We all want to feel more organised, right? Well, having the best bullet journal set up is a good place to start. Not only is a bullet journal an effective way of arranging your to-lists but it’s also a powerful tool for your mental health.
Daily journaling is scientifically proven to help people identify and manage emotions. Have you ever felt lost for words? Writing and doodling is an effective way to express how you feel. This makes bullet journaling particularly helpful for people with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
But what if you’re a complete beginner to bullet journaling? How do you get set up? Take a look on Pinterest and you’ll find thousands of hand-drawn journal pages featuring trackers, vision boards, study notes, self-care plans, recipes, playlists and so much more… it’s mesmerising! But if you want a simple way to get started then The Positive Bullet Diary is for you.
What is a bullet journal?
The original bullet journal was created by Ryder Caroll. In his TEDxTalk — which has since amassed over half a million views — he states, “The few tools that I could find were either too rigid or too complicated. They didn’t work the way that my mind worked.”
The bullet notebook itself has a dotted grid instead of lines. This allows you to design tables, calendars and graphics to aid you in your quest for a coordinated life. Ultimately, the purpose of the bullet journal is to declutter the mind. With the bullet journal method you can track the past, organise the present and plan for the future.
It works because it offers the freedom to create systems that work for you and your personal thinking style. You can create simple lists or tackle elaborate designs, it’s really up to you.
How is the Positive Bullet Diary different?
The Positive Bullet Diary is the first journal I’ve used that successfully combines the bullet journal method and a regular diary. It’s undated which means you don’t feel pressured to hit the ground running on January 1st. It’s formatted with monthly planners and weekly spreads so that you don’t have to spend hours measuring out a new calendar every time. You can still customise each page though, adding in headers, doodles and trackers depending on how creative you’re feeling.
There is plenty of blank space for when you feel ready to design your own pages, but to ease yourself in I suggest taking advantage of the prompts such as the positive list, monthly intentions, calligraphy practise and colouring pages. Don’t forget to refer to the helpful introductory pages which founders Ali and Finn have written with beginners in mind.
How I use my bullet journal
- Self-care reminders: I wrote a list of all the things that make me feel good so that when I’m feeling sad I can refer to the list instead of spiralling into a tub of Ben and Jerrys.
- Tracking exercise: I don’t plan my exercise routine too stringently because I feel like a failure if I cancel or reschedule. Instead, I track my exercise and step count at the end of the week.
- Working on my business: I know some people like to keep work and life separate, but as a freelancer, my business is such a big part of my life that it feels natural to merge the two. I was reading a book about PR which involved filling out lots of worksheets, so I worked through the most important exercises in my bullet diary. It helped me achieve clarity for 2020 and I’ve even dedicated a few pages to scrapbooking images around my dream customers. I’ve secured several new clients so it definitely works!
- Free-flow writing: Having written a memoir about mental health, I know journaling is an important form of self-expression for me. I used the blank pages to write about whatever was in my head at the time and it helped me overcome mental blocks.
- Brain Tangle: Ali invented this herself and I absolutely love it! Head to The Positive Planner Instagram page and click on the Brain Tangle highlight to learn how to do one yourself.
- Tracking books: I’ve recently purchased a Kindle so I don’t get the pleasure of seeing all my books stacked neatly on a shelf. I’ve drawn my own bookshelf page with all the books I plan to read this year and every time I finish one I colour it in. It’s very satisfying!
The mental health benefits of using the Positive Bullet Diary
Using The Positive Bullet Diary every night has been a welcome distraction. I now doodle in my bullet journal instead of scrolling mindlessly on my phone which has improved my sleep, eased my anxiety and reduced headaches. With the movement and book tracker pages, I’ve been able to see how much I’ve achieved which has given me the momentum to keep going with my hobbies. Now I’m exercising at least three times a week and reading every night before bed.
Overall my bullet journal experience has boosted my positivity by bringing art back into my daily life. Sure, I have a few pages that didn’t turn out how I expected or look a bit messy, but I honestly don’t care. It’s all part of the process and I’ve learned to give myself permission to make mistakes!
Click here to learn more about The Positive Bullet Diary.