Happy Journalling

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Happiness is hard to come by at the best of times. And as someone who has anxiety and depression, and has been on medication and gone to therapy for both, I find it particularly hard. Which is why when I saw this (beautiful) book at Kikki.K and had a flick through, I thought it was a brilliant idea and simply had to buy it!

Today I thought I'd talk about both the book, and some of the things that help me to be "happy", as I thought it was a fantastic idea for a book, and some of the activities within the book and my techniques towards my own happiness may help you out!

This book is essentially set out to encourage goal making, key word "encourage". It goes about it in a way that makes you feel like these goals you set out are achievable and are good goals. And the way it does that is how the content is laid out.

It starts out by explaining and getting you to write out almost everything to do with happiness; your aspirations and your loves. It then gets you to turn these things into "objectives" (rather than "goals" or "resolutions") with steps on how to go about achieving them.

At the beginning of the book it talks about, and gets you to think about the things that make you happy, and instructs you as a reader (or writer?) to list all of these things, and then create a vision board of happiness. Me being the creative nerd I am decided to do it typographically.

Some of the things I wrote were
  • nail art
  • cats
  • baths
  • music

Next, it gets you to write down examples of instances that have made you happy, and ones that make you unhappy. I find this to be great, as it helps me realise and understand why I may be feeling upset and/or sad. It also helps me pinpoint where exactly (or at least in some vague way) what changed my emotion to something so bad, so in the future I can try to avoid allowing that to happen by changing the way I react to something (such as not lashing out, or doing breathing exercises) or even allowing a certain event to not even occur (such as not going into that "space", be it physically or in my mind). Does that make sense? 

Some of the things that make me unhappy are
  • being ignored - or feeling like I am being ignored
  • large and/or loud crowds
  • sunburn and insect bites

The book then tells me to think about regrets ("think", not "dwell"). And how regretting things have major effects on our happiness. It gets us to begin listing some of our regrets, and then really focus on how in the future we can avoid experiencing regret. For me, I know, that a lot of the things that I regret are because of low self-esteem or low self-confidence, that I simply did not give myself the chance to experience or try something. So working on courage is definitely something I need to do.

The following page is a much cheerier one, where it talks about a Reverse Bucket List. This is to help counter-balance thinking about regrets and to instead think about all the things you have done that make you happy. To look at all the wonderful opportunities and experiences you've had.

Some things on my reverse bucket list were
  • meeting some of my friends I made online
  • gong to university, graduating, and passing with honours
  • experiencing some of my favourite bands live

The book then has a kind of bullet-journal-esque chart, where you measure yourself at the start of the year (or the start of completing the book) on how you are feeling about yourself, your mind and your life right in the moment. Then, every three months it gets you to come back to the chart to fill it out again, so you can track your progress (up or down the scale).

Again, this helps you pinpoint when or what things happened that effected your happiness. It's almost been three months since I started this journal, so I am interested to see whether I have changed in any of these things.

Next, it encourages you to think about your life right in the moment, and what you love about it. Your relationships, your career, your health and a whole bunch of things in between. It then gets you to think about what you could improve or change.

Things that I love in my life at the moment are
  • learning new things every day at my job
  • my relationship with my boyfriend is getting stronger and stronger
  • treating my body better

Things that I could change or improve are
  • being creative, or doing creative things more often
  • volunteer my time, or donate to a charity more often
  • don't be afraid to try new things, and not be afraid to do it alone

The book then - which takes up a lot of the actual book - gets you to split up your year into months, and to have five objectives for each month. These are like goals or resolutions, but as they're split up into monthly sections I find it a lot more achievable to do things in chunks. The book got you to write out each individual objective, and then a few bullet points or sentences on how you can achieve them.

My objectives for January were
  • exercise more
  • eat more healthier
  • get back into blogging and being creative

I didn't end up having five objectives, as moving flats part way through the month ending up taking away a lot of my free-time, this meant that the uptake on these objectives kind of fell behind. However, because they were only monthly goals, I was able to restart in February and have a better chance of working towards success. Again, in February I had a bit of a hiccup as I got appendicitis and had to get my appendix urgently removed, which has taken a few weeks out of me, but I'm slowly getting there!

I am finding this book to be fantastic. Simply by writing things down, and listing them in a strict and exact way makes it obvious and easy to refer back to. I know that I've been constantly (since I got the book) referring back to the happiness vision board to look for things when I am feeling a depressive episode coming on, or adding things to the happiness or unhappiness list when I go experience something that gives me strong positive or negative feelings.

I think this book is fantastic. However, I don't think it's still available in Kikki.K stores (but it is on their website!) as it's quite a whee bit into the year. However, this doesn't need to stop you guys from creating your own, maybe even in a Bullet Journal type of way! I am finding this to be a great resource, and I strongly encourage anyone to do some of these activities as writing things down and pointing out the obvious can really help when your mind has gone to mush in a depressive-like episode.


Let me know if you have this book, or one of the other books in this series. Or even if you decide to (or maybe you are already!) do a happiness journal type of book.

- Louise x

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