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Journal Writing: It's good for your mental health

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Listen to Episode 24 – Now Processing Series! Journal Writing: It's good for your mental health!

This episode is part of our Now Processing Series that we will be exploring throughout 2023. This episode is part of our Now Processing Series. In this episode we are going to teach you to how to Journal We will tell you why journaling is good for your mental health. We will provide tips on how to journal in quick and easy way to get the most out of your time.

So basically We'll teach you how to journal, not like “Dear Diary,” but as a way to improve your overall wellbeing.


Ep 24 Journaling

[00:00:00] Randi: 1, 2, 3, 4. Hi friends. It's Randy and Jess, and we're gonna cut the

[00:00:07] Jess: bullshit and let's get into women's mental health.

[00:00:13] Randi: Welcome to the podcast unapologetically All over the place with Randy and Jess, where we talk about women's mental health issues and how it's all normal.

[00:00:22] Jess: This episode is part of our now processing series that we're gonna be exploring this year for 2023. We're gonna have a couple of 'em throughout the year, so be sure

[00:00:30] Randi: to go to the show and hit the plus follow button so you're notified of new podcast episodes that drop every Wednesday.


[00:00:37] Jess: Wednesday. So in this episode, we're gonna teach you journal writing.

[00:00:42] Randi: So we're gonna explain why journaling can be so great for your mental. And we're gonna provide you with tips on how to journal in a quick and easy way to get the most out of your time, because a lot of us just don't have extra time.

So it's like one more thing to do, but if you enjoy it and it helps you process things, then it's gonna be beneficial for you. I mean, this might not be your thing, but you know.

[00:01:08] Jess: Right. And we're basically gonna show you how to do it so you're not doing the whole dear diary thing, right. It's gonna be something that is quick and easy and good for your mental.

Yes. And kind of keeping you on track. So have you ever thought,

[00:01:21] Randi: what is the big deal about journaling?

[00:01:24] Jess: I'm never sure what I'm supposed to write anyways. How

[00:01:27] Randi: long am I supposed to write for?

[00:01:29] Jess: What if someone reads my journal?

[00:01:31] Randi: How do I know if this is working?

[00:01:33] Jess: Those are all really

[00:01:34] Randi: great questions. Mm-hmm. . So what is journaling?

I mean, okay, so like, what is it in regards to mental health?

[00:01:42] Jess: So it is a tool, right? Mm-hmm. , it's just like a coping tool. It's a self-awareness tool. It's a, I like that self-awareness tool. Yeah. I mean, it's something that, it's a way for you to release your thoughts, um, and feeling. That you may not actually say out loud to somebody else, right.

To get the stuff floating in your head. Yeah, kind of. Sometimes just

[00:02:02] Randi: get it out there. Yes. On the paper, like they say like in black and white. And I feel too like it can be. A really great form of creativity. Mm-hmm. , that you can also express, or you might find that you're a little bit more creative when you thought maybe you weren't.

So it's a great way to kind of explore your mind. Well,

[00:02:23] Jess: and creativity isn't just. Somebody who makes this

[00:02:26] Randi: amazing artwork. Right, right. And I think like, we think that a lot of the times, like, I'm not creative. Well, there's so many ways that you can express yourself and thus be creative, right? It could be like, you know, using your cricket machine to make vinyl shirts.

It could be, you know, writing a story. It could be painting, it could be making music. Like there's so many different ways to be creative. Reorganizing your closet, right? I mean, for some people that is a passion and that is a hobby. Yes. Not mine. I would rather pay somebody to do that. , but,

[00:02:57] Jess: and she's taking applications, if you guys are wondering

[00:02:59] Randi: Yeah.

Does anybody wanna sign up for that? Right. Um, so, but, getting started, journaling can feel often overwhelming. Mm-hmm. because we just don't know where to start and, or we don't know what direction to go into. And so that's where we come in. Right,

[00:03:16] Jess: right. And there's actually several different types of journaling.

Mm-hmm. , so you have to find one that works for you. Right. One of the types would be like a daily log. Mm-hmm. , right. And that one is basically, you know, kind of like, that's more of the dear diary, you know, this is what I did today. It could be simple. It could be bigger, it could be, this is

[00:03:35] Randi: really good points for if you're having like mood cycles.

Yes. Or things, or if you're taking a new medication and you wanna track like how it's affecting you, this type of daily journal. Or like my daughter, she's a teenager, she loves bullet journals and stuff. Yeah. Quick short to the point, but like just jot down, this is making me feel this at this time. Or like, this is how I'm feeling, you know, today.

