Inspiration How Journaling As A Therapy Can Lead To A Better Life

Ardak Kassenova

They say that we design our own lives. When we plan properly, each goal that we create and accomplish is a step towards where we want to be — in our best possible self: with a healthy body, sound mind, proper work-family-life balance, and our dreams just within arm’s reach.

However, getting the ideal life we want entails a lot of work, and tracking our progress seem to be this huge, insurmountable task that overwhelms our day to day. Juggling our thoughts, emotions, and personal well-being altogether, how do we overcome this?

The answer is simple: we journal.

What is journaling as a therapy?

“It’s a comprehensive methodology designed to help us capture, order, and examine our experience.” – The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future (by Ryder Carroll, Harper Collins Publishers, 2018)

Ideas come to us abruptly, and the life-changing ones are often sandwiched in between random thoughts. When we don’t capture them, we run the danger of losing them forever. Journaling is the habit of writing them down together with our to-do lists, everyday tasks, things we want to prioritize, big goals, etc. By doing so, we not only immortalize them, but we also allow an organization of thought process to take place.

Trivia: Did you know that our short term memory retains our thoughts for only three minutes?

Why is it extremely important?

Journaling as a therapy is an often overlooked way of dealing with our day to day, but scrapbooks, sketchbooks, and bullet journal layouts are visual representations of what’s going on inside our brains. They serve as the blueprint of our everyday lives.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Noémi Macavei-Katócz, Essentialism. Vancouver, 2018
You can have a journal for any aspect in your life that is important to you – Be it the meaning of your dreams, art ideas, parenting journey, business inspiration, health and fitness, cooking experiments, etc. You can also have a single journal for all of these things — it’s totally up to you! Still, the core idea remains: Journaling as a therapy declutters our mind, organizes our thoughts, processes our emotions, and helps us achieve our goals. It can help us build new habits, and ultimately design the lives we want to build for ourselves. Journaling is the most personal (and almost spiritual) gift that we can give ourselves. 

Living a life of intentionality

The practice of journaling as a therapy allows us to live a life of intentionality. It is where productivity and mindfulness meet, and our beliefs are aligned with our actions. When we write, we think on paper. Jotting down our random thoughts, to-do lists, and everyday reflections is a huge part of the positive-cognitive effects of journaling as a therapy. It is an act of attention that allows us to really grasp something from our minds and put it into words; cementing and integrating it to our inner selves.

Journaling as a therapy allows us to become aware of our thought process; to realize how we react to our surroundings. As we word out our thoughts and emotions, we make them tangible and see them from a broader perspective. From here, we can choose to create change as needed.

Staying positive, setting your goals, and creating a habit 

Life will always throw curveballs at us, but the answer to our happiness and positivity lies in our mindset. An attitude of gratitude, as we like to call it, is vital for growth. It is the practice of listing down what we are grateful for each day that passes, helping us remember the good things in our lives.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Sample Daily Gratitude layout for Bullet Journal from Hack Your Journal: Stay Organized and Record Everything That Matters With One Notebook. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, USA, 2018

We all have a different journey in life. But through journaling as a therapy, we help ourselves discover which goals we truly want and need to build according to who we are! Sounds exciting, right?

Do you want to develop a healthier lifestyle? Go back to painting? How about setting time dedicated to your overall well-being?

Thoughts become organized ideas when we write them down and put a structure to it. Once we have defined them, we can create our own schedule, habits, and practices of productivity. Small, constant steps make all the difference in achieving these goals.

How do I begin journaling as a therapy?

Here’s the secret: There is no right or wrong way to journal. In fact, you just need a notebook and a pen! Journaling as a therapy should help you assess all aspects of your life, and the best way to journal is to have one that is tailor-fit it to your personal needs. This is what Bullet Journaling is all about.

Here are some key concepts you should know before you begin:

  1. Your Bullet Journal can become anything you want it to be. Figuring out what you need it to be is part of your practice.
  2. Function over form. Your notebook does not have to be beautiful to be valuable. The design should always serve a purpose. If it also happens to be beautiful, great.
  3. Future-proof your design. Your notebooks tell the story of your life. Make sure your designs make that story easy to follow, both today and years from now.

– The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future (by Ryder Carroll, Harper Collins Publishers, 2018)

Which journal should I use to begin?

A good Bullet Journal is when form meets function. Flexible and adaptable, it must be the right size so you can bring it in your everyday bag. Soft yet sturdy, it must withstand all the writing that will go down in it. Bullet Journals usually have a grid, dot, and blank pages that can accommodate all forms of journaling that you desire!

Things to remember: Start simple, make it a daily habit, and be patient with yourself.

