7 Tips on Having a Mental Glow Up (& Using Your Journal to Help)

Over the past couple of years, we’ve all had to get used to a lot of changes. We’ve endured lockdowns, and many of us have transitioned to work from home life. And as we did, we saw ourselves on Zoom or passed our household mirrors too many times to count. It sparked the age of ‘the glow up,’ and if Instagram is any indication, it seems many of us came out of lockdown with gorgeous skin and a banging bod.

While a physical glow is great for self confidence, is it possible we forgot that glowing up from the inside out is the ultimate goal?

In my own case, the transformation I underwent in my own life when shut away was all mental.

The way I looked at the world, my self-belief, my self awareness and relationship with myself and others…it all changed during my own glow up process.

If you’re ready to glow up mentally yourself, then look no further.

Below I share my tried and tested tips on having a mental glow up, so you can become the best version of yourself.

collage of a woman writing in her journal with text at the bottom that says how to have a mental glow up.

What is a Mental Glow Up and How Can You Glow Up Mentally?

A mental glow up is when you nurture and transform your mental well-being for the better. It’s different from a physical glow up you may have seen on social media, and is more focused on personal growth. With a physical glow up, you might focus on physical self care, like working out, body shape, or gaining an actual physical glow with healthy skin. But when you glow up mentally, the work starts from the inside, and the results – improved self confidence, self awareness, health stress management, good mental health, and more – lasts for the rest of your life.

The Difference Between a Physical and a Mental Glow Up

A physical glow up is all about physical self care. This includes basics such as showering, having a bath, wearing clothes you like, or working out, and targeting more specific issues you want to change, which can run the gamut of physical appearance issues like getting rid of dark circles, cutting out junk food, or trying to tame your oily skin once and for all. It’s all about self improvement in terms of your appearance, and can also include your overall health from a physical health perspective.

A mental glow up is something you do to develop a deeper connection with yourself and cultivate a healthy mindset. It means not just acting like your own best friend but being your own best friend, and working through ways you can have more confidence, manage stress levels in a healthy way, and general emotional transformation and self improvement. The way you do that is by changing your mindset to think and interact with the world with a positive outlook. It’s something you can work on with a professional, such as a therapist or a professional coach, or something you can work on on your own.

What Are the Benefits of Mental Glow Ups?

Mental glow ups can help you develop a positive mindset – if you’re struggling with negative thoughts and thought cycles, then working on your own self talk can be life-transforming.

They can help you work through trauma – I know the word ‘trauma’ sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a word, like ‘microwave.’ Easy, right? Okay, I’m kidding, but past experiences weigh heavy on the heart, and processing them properly can make your soul feel lighter and free up mental space.

A mental glow up can help you break through limiting beliefs – limiting beliefs are things you tell yourself that simply aren’t true. For example, ‘I’m never going to be successful,’ or ‘I’ll get married one day, but it will probably end in divorce.’ When you work on your mindset, you break these judgments and feel confident to unlock your full potential.

Mental glow ups encourage a more nurturing relationship with yourself – learning to take care of yourself physically is pretty black and white (even though it’s hard). But caring for yourself mentally? Well, that’s a different ball game. 

However, when you understand how to treat yourself lovingly, it creates a more nurturing relationship with yourself and shines from the inside out.

They can help you develop better relationships – having a mental glow up is an incredible gift for those around you. You have more patience, trust, and love to give. If you are compassionate, you bestow your kindness onto others.

Scrabble tiles spell out "Love Yo Self" against a colorful multicolored textured beaded background

How to Mentally Glow Up (Using Your Journal to Help)

Make Your Journal Your Best Friend

Writing your thoughts on paper is an incredible way to improve your relationship with yourself. Brain-dumping what you’re thinking not only clears up mental head clutter and enhances wellbeing, but it’s a chance to see how you’re talking to yourself.

For example, if you constantly write down that you’ll never find love and don’t know what to do with your life, you can do something about it – maybe even via a letter to the universe! Identifying that you’re being unkind to yourself helps to break negative thought cycles, and recognizing that you feel lost allows you to do something about it.

Some Glow Up Mentally Journal Prompts to Try:

  • How am I talking to myself right now?
  • What are some common words I’m using? Are they positive or negative?
  • How can I be kinder to myself in this journal and in my everyday life?
  • Have I written about things I’m struggling with? What support and self care can I give myself?

Read Self-Growth Books (They Can Change Your Relationship With Yourself)

Reading for self-growth is a form of self-love because it holds the potential to change your mindset.

One of my favorites to foster my own mental glow is Radical Compassion by Tara Brach (I’ve mentioned this book before, and I’ll mention it again because it’s soooo good). It completely blew my mind because it taught me a lifelong lesson about self love and being kind to myself. If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety or depression and is captive to their own thoughts, then give this one a go as party of your wellness journey and to develop a mentally healthy glow.

If a non fiction book feels daunting, then try reading one page a day. You’re still making progress and committing to a mental glow up, but you’re making it achievable within the confines of your everyday life.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Choose the Right Books for a Mental Glow Up

  • What area of my life do I want to improve the most?
  • Where am I struggling, and what kind of book will support me most?
  • What are the top three self-growth books I like the look of?

Check out my complete list of books that will change your life (Coming soon).