Like you said, you can. You know, on and on and on if you want. And that's therapeutic for you. Or you can just, you know, fill in the blank

[00:04:04] Jess: and you don't have to use complete sentences, and you don't have to use punctuations, and you don't have to do any

[00:04:10] Randi: of that. No, you don't have to worry about it. And that's why a journal like this, this gratitude journal that just has little bullet points in it, it says the date today, I'm feeling what I noticed.

You know what I'm grateful for. You know what I'm, you know, thinking about all these things. . Quick, easy to do.

[00:04:28] Jess: So I'll jump ahead. Let's talk about gratitude journals. Okay. Those are my favorite, and those are the ones that I actually have my clients do. Mm-hmm. , because part of it is if you always see the same thing, you're not looking for something else.

You're not going to see something

[00:04:41] Randi: else. So if you're like stuck in kind of like a negative thought pattern, it's gonna, or even sometimes only positive thoughts and you're not even. Some of the things you might be doing that are affecting other people or your life too. There's a way you can be on a one truck, you know, in both directions.

[00:04:58] Jess: I'm gonna, I'm gonna reel you back in here. Yeah. For the gratitude though. Okay. Um, and what you were saying for the gratitude, right, is that you sit down and you write down what you're grateful for. You write what you've noticed you do it for, you know, every day. You look at it in the morning, you look at it at night, and it's a way to retrain your brain.

So you start to see the other things. Right. And I've seen so many people get out of anxiety and depression just because they weren't looking for something besides their anxiety and depression. Right.

[00:05:26] Randi: So they were able to see like, oh, this happened and this happened. Yes. And this happened, and. I do have these other things going for me, right?

Mm-hmm. , there is this other side of things that maybe you can't see when you're in that darker place.

[00:05:40] Jess: Right? When you're in the quicksand, all you see is quicksand. Mm-hmm. , right? And so when you get out of the quicksand, you're like, oh, hey, look, there's an entire, you know mm-hmm.

[00:05:47] Randi: jungle out here. Yeah. And I think it's also cool because you can start to see patterns emerge.

Yes. Like maybe during a certain season or a certain timeframe. And then you can kind of notice your triggers and know going forward into that season or that time that you know what to expect because you have learned mm-hmm your pattern or your behavior or things that might be upsetting for you. So you can kind of be like, Nope, not today.

Like, oh, I know this is coming up, so what do I need to do, you know, to implement some more self-care or, you know, so I think it's. Right,

[00:06:21] Jess: exactly. And so you can go on our website cuz we did create one for you guys to look at if you are interested in kind of doing the gratitude piece. Mm-hmm. , I like it.

Even if I don't do it every day, when I find I'm getting funky, I can go back to it right in just a couple of days. We'll like put my mind back into it. So that's great. Those are my favorites. The other one is, what is it? The Deep Thought Journal. Mm-hmm. . And that's usually like three pages. . That's one where people kind of really talk about what they're focusing on, like their problems are, what they're experiencing.

[00:06:53] Randi: if it's like you're working out like something with a relationship, maybe like the pros and cons. Mm-hmm. or you know, like a real deep dive or maybe like you're writing a letter, you know, to somebody and getting it all out there so you can process it. So, oh, I

[00:07:08] Jess: love, one of the ones I do in these ones is I have people write a letter to somebody.

Mm-hmm. , don't send it, don't type it, don't put it on a computer cause it's too easy to hit send. Don't

[00:07:17] Randi: do it on your phone. Don't do it on, don't send it as a

[00:07:18] Jess: text message. No, no, no. The whole reason is that you want to go through and write it and take some time, right? Give it a week or so, and then go back and rewrite it, read it, rewrite it, and then continue to do that until you have made some peace with it.

I mean, it's actually a really neat, so you're

[00:07:36] Randi: creating a different narrative, right? Yes.

[00:07:39] Jess: Mm-hmm. , and, and you cannot, I, I heard this. You cannot change your past, but you can change how you toll it. That's true. Mm-hmm. , and I was like, that stuck with me. Huge. I don't know who said it, but it, it has stuck with me.

