Bullet Journaling

How to Reduce Anxiety With Bullet Journaling

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How to Reduce Anxiety With Bullet Journaling

How to Reduce Anxiety With Bullet Journaling

Truth be told, the original bullet journals are super boring. When I first saw them last year, I was just like no. Then, I noticed (on Pinterest, of course), that people were starting to get crazy creative with them! They were drawing with bright colors, making cute little headers and arrows, and some even used washi tape. I've never been a washi tape addict, but once I started bullet journaling, the madness began.

Follow my BULLET JOURNAL BOARD on Pinterest!

Brain Dumps Ease Anxiety.

I use bullet journaling as a brain dump. I am not good with the whole key/symbols thing, it's just not me, but I do have an index up front that says which things end up where. There's no real rhyme or reason to how I do my bullet journaling. I open a page, use it (usually a few at a time), and then write in the index up front what's on those pages. Most people are way more organized than I am when it comes to their bullet journals, but for me it's just more fun to leave it a mess.

At night, I have a small notebook by my bed and I always jot down things that are running through my head before I fall asleep. The next morning, if those things are still inspiring to me (usually they are, but sometimes they're not), I'll add them to my bullet journal.

Sometimes I'll do a mind map – a big circle with smaller circles connected to it – to create and explore ideas for my blog (and my life). My bullet journal has helped me get my blog organized better than it has been in ten years since I started blogging! I always jot down blog post ideas, and now I even have posts scheduled out for the next 6 weeks. That's something I've never been “together” enough to do, so I'm super proud of it.

Colors + Pretties Make Us Less Anxious.

bullet journal

Colors make me happy, so I have way too many a nice little collection of pens. Staedtler Pens are my favorite. I use them in my coloring books as well. I bought a pack of 36 for about $20. They have lasted me forever (still going strong!).

I use tabs, not really for decorative purposes but so I know where everything is without having to look at the index. Tabs help me stay organized with minimal effort.

I also tend to use a lot of stickers (dollar store), washi tape (use coupons at Michael's), and other pretties… which totally aren't technically “bujo approved”, but I love them and they make me happy!

How to Reduce Anxiety With Bullet Journaling

The bullet journal I use is the one with a grid (this one). I think most people use the journals with dots, and then use a ruler, and all this other stuff I don't have time or energy to care about using… just do what works for you.

Habit Trackers Keep Us Accountable.

I have tons of bad habits. There, I said it. Woosah. Just had to get that out of the way. Seriously, though, the number of bad habits I'd like to break is much higher than I'm going to admit. Instead, I'm just going to tell you that bullet journaling is a great way to break bad habits and encourage good habits.

Tracking Ideas:

– weight loss
– fitness (walking every day, or working up to a half-marathon even!)
– hydration: 10+ cups of water each day
– stop a bad habit: smoking, nail biting, etc

Thought Logs Keep Us Honest.

Another thing to track when it comes to anxiety, ADD, and other mental issues some of us are so blessed with, is a “thought log”. Whether you write pages and pages, just a few words, or use symbols to signify a good or bad day, tracking your moods and thoughts can help decrease anxiety. If you are on any medications, tracking those – logging when you remember to take them, what the side effects are, how they make you feel, etc – is a great way to keep up with everything when your doctor asks how things are going.

In your thought log, ask yourself how you're feeling and be honest with your answers. Other questions I like to ask:

  • How can I help someone today?
  • Who can I help today, where will I find them?
  • What's the best thing that happened today? What's the worst?
  • Is today a glass half empty or glass half full kind of day? Why?
  • Are you allowing others to affect your attitude? How can you stop?
  • What's one WIN you had today?
  • What's one goal you're working towards? What steps are you taking to reach this goal?

gratitude bullet journal

Gratitude Logs Help Ground Us.

A trend I've noticed in the bullet journal community that is really awesome is the gratitude log. Whether you're writing what you're thankful for several times a day or just once or twice a week, remember that being thankful is a great way to reduce anxiety.

When I look around and think my world is going to shit, I write in my gratitude log and talk about how thankful I am that we were able to buy our own house this year, and that I finally figured out how to raise my credit score enough to do that and a million other things.

We were living in a homeless shelter ten years ago, I was forced to give Josephine up for adoption eight years ago, and many other things have happened in between. So to whine about anything right now seems trivial. Keeping a gratitude log keeps me in check.

Do's and Don'ts of Bullet Journaling

Do's and Don'ts of Bullet Journaling

Keep it simple. Your bullet journal is a creative outlet to help reduce your anxiety and stress levels. It is not something you need to overcomplicate (steer clear of Pinterest if you tend to do this). Just go with the flow. If you don't feel like having a daily to do list, or a weekly log, then don't have one. Add what you want, skip what you don't.

