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Mental Health

I Started Bullet Journaling and You Should Too

College is hard. Life is hard. Oftentimes, our minds are a jumbled mess, which contributes to our constant stress and anxiety. Among the knots in our head, it’s not just responsibilities that are constantly nagging at us, but also our emotions. We are humans. We have thoughts and emotions about everything, and it can get very overwhelming if we don’t have an outlet to express and understand them.

The art of bullet journaling has gradually gained popularity over the past few years, with aesthetically pleasing photos and videos plastered all over the Internet – YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram… you name it. There are countless YouTubers out there dedicating their videos to bullet journaling, from posting bullet journal flip through videos to time-lapse bullet journal ‘monthly set up/plan with me’ videos.

Related: Bullet Journaling Pages for a New Semester

I recently started bullet journaling and it has changed my approach towards life, college and definitely made my life easier. Bullet journaling is time-consuming and takes a lot of dedication, so why should you do it?

1. You get to see EVERYTHING going on in your life

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

With pages of calendars, monthly and weekly spreads, to-do lists and anything along those lines, you are able to visually see what’s going on in your life, including classes, work schedule, club activities, assignments, tests and application deadlines. Being a full-time college student with multiple classes, it can be really easy to lose track of various deadlines and tests. On your weekly spreads, you can compile all your assignments and tests or quizzes on the same page. Life will be so much easier for you. With that, you don’t have to go back and forth between multiple class syllabi anymore. Everything is right there in one place. You can also visually see how busy your days and weeks are going to be so you can plan ahead.

Related: Bullet Journaling 101

2. Track habits

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

We all have new year resolutions and general goals we want to achieve. From going to the gym more often to flossing every single night. With our goals constantly in mind, a lot of the times, we usually assume we are doing well in our progress. However, I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of us don’t actually know our true progress unless we note it somewhere. You will be surprised to see how off you are when you compare your initial ‘evaluation’ of your progress to your actual progress. By setting up a habit tracker page in your bullet journal, you will be able to actually see your progress and possibly set smaller short-term goals in order to help you achieve your goals more effectively in the long run.

These habit trackers don’t necessarily have to be goals. They can just be for the sake of knowing more about your lifestyle and see if there are any changes you can make to improve your quality of life. For example, you can track your everyday sleep schedule, your intake of certain food (meat, eggs, dairy, dessert…etc) and anything else you can think of! Having these trackers enable you to have more insight into your life and habits.

3. Track your mood

Via Unsplash

In your bullet journal, you can also create a mood tracker page to record your everyday mood so that you can reflect upon it later on and see if there’s any trends/patterns, anything to be concerned or happy about, or anything you can do to improve your mental health and well-being.

4. Recall the positives and show gratitude

Photo by Kara Benz

Many studies have shown that the habit of writing a list of things you’re thankful for before going to bed each night increases one’s overall well-being. The process of recalling the good events that happened to you during the day essentially trains your brain to focus on the positives in life and to have a healthier mindset. By keeping a gratitude list in your bullet journal, you will be able to practice positive thinking, which can lead to better mental health and well-being.

5. Have something to store your memories

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

Have you ever had those moments when you’re living your life and all of a sudden you look back and you can’t remember a single thing you did over the past week/month? Same, but not anymore. Ever since I started my bullet journal, I would have a page dedicated to my day. Each day, I would write down what I did and my general feelings and thoughts of the day. I find this really helpful and satisfying as I can always flip through the pages and look back on what I did, reminisce, and feel proud and happy for myself for doing and experiencing these wonderful things.

6. Unleash your inner creativity

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

Bullet journal has no set structure or rules. The only rule is to have fun with it and be as creative as you want to be. You can be all fancy by getting brush pens and do calligraphy on your bullet journal, get stickers to brighten it up, draw little figures to decorate it, write inspirational quotes to bring a smile to your face every time you flip through the pages — anything you want to do with it. Some people see bullet journaling or keeping a diary in general as a chore, but I personally think this medium of creativity is a great way to de-stress and express yourself at the end of the day. Most importantly, it’s a great tool to learn how to focus on yourself.

Photo Courtesy of Marina Li

Marina Li

George Mason University '21

Marina is a junior at George Mason University studying Communication with a concentration in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing and Tourism & Events Management. She is a social media coordinator, content creator and event planner. She is the kind of person who would burst out singing Disney, musicals, and Christmas songs out of nowhere. In her free time, she likes to watch corgi compilations, read, watch Netflix, think about life and experience repeated existential and identity crisis. Her dream job is to work with Pixar or Disney Studios.
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