Journaling has been on the rise in recent years. From bullet journals to freeform diary entries to group journaling sessions, it’s been proven to help promote mindfulness and improve mental health. As someone who co-founded a mental health app, it was something I knew I should be doing but could never get my head around.
Like many people, I couldn’t get past the sense of “blank page syndrome”. Just staring at the page – whether in a physical notebook or on a screen – and wondering, well what should I write? What am I supposed to be journaling about? Is it just a stream of consciousness? Is it a detailed account of what I did today? Honestly, wondering if I’m journaling “correctly” just seemed to add more stress to my daily life.
That was until my business partner, Jon Davies, introduced me to something called Structured Journaling during the development of our mental health web app, Leafyard. Structured Journaling uses prompts derived from CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (the most commonly used therapy for anxiety, stress and depression by the NHS) and guides you to take a look at stressful situations, unpack the negative beliefs behind them and ultimately form new, more positive beliefs to try out in the future.
Step by step, Structured Journaling takes you through the process, allowing you to logically see how your brain is working and how you can make small, habitual changes to improve it. It’s a gamechanger and it’s really helped me to see where I’m going wrong. So much so that it’s a cornerstone feature of Leafyard.
Journaling allows us to systematically unpick our negative thoughts and feelings so that we can make logical and strategic changes moving forward. It’s one of the key tools that I can now say that I have in my mental health arsenal and I feel much, much better for it.