[00:07:51] Randi: And you know, I have done a lot of E D M R and that is kind of like a similar concept. You hold this traumatic thought in your mind and you create kind of like a safe space around it so that it's, go back to what, what is

[00:08:06] Jess: emd? . So it is, you went real fast for people ,

[00:08:10] Randi: sorry, with my technical term. So it is a rapid eye movement, desensitation, so there's different forms of it, but basically you walk through trauma wall following either like a light or like a clicking or like a pattern, like a finger or.

There's different, there's tapping too. Tapping. Yeah. So depending on kind of like what you choose, that is the path for you with this. And like while you are walking through the trauma, you have this kind of like bilateral, you know, thing happening on the side. So you're watching like this pattern or listening to this noise and so it kind of desensitizes you to the trauma and you create a safe space around it with your therapist.

do not suggest doing this alone at all. It is a very, very hard process, and it's not for everybody, but you learn to associate this traumatic event with a safe space and it kind of softens the edges of the trauma. And so I feel like when you're rewriting things in your journal mm-hmm. and retelling yourself the story and revitalizing.

in a way that is a similar format, just I feel personally to kind of soften the edges of this thing that is maybe weighing you down. Mm-hmm.

[00:09:28] Jess: and, and it's a way for you to kind of also gain some empathy. Yes. An

[00:09:32] Randi: insight. Mm-hmm. an insight. Yeah. Yeah. And empathy. I feel a lot of times. Towards ourselves too.

Mm-hmm. , because I feel sometimes we can be the hardest on ourselves and blame ourselves for those, oh, we are those things. Totally. And then sometimes too, like the other perspective of the person maybe we're struggling with too, if that's something you know, that you're dealing with too. Like, okay, maybe I didn't see this side, you know, that they were coming from.

Who knows. All right.

[00:09:55] Jess: Tangent thoughts. That should be our podcast. Tangent thoughts. They're

[00:09:58] Randi: just runaway thoughts, runaway thoughts. Nice. Running away with Randy . . Jess is like back to the podcast. Back back to the podcast. Okay, so another form of journaling is morning pages. Mm-hmm. . So kind of talk about that.

[00:10:11] Jess: Morning Pages is, is the way I envision it, is the one where you have like, you know, you've got time and you've got these like three to five pages and it's just a stream of. Just whatever is in your brain to just kind of put it out on the paper. Mm-hmm. , because brain dump. Yeah. And then that's really all that is and it helps some people do some organizing to do it.

Mm-hmm. kind of thing. I personally. Can't do that. That's not really me. I'm more of the, the bullet, the gratitude.

[00:10:40] Randi: Yeah. Quick, simple. Or I do like a nighttime dump too, because I have a hard time unwinding and falling asleep. Oh, that'd probably be a good one. So can kind of like, even if it's just a to-do list mm-hmm.

or something like that, it's like getting that out of my head and like, okay, I can leave this here for another time. Yeah.

[00:10:58] Jess: That's good. And then I think the other one that we were looking at is the one sentence journal. Mm-hmm. . Um, it's just, one or two sentences and that's it. Yeah. It short, keep it simple.

Doesn't have a lot of prompts and that's why I prefer the gratitude because it has prompts.

[00:11:13] Randi: Yeah. And I like that too. I like a fill in the blank. Yeah. Because I don't want one more thing to think about, you know, that's already on my plate. So I like, that's why I, you know, love this type of journal where I can just be like, okay, this is what I need to.

Okay. Filling this in, please tell me. Thank you, . Right. Just, just tell me what I'm supposed to do. Yeah. Just tell me what I'm supposed to do. Here we go. Okay. So what are

[00:11:35] Jess: the benefits of journaling? It gives you

[00:11:38] Randi: clarity on a subject. It helps you to focus or refocus on a subject. Mm-hmm. , that you need to, it helps you problem solve.

Mm-hmm. . You know, figure out the pros and the cons like we were talking about, or like the benefits and things like that. And also I, you know, resolve things that are kind of like hanging out for you that you need to kinda come to terms with. Well,

[00:12:00] Jess: Exactly. And what you had also said earlier is to kind of declutter your brain.

Mm-hmm. , it's a way to declutter your brain. It's a way to see things differently, which is part of the processing. It is a way to track, you know, your moods.

[00:12:13] Randi: Right. And oftentimes things sound better in our head than they. Do. Like when we get 'em out on the pa on paper, we'll reverse. Or sometimes they sound worse in our head.

Yeah. You know, than they do when we put 'em on paper. Like vice versa. So,

[00:12:29] Jess: and it's a good coping skill. Mm-hmm. , I mean, and that's really what it is, is it's a good coping skill that can let you, you know, in some ways detach, especially if it's a bad, you know, something that's bothering you Right. To detach from it and to let go of it.

