If you’re a teen looking for an interactive self-help journal that focuses on mindfulness, I’d recommend Lisa M. Schab’s Put Your Feelings Here. Schab’s journal uses research-based dialectical behavioral therapy (or DBT). DBT emphasizes increasing emotional tolerance and promotes effective communication.
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How the Interactive Journal for Teens Works
The majority of the journal relies on the concept of mindfulness: you recognize what you’re feeling without judgement and release any negative feelings you may have. The idea is to focus on what you’re feeling and why, but it has you identify these in many different and creative ways.
You’ll be asked to do a variety of things, such as imagine yourself as a thundercloud ready to pour. Then you write down what you need to rain out.
You may create encouraging phrases or words you may need to hear right then. Or you may even write all the negativity that you want to leave behind in a square, tear the square out, and toss it in a trashcan.
Then walk away from that negativity without looking back.
Put Your Feelings Here also features motivational quotes and problem-solving methods. Not every page asks you to “think deep”, some of them ask you to identify what’s bothering you and then think of a few ways to help solve or fix it.
There is still thinking required, but it asks different questions so you can identify different emotions you may be feeling instead of focusing on the same ones all the time.
Even though some of the prompts require more “creativity” than others, there’s no actual skill or “creative talent” required. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR journal to use as you please and write what you want.
I personally groan whenever I find a prompt that asks me to draw, but you don’t have to draw if you don’t want to or can make the most imperfect sketch you wish.
It’s your own personal mindful sandbox.
What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is centered around identifying and adjusting negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral habits.
The method specifically focuses on four life skills: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and effective communication.
Through DBT, you can learn to feel intense emotions without impulsively reacting. Instead, you recognize your emotions and adjust them so you aren’t drowning in them. You also learn to be more present and attentive, as well as navigate social conflicts and interactions.
About the Author: Lisa M. Schab, LCSW
Lisa M. Schab is a licensed clinical social worker – someone who works with clients that can help with coping with mental and emotional health issues. She has authored many other self-help books and workbooks for children, teens, and adults. She also conducts self-help workshops and training seminars for professionals.
My Personal Thoughts on Put Your Feelings Here
My favorite part of Put Your Feelings Here has to be how Schab organized it. There’s the perfect balance between a colorful yet minimalist style, and it isn’t too bland or overwhelming in terms of content or organization.
It’s unlike many other mindfulness journals in that it’s not the same spread of questions. Instead, it is creative in how it encourages you to think. It’s not too bland and blank, but it’s not too overwhelming in style either.
Overall, I definitely recommend Put Your Feelings Here for anyone interested in a more creative way to be mindful. Don’t think because it’s a “journal for teens” that you have to be a teen to use it! It’s the perfect no-judgement space in a no-judgement book where you can do whatever you want whenever you want.