Building up on the enormous success of the original HappySelf Journal that was launched into the world in 2018, Francesca Geens took over a year to refine a new edition. Aimed at 12+/teen category and based on customer feedback, Francesca was assisted in research & production by her teen daughter. The new journal was launched in June and alongside my pre-teen son, I got to dive into it and explore.
The new journal comes in two colours – cobalt blue (seen above) and silver. While the suggested age is upward of 12+, it can also work for a more mature child among the youngsters, as well as adults keen to re-affirm their own positive habits. There is a smaller font and the page structure is different too, allowing for a more ‘open’ space on the page – to write or …. to doodle.
This daily journal was developed to help promote happiness, reinforce positive habits and nurture the inquisitive minds
Inside the soft cover with an elastic closure you will find three months of wonderfully illustrated pages. The journal is printed on 100gsm responsibly sourced paper and has a practical, lay-flat binding, making it easier for the user to fill the pages at the desk, on the floor, beanbag or the sofa.
According to my son (who is a pre-teen) the quotes from famous people -‘alive or dead’ – are something that he particularly enjoys, as well as the weekly review and planning ahead sections, that aren’t in the original HappySelf Journal. He liked a wider variety of ‘feelings’ emojis and the fact that there is more space for writing. You can see more of his thoughts on the subject in the image below – he shared it in his school’s newspaper, clearly an indication that it is not only something that he enjoys doing regularly, but thinks his school friends might enjoy using too.
As a mother, I noticed a change of mood in my children once pandemic spread its unpleasantly dangerous outreach. Alarming news reports from around the world were further upsetting our inner emotional state. Then we were put on lockdown in the UK – for the first time in my and certainly their lives. As time went by, my kids increasingly missed their friends, teachers and family members.
In addition to talking more about our emotions, both my son and daughter started putting their hand-skills to more use – not only playing board games, but writing stories, letters to friends and…journalling. So while it’s obvious that modern children, unlike their parents in their respective childhoods, are technology savvy and joined at the hip to their phones, laptops, game consoles and screens in general, it also became clear to me that using journals and putting their thoughts on paper is equally relevant to the young generation.
Personally, I like the weekly structure in-built into this HappySelf Journal. Not only it allows children to feel more grown-up and responsible about planning – even though we all had to ‘re-educate’ ourself recently about being in the moment and not making firm plans – but thinking of good individual habits and re-inforcing them. As opposed to a parent repeating good advice until he or she is blue in the face and the child annoyed and ignoring it. Daily or regular journalling prompts and encourages reflection, something that becomes particularly important, as teenagers face the onslaught of hormonal surges that effect both their bodies and brains.
Francesca also introduced some pages at the front of the journal, dedicated to morning and evening routines and advice on better structuring of the daily activities. From how teens spend their afternoons after school, socialising, sports and family-time during the weekends, to helping them be organised during periods of intense revision before tests and exams. Visually teenagers are also bound to appreciate and respond to a different illustration style and a section on positive habits. The journal hopefully becoming a safe place to write, process (‘this is me, “who I can count on’ ), reflect (” I am happiest when”) and vent – something that certainly helps children when they are struggling internally, but not necessarily ready to share or talk with an adult.
Truth be told, having observed my son using this journal every evening, without my prompting him to do so, and seeing how happy and calm it makes him, I might be tempted to give this version of HappySelf 12+ Journal a go myself .)
To find out more or to order The HappySelf 12+ Journal, please click here