thoughts, tasks, and goals in one place. This can create a sense of control and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
  3. Emotional Expression: A bullet journal can be a safe space for expressing emotions and feelings. Writing about your experiences and emotions can provide therapeutic benefits, including improved mood and a better understanding of your feelings.
  4. Self-Care Tracking: You can use your bullet journal to track self-care activities, sleep patterns, mood, or even your diet. This can help you identify patterns, triggers, and what contributes to good mental health, fostering more informed self-care decisions.
  5. Achievement and Motivation: You can boost your self-confidence and motivation by setting and achieving small goals in your bullet journal. Seeing your progress visually can be rewarding and affirming, promoting positive mental health.

The right writing instrument can be a game-changer, and finding that perfect pen has been a delightful journey for me. There’s something enchantingly nostalgic about putting pen to paper, and this experience is heightened when you use a pen that fits just right in your hand, where the ink flows smoothly, enhancing the overall writing experience. Goldspot Pens are a haven for such luxury writing instruments. They offer an exquisite selection of fine pens from renowned brands, each carrying a unique personality and crafted to perfection. Using a pen from Goldspot elevates my writing ritual, making every word feel special, and adding an extra layer of joy to my journaling practice. Their pens serve as a reminder that writing is more than a task; it’s an art, a dance of ink on paper. The act of writing with a beautiful pen turns the mundane into an experience, something to be savoured and cherished.

Bullet journaling allows you to focus on just one thing at a time, giving you space to think and process events, thoughts, and feelings. It’s also great for reflecting and keeping notes between therapy sessions – helping you get the most out of CBT. You can read more about journaling and mental health here.

Useful Links:

Beginners Guide to Bullet Journals

Goldspot Pens

Mental Health Bullet Journal


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Sarah Rees

Sarah is a fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and mental health writer delivering Modern Mental Health for you and with you in Mind. Sarah is the author of ‘The CBT Journal’ which helps you write for your wellbeing incorporating CBT techniques. For more information and to keep in touch have a look at sarahdrees.co.uk.