Using Your Journal to Find the Good in Your Life

How my journal keeps me in the right mindset
Illustration of a happy person writing in a journal while in an outdoor park
Writing in my journal helps me focus on good things. | Image made by author with Canva AI.

This past week, I had 11 meetings with tax clients, 3 appointments with doctors, 2 training webinars, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh, wait, the last one might be part of something else.

My eyes are blood red, my head stuffed with wool, and I’m stumbling around like the guy in those old Dunkin Donut commercials mumbling, “It’s time to make the donuts.”

Time to make the donuts…

Living with both bipolar and a physical chronic illness is especially hard during tax season.

I double my work hours while trying to still produce content, care for my parents, and keep the house relatively clean. (Just ignore the dust bunny in the corner.)

Most days, I feel like I’m failing in all areas, but I know that’s a lie.

The right things are getting done, even if I can’t give them the time I would like. The dust bunny may need to grow a little more before I have time to get rid of it.

The thing is, our bipolar brains lie to us a lot.

They tell us we’re failing, that no one loves us, and that we’ll never feel better. These falsehoods are especially easy to believe when you’re drained because exhaustion often brings depression with it.

And Lord knows, depression loves to lie to you.

So how do you fight all the negativity?

Focus on as much good as possible.

Here are some wonderful things in my life:

  • My dad hasn’t fallen in 4 weeks
  • I lost another pound this week
  • I’ve increased my daily step average from 4300 to 6400
  • This Sunday All Things Bipolar Newsletter gained 51 new subscribers in February (Welcome to all of you!)

The list goes on, but you get the picture. My life is full of goodness, no matter how tired I am.

Illustration of a happy person writing in a journal while in an outdoor park
Writing in my journal helps me focus on good things. | Image made by author with Canva AI.

Last December, I returned to my journaling habit. For a few months, I hardly wrote a single word, even though I have 40 years of journaling consistently.

I felt like my black leather-bound books (ad) were full of nothing but mindless dribble about what was happening in the world. So, I changed my focus.

Now, I write two things: one thing I’m grateful for and one lesson I learned during the day.

Usually, those two items lead to several paragraphs of text, but it’s helping me keep my mind in the right place.

I am tired. I am also suffering a lot of physical pain. Overwhelm chases me like a teenage girl following a boy band, but my life is full of good.

There’s good in your life, too. You just have to look for it. Journaling will help you find it. Here’s a great collection of mood journals to help get you started.

Life will pull you down sometimes. The earth may feel like it’s spinning too fast and gravity is so heavy you can’t even lift your head. But the worst times always end.

So focus on the positive in your world and hold on. You will feel lighter again.

For me, my struggle will continue until April 15th, but then I’ll get my life back. Until then, it’s time to make the donuts.

Thank you for being part of the Speaking Bipolar Family!

Until next time, keep fighting.

Scott Ninneman

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