an opened journal on top of a table close to a mug
Photo: Tara Winstead

Stress is of course a part of life (especially a part of modern life), but it doesn't have to control you. There are a bunch of free tools available to anyone who battles the anxiety of everyday living.  For instance, aesthetic journaling is one of my favorite tools to manage stress. It is a sort of mindful practice that can help you relax, de-stress, and improve your overall wellbeing. In today's blog post, we will discuss 10 ways in which aesthetic journaling can help you relieve stress.

What is Aesthetic Journaling?

Aesthetic journaling is a unique form of self-expression that combines visual and written elements to create a deeply personal and aesthetically pleasing journal. Unlike traditional journaling, which often focuses solely on written entries, aesthetic journaling encourages individuals to incorporate artistic elements such as drawings, collages, photographs, and even calligraphy alongside their written thoughts. The result is a visually captivating and emotionally resonant record of one's experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

The beauty of aesthetic journaling lies in its adaptability; it can be tailored to suit your preferences and needs. Whether you're an aspiring artist or someone who simply enjoys working with colors and textures, aesthetic journaling provides an outlet for creativity. It can be even a mixture of a creative junk journal and a classic bullet journal approach to writing – anything you feel like at the moment!

woman fillin gin her journal at a table

How to Use Journaling for Stress Relief

Aesthetic journaling can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety, but how exactly does it work? Here are ten ways you can use aesthetic journaling to calm your mind and find relief from the pressures of daily life:

  • Embrace Mindfulness

Begin your journaling session by taking a few minutes to center yourself. Keep your focus on breathing and try your best to let go of any distractions. This mindfulness practice sets the stage for a productive and soothing journaling experience.

  • Identify Stress Triggers 

Use your journal to identify the specific sources of your stress and anxiety. Writing down your concerns can help you gain clarity and perspective on the issues that are weighing on your mind.

  • Express Your Emotions

Aesthetic journaling allows you to express your emotions safely and creatively. Use colors, shapes, and imagery to convey how you're feeling.

  • Set Goals and Intentions 

Create a dedicated section in your journal where you outline your goals and intentions for managing stress. This can be a powerful way to stay motivated and focused on self-improvement.

  • Visualize Calm 

Incorporate calming and tranquil images into your journal to help you visualize a stress-free state of mind. Visualization will be a visual reminder of the goals you set, and the progress you are working on.

  • Practice Gratitude 

Dedicate a page to listing things you're grateful for. This simple act can shift your focus from stressors to the positive aspects of your life.

  • Reflect on Achievements 

Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Reflect on your achievements to boost your self-esteem and confidence.

  • Explore Solutions

Use your journal to brainstorm solutions to the problems that cause you stress. Aesthetic journaling provides a creative space for innovative thinking.

  • Track Progress 

Keep a record of your stress levels and your emotional journey over time. You can even create a creative graph to identify emotional patterns and monitor progress.

  • Share Your Journey

Consider sharing your aesthetic journal with a trusted friend or therapist. Discussing your entries with someone you trust can provide valuable insights and emotional support.

a beautiful floral journal laying on top of a table
Photo: Dominika Roseclay

How to Prepare for a Journaling Session

Before you embark on an aesthetic journaling session for stress relief, it's essential to prepare both your physical and mental space. Pick a quiet, well-lit corner in your home: your working table or bed is a perfect place where you can relax and feel comfy. You may want to sit in a chair, lie on the floor, or even stand up. Try finding the best position, so you can feel relaxed.

Take all of your favorite stationery and journaling materials like digital journal prints, pens, markers, stickers, or anything else you like to use in your aesthetic journal. Give yourself a few minutes to think, before beginning your sessions. This will keep your focus throughout the session, without getting overwhelmed. Relax your mind, and let your thoughts flow onto the paper.

There should be no strict rules when it comes to journaling. Especially, aesthetic journaling, when you want your journal to look as creative and beautiful as possible. Don't judge yourself if your first few sessions will not look as appealing, as those you see on the Internet.  Just write, draw, and glue onto the paper whatever you're feeling, no matter how silly or embarrassing it may seem. If you're feeling overwhelmed or negative, try to end your journaling session on a positive note. This could be something as simple as writing down three things you're grateful for.

20 Creative Journaling Prompts for Stress Relief

• Describe a place that brings you calm and write about it in vivid detail.

• List five things you're grateful for today and why they bring you joy.

• Imagine a conversation with your inner child and jot down their thoughts and feelings.

• Create a stress-busting playlist and write about the emotions each song evokes.

• Draw or describe a soothing self-care routine you can practice regularly.

• Write a letter to your future self, offering words of encouragement and hope.

• Document a recent nature walk or outdoor adventure, focusing on sensory experiences.

• Write a short story or poem about a fictional world where stress doesn't exist.

• Illustrate your ideal cozy, stress-free sanctuary, noting the elements that make it special.

• Reflect on a challenging situation and explore how you can find growth and resilience.

• Document your favorite relaxation techniques and why they work for you.

• Create a bucket list of stress-relieving activities you want to try shortly.

• Write a letter to a loved one expressing your appreciation and love.

• Sketch a mind map of your current stressors and brainstorm solutions for each.

• Explore a recent dream or daydream, analyzing its symbolism and significance.

• Write a gratitude letter to someone who has positively impacted your life.

• Design a vision board illustrating your aspirations and goals for a stress-free life.

• Explore your favorite quotes and how they inspire you to find peace.

• Write a reflective journal entry about a recent challenge and the lessons learned.

• Create a "self-love" list of qualities and achievements you're proud of.

Final Thoughts...

I know that for some of you, this mind sound like a silly way to spend your time, but I promise you that incorporating aesthetic journaling into your routine will be a transformative journey toward better mental health and stress relief. This low-key, approachable tool is available to anyone: you don't have to buy an expensive tool or pay a fortune to a therapist to go through your thoughts. By embracing this practice, you can reduce anxiety, combat burnout, and nurture your overall wellbeing. So, why wait? Grab your journal and embark on a path to a calmer, more peaceful you through the art of aesthetic journaling.

Lots of love,