Remember your why. Your bullet journal should not become extra stress for you in any way, shape, or form. Remember why you started bullet journaling and what you love about it. If you've gotten too far off the beaten path and are freaking out over how to draw the perfect calendars, headers, etc, just take a step back and breathe. Get back to the basics and learn to enjoy it again.

Don't stress over mistakes. This one gets me every time. If I make a mistake, misspell a word, or draw a crooked line, I want to scrap the whole page. You can't really do that with bullet journaling because then you'll have ripped pages and it'll just be… ugly. And if you're neurotic anything like me, you'll have a torn page and want to scrap the whole book. When I pay $20 for a journal, I'm not about to scrap it! Turn your mistakes into drawings, and realize that mistakes give your bullet journal character.

Don't compare your bullet journal to anyone else's. Obviously this goes for everything in life, we should never compare ourselves to others because in our minds we will always come up short. I'm not an artist, and my handwriting isn't the best, but if I spent all my time trying to perfect the “fonts” I'm using in my bullet journal, it's not really going to be mine, right? It would just be an imitation of someone else's. That's not what bullet journaling is about – at least not for me.

Have you tried bullet journaling yet? Let me know in the comments!

Laurie Bennett

Laurie Bennett

Site Owner
I share delicious, Weight Watchers - Friendly recipes and chat regularly about online business & blogging!!


  1. I love your ideas and tips! Right now I just have some loose leaf paper in the back of my blog & home planning binder that I use to bullet list & brain dump. I do it this way because I am neurotic (I’m not even going to try to strikethrough it..haha) and I scrap whole pages when I have made mistakes or need to make changes.

  2. Very interesting, I like these ideas. When I have trouble falling asleep I usually get up and write future DIYs down. Maybe Ineed to get fancy with it. I stress because I don’t want to forget something. Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on FB! Have a great week!

  3. This is fascinating and I am now inspired!
    Thank you for joining us and sharing at Thoughts of Home.
    We are so glad you are here!

    White Spray Paint

  4. I love brain dumps. I feel lighter afterwards! And you might like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pillows (gratitude journaling AND passing it on.)

  5. I’m definitely going to have to check bullet journaling out. I have the hardest time keeping up with my blogging and that in itself makes me horribly anxious and overwhelmed!

  6. Alina Vrable,

    As a high school teacher I have been a witness to this type of journaling in the past 2 years, and I did not know there was a name for it. I have several students who are intensely into it this year. However, I did not know that it was called “bullet journaling” until yesterday when my son mentioned it for the first time, and then today I stumbled into it on the internet while I was looking up how to marinate chicken breasts.

    Like I stated before, I was just introduced to this journaling term as recently as yesterday (March 11, 2018) when my 30 year-old son and his wife came over to visit with their 3-year-old and their new baby.

    He revealed that he had experienced a panic attack 2 days earlier–one in which he finally went to the emergency room upon the insistence of his wife. He jokingly made the comment that this panic attack happened after he started “bullet-journaling” and asked if I had heard of it. I had not. Little did I know then that I actually HAD witnessed it among my high school students–I just didn’t know it had a name.

    Because he is such a busy young man–raising a family and managing a restaurant–I was immediately concerned that he was trying to do too much. He is very reserved and did not share much more than that–but I was curious to beat the band.

    What is strange is that I did not intentionally research the term because I thought it was perhaps a term coined by my son.

    Boy was I wrong. As I was looking for chicken breast recipes the very next morning I stumbled on to what appeared to be a lifestyle blog from January 28th of this year. The blogger is sharing a recipe, and then she transitions into her new obsession–bullet journaling. Here it is in part:

    “…Yep, one pan roasted chicken and vegetables means that you not only get a good and good for you supper, you can also use all that extra time for doing something that is not cleaning up the kitchen. Which brings me to my latest obsession.
    I recently learned what a bullet journal was. And for an organization-obsessed person like me, this was complete and total catnip. CATNIP.

    You can click here to go straight to the source, or you can just type “bullet journal” into Pinterest to find out everything you want to know about this, but it’s basically a system for organizing all those to do lists you have lurking all over the place into one place. In a way where you can actually find them.

    Once you are up and running with your bullet journal it is very easy to keep it in good working order, but at the beginning you will get slightly obsessed by finding the perfect notebook. And pens. And washi tape.”

    I was gobsmacked! It hit me that not only was my son doing this bullet journaling–so were several of my high school students!

    I am now going to do more research and reflecting on my own, and perhaps I will have a conversation with my son about it. What makes a bullet journal anxiety inducing?

    I just need to figure out a way to do this without looking like a pestering mom!

    Karen Hanzel

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