Why bullet journaling can help with your stress

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If you’re not sure exactly what a bullet journal is, it’s a notebook that is customizable as a planner, organizer, tracker, and journal all in one. Instead of the traditional lined journal, this notebook has faint dots that are equally spaced so that you can create boxes and columns that meet your organizational needs. For example, many people use it as a monthly and weekly planner, but they may also track their goals for the month, moods, health-related information, movies to watch, music/podcasts to listen to, and more.

Fifty-one percent of women and 43 percent of men say that they experience negative side effects as a result of their chronic stress. The definition of “chronic” is persisting for a long time or constantly recurring. So, about half of all men and women feel that their stress levels are so high they would categorize them as chronic. Studies show that excess stress levels that persist for long periods of time can not only have a serious effect on your mental state, but also your physical state as well. Things like headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, change in appetite, anger, irritability, and difficulty sleeping are all very common symptoms of chronic stress.

Today, we’re going to talk about why bullet journaling is an excellent outlet for stress. I’m going to talk about some ways that journaling can help you organize your thoughts and ideas (especially when you’re feeling anxious). In addition, we’ll discuss why creative tasks like this can help ease your stress and manage the most common type of stress most of us have — workplace stress.

It Can Help You Organize Your Thoughts

First and foremost, a journal is a place for writing down your thoughts and ideas. So, if you’re feeling stressed, journaling can help you to write down all of your feelings and make a detailed examination of what’s happening with you emotionally. Sometimes when you’re able to get things down on paper, thoughts come forward that you couldn’t clarify before. After journaling, you have them all down on paper.y You can target areas of your life that are pain points for you and start working on a solution.

When things get stressful, everything you’re feeling can just be too overwhelming to process. As a result, many of us put off dealing with our emotions. You push them to the side so that you can move on with your day. However, when you have some time to yourself or when you just can’t handle one more stress-inducing life event, it can all come crashing down. Or other times it feels like you have to resolve all of your problems at the exact same time, which is an incredibly stressful situation and usually an impossible feat. Instead, you can use your journal as a way to compartmentalize each individual area of your life that is causing you stress. You can then organize each item and handle it accordingly.

It’s an Involved Creative Activity

For me, I need something very involved in order to take my mind off of stress. If some of my brain isn’t participating in the activity, then I’m going to continue stressing about whatever is on my mind. For example, an activity like cleaning the house or washing the dishes just doesn’t do it for me. My brain is still upset at the events of the day even though my body is being active and trying to keep my mind off of it. As an alternative, I’ve found that activities that really make my brain work hard are the best ones to relieve stress.

When you’re bullet journaling, you have to involve all the creative centers of your brain. You have to detail a design in the book and execute it. You have to create and commit to a layout and what kinds of organizers are going to be most useful to you. Not only does this take a lot of thought, planning, and design, but it also takes a steady hand and mind when you decide to actually place it on the paper. What’s more, an aesthetically pleasing arrangement takes precision and a lot of creativity as well. Many bullet journalers enjoy adding their own calligraphy, collage, and/or hand drawn images, which essentially turns your bullet journal into a piece of art that you can be proud of.

In a recent study, 40 people were asked to sit down create something artistic on a piece of paper. After just 45 minutes, 75 percent of people involved in the study had experienced a significant drop in the hormone that causes stress in our brains — cortisol. This had nothing to do with each individual’s artistic ability, it was simply the act of creating something that was able to calm their minds and relieve stress.

It Can Relieve Workplace Stress

Many of us feel that our jobs represent the biggest stressor in our lives. In fact, 40 percent of all workers say that their jobs are “very or extremely stressful,” and 29 percent of workers admit that they feel “quite a bit or extremely stressed” while at work. Reports show that many employees feel this way due to disorganization. The top reasons that employees say they feel stressed are due to missed information or feeling like they don’t know what’s going on, having difficulty prioritizing daily tasks, setting unattainable goals for projects, taking on too much work, and not meeting deadlines.

I believe that we can fight this type of work-related stress with activities like bullet journaling. You have the ability to create your own spreadsheet of daily or even hourly tasks that you need to accomplish. At the end of the day you can plan your next day’s events by listing everything you know you need to accomplish. Then, you can assign each task a level of importance and plan out your day accordingly. With this in mind, you’ll be able to have a clearer idea of how much work you already have on your plate and what additional tasks you can and cannot handle.

Using the goal section of your journal, you can write out possible goals for your work and what you’d like to achieve at the end of your project. You can then break up your ideas into what you know you can do, what you’d like to do, and what might take some extra finesse. You can even create note-taking templates that allow you to categorize information that you receive in meetings, which can help you to know what items might need more follow up. Categorizing things in this manner will help you to better communicate with your team and managers. Not only will this help you to be more effective at your job (and may even impress those who you report to), but it will save you a lot of stress trying to guess at so many things happening in your daily work life.

If you’re thinking about bullet journaling, I highly suggest checking out videos around the web that can offer inspiration for your personal notebook. In recent years, bullet journaling has become quite popular as a means to not only organize your life but to relieve stress as well. So many people are realizing the calming effect that creating your own organizational journal provides. Not to mention, the control it gives people back over any stress they may be feeling in their lives. For the reasons listed above and many more, bullet journaling can help anyone to put their best foot forward in whatever they hope to achieve and in the process make their lives a little less stressful day by day.

About the Author

Trisha is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan who promotes an all-around healthy lifestyle. You can find her on twitter @thatdangvegan and check out her blog thatdangvegan.com

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