keeping a journal can be great for your mental health
Whether you’re looking to release pent-up emotions, motivate yourself or simply clear your mind, keeping a journal can be great for your mental health.
“We discover things about ourselves that are hidden,” says Jamie ridler, a creative living coach and founder of the online Jamie ridler Studios . She says journaling is “great practice for showing us something beyond what we think we know.”
your journal should be a place where you feel completely free to experiment and have fun.
but how do you get started? What do you say? Some techniques to help get those creative juices flowing:
CREATE AN ART JOURNAL
there are no rules for art journaling, but it generally involves a combination of words and images.
“images allow us to tap into different parts of us,” says amy Maricle, an artist, art therapist and founder of the online journaling hub Mindful art Studio. “With language we’re really good at censoring and controlling and presenting what we think and feel ... through visual means we don’t have the same kind of censorship and filters.”
art journaling doesn’t require advanced skills. even painting messily all over the page can be cleansing, Maricle says. She enjoys taking one or two colours and merely spreading paint all over a page. “it’s like taking a walk in nature,” she says. “it helps open me up.”
another exercise she suggests: Write out what you’re feeling, and then, in light pencil, underline words or phrases that stand out to you. Using paint, cover any of the writing you didn’t underline. Now you’ve created an original poem.
ridler says you can also start an art journal by selecting an image from a magazine. Glue it into your journal and write about why you picked it.
She also suggests a style of journaling known as Fuaxbonichi — dividing a page into many sections and filling it with words and drawings.
Maricle and ridler both urge journal keepers not to worry about the final product. No one else needs to see it.
Sharie Stines, a therapist and coach for those suffering from addiction and/or abusive relationships, suggests keeping gratitude lists, and lists of your strengths and goals. She also recommends writing out self-affirming declarations such as “i am enough” and “i can do this.”
addressing journal entries to a person in your life can help release bottled-up feelings. Stines regularly utilizes this technique with her clients.
A journal entry called Portals is achieved with acrylic paint and mixed media paper to create a unique page.