The creation of ZenART Supplies new line of Notebook Journals from the Modernista Series went through a meticulous brainstorming process. Not only were they outsourced ethically and mindfully, but we also made sure that they are of top-notch quality that can fulfil all your journaling needs.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layout

ZenART’s new line of vibrant Bullet Journals from the Modernista Series

Design & Thinking

I personally chose five vibrant colours that inspire happiness from within. You can choose from French Rose, Turquoise, Vermillion Orange, Lavender Blue, and Zesty Lime — all of which bring positive energy and optimism. With this selection, you may also choose a colour based on your personality traits. After all, our journals should make us feel happy and inspired every day.

One unique feature of our Bullet Journals are the charming traditional Japanese edging designs that we have. There are five different designs for each of the five colours together with their corresponding meanings.

  • French Rose – auspicious traditional Japanese plovers in bamboo, symbolizing prosperity, purity, and innocence;
  • Turquoise – a charming, traditional Japanese fox symbolizing great intelligence and good fortune;
  • Vermillion Orange – a design of surging sea waves, symbolizing good luck, power, resilience, and continued peaceful living;
  • Lavender Blue – a fine, traditional Japanese dragonfly, symbolizing a change in perspective and self-realization
  • Zesty Lime –  an elegant design of traditional Japanese cranes, symbolizing longevity, good fortune, and a happy marriage

Bullet journal layout, journaling as a therapy

Edging detail of ZenART’s new line of vibrant Bullet Journals from the Modernista Series

Through these meaningful edging designs, we wish you all the desires of your heart and that you may strive to fulfil them each day, with the help of these journals.

If you wish to read more symbolism on these colours and decide from there on, you will find a detailed discussion on the colour red symbolism here, and the meaning of colour yellow here.


ZenART’s bullet journals are composed of 80 sheets (160 pages) of dotted ivory paper ideal for planning, sketching, free-writing. The paper used is acid-free and ink-proof, which means it won’t suffer from feathering when you use a fountain pen (or any similar tool) to write on it! With a gsm 100, it can also withstand ink-bleeds and the pressure of felt pens, markers, and brush pens. The journals are really flexible, with a B5 size (7 x 10” ) which is not too small to freely write your thoughts, and not too big to be carried around everywhere. Each journal includes 4 indexing pages, an inner back pocket, bonus archiving label stickers for keeping track of things, and two bookmark ribbons to help you find your desired pages quickly.

With its 180° lay-flat and stay open design, you can get a bird’s eye view of your notes because our journals lie completely flat on the surface. It’s also designed with a perfectly aligned continuous grid across both sides of the page – making bullet journaling easier and faster for you.


I also made sure that our journals are all eco-friendly and biodegradable. The cover is made of a PU faux leather suitable for vegans, is water-resistant, and easily cleaned and maintained. The archival quality paper is easily recyclable, too!

I always strive to be mindful of our creations. All product lines from ZenART Supplies are made specifically to add value to the lives of those who wish to pursue creativity, mindfulness, and a more positive outlook in life. With these journals, my wish is to help people design and build the lives that they want for themselves.

How about you? Do you already have your own Bullet Journal? Which one of these colours from the new line do you like best? Let me know in the comments! :)) 

Ways of using the Bullet Journal Method

In order to be on top of things, we need to actively set aside time dedicated to our happiness. Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal method, advises us to journal both in the morning and at night in order to fully reflect on our day.

  1. Upon waking up in the morning, write down your thoughts over the night and any special dreams you might have had. How does it relate to your conscious life? Do you think your dreams are trying to tell you something?
  2. To put an order to your schedule, set your goals plans for the day: work, personal, business, fitness, what have you. Assign a specific period of time for each task and focus on that. Keep your journal closeby so you can jot down your ideas throughout the day.
  3. At night, have a run-through review of your notes and accomplishments for that day. Here, you can see a clear image of your thoughts, which things you prioritized and accomplished, and how your day went overall.
For artists & creative students

A creative mind is constantly brewing ideas, and the usual challenge is organizing these thoughts. As an artist, putting down your ideas on paper can declutter your mind. By doing so, you also provide yourself with a mental inventory that sees which tasks you need to focus on first, and which ones you can save for a later date. You can then organize your work schedule, designated work and concept flow, and ideas for execution! In the next section, we will provide you with sample ideas on how to get these ideas going on your Bullet Journal.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

 ZenART’s French Rose Bullet Journal from the Modernista Series

For creative parents

Practising creative parenthood is one of the most challenging yet fun things you can do while your children are growing up. For this, you can have a habit tracker for your arts & crafts-related activities to ensure that you and your child spend time doing these things. With the bullet journal method, you can check your progress on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis! Fill up your journal with sketches, doodles, inspirational learnings, and short reflections. This will also encourage them to unleash their creative juices and will build a stronger bond between you. In this article, I discuss the ways on how art and creativity (in general) can enrich modern motherhood.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Notes to self, written on my ZenART Journal Notebook

