This Journaling Tip I Learned In Therapy Is Something I'd Recommend To Anyone In 2021

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Hey, I’m Jasmine! Earlier this year, I started making my mental health a priority and decided to get a therapist because, I mean, even I deserve a shot at peace.

An African-American woman with short hair and glasses is looking at the camera as the light from the sun hits her face.

BuzzFeed / Via Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

And in hindsight, it’s the best thing I could have done.

After a few sessions of warming up to my therapist and letting her in, we came to one very big and slightly hard-to-stomach conclusion: I am verbally mean AF to myself.

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Regina George ain’t got nothing on me apparently, and I was shocked that I was saying things to myself that I would probably fight someone else for saying. Twisted, right?

I was so used to this behavior over the years, that I didn’t even notice the damaging internal and external dialogue I effortlessly hosted.

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Kudos to my therapist for making me say some of these things out loud and confronting my mean self.

Most of it was self-doubt and putting myself down, so my therapist suggested I try something specific. She told me to write out these statements outside of our sessions — and then put the statements away.

A red pen sit on top of a black Harry Potter themed notebook.

BuzzFeed / Via Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

Oh, and “put away” the mean statements is not to be confused with repressing them. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So I decided to try it. Whenever I wrote a negative thought in my notebook or on a piece of paper, I folded it up, placed it in an old shoe box, and then physically put it away.

A white shoebox is filled with multiple pieces of folded up paper.

BuzzFeed / Via Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

(Yeah, that piece that basically looks like a paper plane was not one of my best days, but I got through it.)

After a week or so, I couldn’t even remember the negative thoughts I put into the box. It was almost like they were no longer living rent-free in my mind — and I didn’t care where they went.

A white shoe box sits on a hardwood floor underneath a bed.

BuzzFeed / Via Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

Writing down the thoughts and physically removing them from my sight proved to be a process that I positively adapted to. I realized these thoughts were holding me back and cornering my full potential. And no one puts my potential in a corner.

Now, I am not saying I don’t still get mean (at times), but seeing the very literal accumulation of paper in that box made me more mindful about “littering” on my mental health.

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I owe it to myself to relinquish the litter bug that’s been cramping my mental health’s style.

And, as crazy as it sounds, 2020 actually gave me one very useful habit that I’ll take with me into the brand new year.

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Seriously, 2020, get TF out of here, but I’m keeping this little silver lining. I would recommend others to give it a try, too!

What’s a habit or practice that’s helped your mental health in the past? Tell me in the comments. ✏️


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