Right. And that is something that, you know, is. very helpful. Especially when creating like an in a positive internal dialogue

[00:12:50] Randi: with yourself. Mm-hmm. , which is very hard to do as women. We have a very, or well, I have struggled with that my whole life too. It's having a very negative self dialogue. Mm-hmm. with myself and trying to be like, No, you can do this, you know, and changing the script.

Literally changing the script by rewriting it. Like you said, you know, I am capable. I can do these things. Yep. Like this is what's really happening. You know? And sometimes too we can, we think things are a little bit, sometimes bigger than they really are. Once we get it down on paper and how this, you know, partners with elevating your mental health is.

Doing these things, you can kind of like breathe a sigh of relief when you see that and you're like, okay, maybe I don't need to be as stressed. Mm-hmm. like as I am and like, okay, now I know maybe how to cope with this better again. Yep. If it happens again, and you can kind of see when you have it listed out that, okay, maybe this isn't as big.

of a deal as I thought it was, so I can prioritize something else. You know, or like, maybe I'm not as fearful of this as I thought I was gonna be. And so alleviating kind of like your worries and concerns and things like that, and it's

[00:14:09] Jess: tangible. Mm-hmm. , um, they did, I was reading a study years ago that did, uh, with like, uh, millennials who are in class and they.

Notes. Mm-hmm. versus people who hand write notes. Right, right. And they're saying the millennials typically will type their notes out and then they'll, and it was a history class, and they're saying that for the recall, the people who handwrote notes and the people that typed notes recalling dates and specific events was fine.

Right. They both were at, they both were good. But when they were talking about, when they had to actually kind of talk about what actually happened. Mm. What they found was that the people who hand wrote their notes, because a, they're, they can't hand write what the, the professor is saying work forward.

Right. They can, they go through, I can't even talk today. My gosh. They go through and they, they can summarize it. .

[00:15:01] Randi: Right. They, because they put it into their own thoughts and words, right? Yes. Instead of, because I mean, I type very, very fast. Mm-hmm. , so I can definitely, like if I'm listening to somebody, you'll type that out.

Then if I was handwriting it. So you're right, I'm, I feel like I don't absorb as much when I type, and so I still hand write a lot of my to-do lists, a lot of my notes and things, and then go back and put them, you know, now it's so nice, like on your Apple phone, you can just copy your handwritten notes.

Paste them and it makes it into text. But you know, before I would then like rewrite, but that also helps me with comprehension and recall. Mm-hmm. and things like that, which I definitely need the older, I'm kidding. . Right.

[00:15:39] Jess: And the study ended up saying that if they would go through and hand write their notes into an electronic form mm-hmm.

so they can look at 'em later, that is the optimal way of doing it. Right. Yeah. Because there's something about handwriting notes, handwriting, you know, your journal. That is it. Helps your brain process. Yeah,

[00:15:59] Randi: definitely. And so therefore, that's why I feel like it's so therapeutic. So what are some journaling tips, strategies, hacks that we can just hack, like jump right into and get it done?

[00:16:11] Jess: Okay, so then just go, don't overthink it and just do it right. Just do it. Just be like Nike and just do it, right? Yeah. Is that still around? Yeah, . Okay. So just, just don't overthink it. Just

[00:16:22] Randi: get out a piece of paper right now and just jot something. Napkin. Yeah. Doesn't matter. Write it on your hand. I don't know.

Can, whatever, you know. So what else?

[00:16:32] Jess: Try setting like a timeline or a goal. You know, I'm gonna do it in the morning, you know, while I have my coffee for five, five

[00:16:38] Randi: minutes. Minutes, 15 minutes. Whatever you feel is doable. I know , um, be co.

[00:16:46] Jess: Yes, consistency set.

[00:16:47] Randi: Set a goal though. Make it a timeframe. Like, okay, if you know you're not good at this, I would be like, oh my God, this is one more thing I have to do.

Like, no, you know, and then back away from it. I could be like, okay, I can do this for 20 days or something, or 14 days, or I can do this for five days, whatever it is to try to. You know, I

[00:17:06] Jess: mean, I recommend at least 60 days. Yeah. I want, I want, I really want people to do it for two months. Yeah. Because they really get more benefit out of that.