Set Realistic Expectations (It Builds Trust With Yourself)

So often, the people who disappoint us the most are ourselves. Sounds strange, right? Yet it makes a lot of sense. You might have an unrealistic expectation of yourself or someone else. For example, you aim to switch from drinking a tonne of Coca-Cola to only water in two days. Then you feel disappointed when you don’t achieve it (because that’s an unreasonable thing to ask of yourself – habit change can take awhile!).

You’ve broken your promise and commitment, which doesn’t feel great. Your inner child loses your trust because you are saying one thing about your personal growth, but doing another.

Instead of constantly breaking your own heart, choose an achievable goal and forgive yourself for mistakes. It helps build trust because you’re proving that you are committing to something meaningful and following through.

Journal Prompts to Set Realistic Expectations for a Mental Glow Up Challenge

  • Can I feasibly achieve this goal in the timeframe I’ve given?
  • What are some ways I can make reaching this goal easier?
  • How can I be kind to myself when I slip up or don’t quite reach my expectation?
Lightbox on top of a flower arrangement with text that says # Take Care of Yourself

Try Therapy for a Mental Health Glow Up (Whatever Kind Suits You)

I know everyone bangs on about therapy, but it was utterly transformative for me. It helped me understand why I make bad decisions, where my thought processes came from, and my black-and-white beliefs.

Therapy was empowering because it gave me the perspective of how hard I was on myself and how much I had achieved. It helped me work through tough memories, learn to nurture myself, stop hating who I was, and accept who I am.

Talking therapy isn’t for everyone, but there are many kinds to suit most people. Art, drama, and dance therapy are great if you find talking difficult. There’s also CBT and EMDR therapy and a list of other kinds to discover. 

Practice Positive Affirmations (It Helps Rewire Negative Thinking)

Your brain can’t distinguish between lies and the truth, reality and fiction. What does that mean? Basically, you can say anything, and if you say it enough times with genuine conviction, you will believe it.

Typically, people use this superpower negatively. For instance, you might say, ‘I am fat. I’m not smart. I will never find love.’ Your feed your brain negative affirmations, and, as a result, it believes you. You may have also been told negative affirmations as a child, such as, ‘You’re too emotional, you can’t draw, you’re ugly.’ These are usually where your misguided self-beliefs come from.

The good news is you can flip this around and tell yourself positive thoughts instead, which helps you glow up mentally in a big way.

A great way to do it is by sticking post-it notes up around the house, reading affirmations out loud several times a day, and doing positive thinking exercises. If you work on a view consistently, you can rewire something negative into something good in about three weeks.

Not too shabby, huh?

Positive Affirmations for a Mental Glow Up

  • I am loved.
  • I am safe.
  • I am capable.
  • I always achieve what I want.
  • Every day, I make good choices that will benefit me in the future.

Stop People-Pleasing (A.K.A Put Yourself First)

Being a people pleaser often leads to burnout, resentment, and always putting yourself at the back of the line. You might say yes to something even though you’re busy or simply never give yourself a break because you constantly push your limitations to do what others want.

Self care, such as taking a break, nourishing your body with healthy foods, and having a spa day, is one thing. But it’s another to break the people pleaser, carer cycle. When you start respecting and recognizing the true value of yourself, you won’t have to try and refill your cup. You’ll do it automatically.

Here are some great ways to break the people-pleasing cycle for a permanent mental glow up:

  • Set boundaries – ask yourself, what do I keep doing that doesn’t make me feel good? It could be visiting family too often, which is tiring you out. Feel out your limitations and stick to them.
  • Break the habit of giving a reason whymany people feel the need to justify their actions or decisions (I certainly did, and it’s something I’m still working on). But as soon as you follow a ‘no’ up with, ‘because…’ you’re fighting a losing battle. You’re never going to please everyone, and they might chip away at you to change your mind. Instead, try saying, ‘I can’t go,’ or ‘No,’ then embrace that awkward silence…
  • Keep track of your people-pleasing habits in your journal – it’s not very fair to tell someone to go from a lifelong people-pleaser to a person who confidently puts themselves first without feeling a truckload of anxiety and guilt. A great way around this is journaling instances of people-pleasing. Who was it with, what was the situation, and how did you feel afterward?

Have a Social Media Declutter

You know that saying, you are what you eat? Well, you are what content you consume on social media. If you follow influencers who use unrealistic filters, alter their body image, or only have a highlight reel, it’s hard not to compare yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy, but it’s also detrimental to a mental glow up.

Unfollow everyone who you find yourself wishing you had their looks or lifestyle. That includes friends, although you don’t have to unfollow them. Instead, hide their posts from your feed and check them out when you want. If you’re super addicted, uninstall social media apps from your phone for a few days.

A Mental Glow Up is About Working on Yourself From the Inside, Not Your Physical Appearance

If you are genuinely committed to transforming yourself, all the major work comes from the inside. Unlike physical appearance, it’s ever-lasting, but it also impacts how you present yourself by giving you the confidence to love and accept who you are without judgment. Try some of these tips to glow up mentally in your own life – you deserve it!

Ready to Glow Up Mentally? If You Enjoyed this Article, You Might Also Like:

10+ Inspiring Books To Improve Every Aspect Of Your Life

6 Positive Thinking Exercises You Can Do In Your Journal

131 Gratitude Journal Prompts To Use In Your Journaling Practice

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Emma Carey
Emma Carey
Emma Carey is a freelance blogger. She writes about mental health, personal development, and wellness. Readers relate to her life struggles while being offered practical and compassionate advice to become a better human. Emma has a passion for organization, mainly to tame her chaotic life, but also because she thoroughly enjoys pens.

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