Getting inspiration for your bullet journal layouts

There are lots of sample bullet journal layouts available both online and offline for inspiration, but the main purpose of journaling as a therapy should still be centred on your personal needs. It must work for you! Below, I will provide you with some sample templates that you can use to start your journey towards journaling as a therapy.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Things to remember: Start simple, make it a daily habit, and be patient with yourself.” user=”zenartsupplies” hashtags=”zenartsupplies” template=”light”]

Monthly Layout

By using this layout, you can get a quick look at how your whole month should look like. Track your monthly activities for work and personal life, and plan things ahead of time so your schedule can stay organized. You may set a monthly goal for your personal well-being and use this monthly layout to check if you are able to fulfil your goals.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Monthly layout for my ZenART Supplies Bullet Journal notebook 

Words to live by

You can use this page to write down all the new lessons you’ve learned, inspirational quotes you’ve come across, and valuable lessons that you’ve gained. This especially helps with parenting, where there’s always something new to learn every day. You grow as a parent individually, and you help your children grow into their own person.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Sample layout for quotes/inspirational words spread for Bullet Journal from Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide To Practical and Creative Planning by Rebecca Spooner, New York, USA, 2018

Goal tracker

No dream is too big and no goal is too impossible to achieve. With the help of a goal tracker, you can see how much work you’ve done in your daily grind. Build the habit of doing something to reach your goal every day, and write it down in this bullet journal layout. Cut yourself some slack, and pat yourself on the back for working towards your goals relentlessly!

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Sample goal tracker layout for Bullet Journal from Hack Your Journal: Stay Organized and Record Everything That Matters With One Notebook. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, USA, 2018

Sleep tracker

Productivity begins with getting proper rest. Track the time you spend recuperating and rejuvenating with this spread. You can also put short notes on the quality of sleep you had for that night. With having a bullet journal layout dedicated for tracking your sleep, you can have an overview of your restful days for that certain week or month, depending on the amount of work that you did.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Sample sleep tracker layout for Bullet Journal from Hack Your Journal: Stay Organized and Record Everything That Matters With One Notebook. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, USA, 2018

Creative Weeklies

One of our most favourite bullet journal layouts! In this spread, you can express yourself without words. How are you feeling this week? Which colours did you gain a new appreciation for? Sometimes, a whole week of writing down words and to-do lists can be tiring, so a bit of creative relief is what we need to break this. You can also paste cut-outs, create collage works, and doodle away. There are no rules for this. Be as creative as you want to be.

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Journaling as a therapy, bullet journal layouts

Sample layout creative weeklies spread for Bullet Journal from Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide To Practical and Creative Planning by Rebecca Spooner, New York, USA, 2018

How fun are these bullet journal layout ideas? It would even be more exciting to try them out for yourself! Before we end, I’ve added yet another bonus: in this article, I also discussed some tried and tested ways how you can find more inspiration for your art. You can incorporate these techniques in your bullet journal layouts, too!

Happy journaling, everyone! I truly hope that this article helps you in getting those bullet journal layouts going. Fill those blank pages with unending spreads of inspiration tailor-fit for you, and enjoy the creative process!

Need an incentive to get started with journaling as a therapy? Share how you use your journal and how you design your theme/template, and get inspired by others following the #zenartsupplies hashtag!

Further readings:

  • Carroll, Ryder, The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future, Harper Collins Publishing, 2018
  • Spooner, Rebecca, Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide To Practical and Creative Planning, Mixed Media Resources, 2018
  • Hack Your Journal: Stay Organized and Record Everything That Matters With One Notebook. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, USA, 2018


Ardak Kassenova, ZenART Supplies co-founder, @ardak_zenartArdak Kassenova is mother, artist and ZenART Supplies co-founder. “My heart and soul were always with Art, and since my childhood as long as I remember myself, I was dreaming to be an artist. I was painting after work, when I had time, and teaching myself through the books, videos, visiting art galleries and museums. I’ve been very curious about different techniques and styles, and therefore accumulated knowledge and experience on a variety of mediums”. 

After 20 years of a successful corporate career and with becoming a mother to two wonderful girls, she decided that it’s time to make drastic changes and link her life with Art. She started to paint again and decided to create her own art supplies brand that would help artists to fulfil their creative dreams and achieve their best results since the beginning using high-quality art materials without wasting their precious time and money. Say hello to @ardak_zenart on Instagram!


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