But let's do five. Let's do a week at a time. Yeah, right. Let's just

[00:17:17] Randi: keep going for a week. Yeah. See if you can challenge yourself like one week. Okay. I did it two weeks. Mm-hmm. . Okay. Even better. Give yourself a reward at the end too. Like, okay, I'm gonna take. You know, for a pedicure by myself, a face mask or something, you know, I, I'm very reward based being adhd, so I need those prompts to move forward.


[00:17:36] Jess: I want everyone to be honest with yourself. Yes. Be honest. Honest with yourself. Because lying to yourself or not putting it in there doesn't do you any good and no, doesn't do anybody else

[00:17:46] Randi: any good. And like, yeah, it can be hard, but it's just you, yourself. And. . So ask yourself the tough questions, the really hard questions that, you know, you're avoiding

[00:17:56] Jess: and if you're worried someone's gonna read it, you can go through and, you know, get a lock.

Like when we were, you know, in Yeah. 12. Hide it somewhere, you know, talk about how important it is for the other partner to not read it. Right. And, and then, you know, later when you've processed it, you know, you can put it on a barbecue and burn it. Yeah. I mean there's, you don't have to just keep it forever and ever.

[00:18:19] Randi: and then when you've done it, like think about it, review what it did for you. Mm-hmm. , you know, was it beneficial for you? Was. . You know, did you hate it? Did you love it? Did you feel like you got benefits from it? Like what kind of was important to you? Like what happened and, and what

[00:18:35] Jess: did you notice when you looked at it?

Right? What did you notice as far as, you know, what did you learn from it? Right? Right. What'd you learn? And honestly, you just have to find the one that speaks to you. The right journal,

[00:18:48] Randi: yeah. The right type and mm-hmm. , the right prompts and things that are gonna like, you know, make you feel. And like we said, with your mental health and therapy and everything like this, it's not a one size fits all.

Nope. And you do have, it is trial and error. Mm-hmm. like finding what does work for you and what doesn't. And that's okay. And it can take forever. , you know? And that's okay too. You don't always have to have it all together. Nope. And we feel like we do as women. We

[00:19:17] Jess: do, but you don't. And, and part of that is you can put that in the journal.

Mm-hmm. , you would not be the only one putting that in a journal, right? No. Or those days where you're so overwhelmed with your kids and your life and your to-do list. You know, you can find gratitude even on the really sucky days, and I'm not talking the false positivity. I mean, we've already done that in one of our episodes, episodes nine, but like we're talking about really just looking for the, the, the things that you're like, okay.

today sucked. It, it was, it was awful. But I'm really glad that, you know, I was able to do this, or I recognize yeah. That this is, you know, this is what was helping me

[00:19:56] Randi: today. Right. And oftentimes, you know, when I do this and write things out, I can be like, oh my God, this was the shittiest day, but, Okay, tomorrow is a new day.

I have a clean slate or I saw that this worked for me in the past. Mm-hmm. , you know, or the past couple of days like this, you know, so now I have a better game plan

[00:20:14] Jess: or you know, if you're having a hard time writing it, cuz today was bad, sometimes you can just go through and read the other days. Oh yeah.

And be like, you know what? And you know, on my gratitude journal, you know, last week I noticed that I was really grateful that it was sunny. Mm-hmm. and I was really grateful that, you know, yeah. My. , you know, decorated the house for my birthday, right? Whatever it is. And so even if it's on a really bad day, you can still look at your past days and say, okay, I'm just gonna go through and.

What I've already done. Mm-hmm. .

[00:20:43] Randi: Yeah. And that can just help elevate your mood in so many ways too.

[00:20:48] Jess: It's a reminder. Yeah. Mm-hmm. that not everyday sucks, right? Yeah. So. All right, well we have put up some of our favorite journals. You can find We'll show you kind of, uh, a couple of ones on YouTube that we like.

Yeah. Probably, I don't know. Randy's probably gonna do TikTok, who knows? Yeah, .

[00:21:07] Randi: Um, we'll find you on the Ticky talk. You can find us at Women's Mental Health on TikTok. Ah,

[00:21:13] Jess: see, okay. I knew we were on there. I just, I dunno how to do it . So anyway. All right. Catch you guys later. Yeah,

[00:21:19] Randi: we'll talk to you guys soon.

Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health.

[00:21:26] Jess: Don't forget to check out our free resources and favorites on our website, unapologetically randy and

[00:21:32] Randi: like and share this episode and tune in next week.


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Episode 24 – Journal Writing