There’s no doubt that journaling can be a helpful tool for personal development. When you write down your thoughts and feelings, you gain valuable insights into yourself and your life. Also, journaling helps you release pent-up emotions and reduce stress.
But does journaling really work?
I say it does! Here are 3 benefits you get when you get in the habit of journaling consistently.
1. GAIN INSIGHTS INTO YOURSELF
Journaling is an incredibly beneficial method to enhance self-awareness and self-discovery. When you take the time to document your thoughts and emotions, it enables you to perceive and comprehend recurring patterns and tendencies in your actions and reactions.
2. ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
If you’re working towards a goal, journaling can help you to stay on track. By writing about your progress and challenges, you can better understand what’s working and what isn’t. Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on your journey, gain insights into your actions, and make necessary adjustments or improvements along the way. So, grab a pen and a notebook, and embark on the transformative journey of journaling for goal achievement. You’ll be amazed at the positive impact it can have on your life.
3. IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
There is evidence to suggest that journaling can be beneficial for mental health. If you’re bottling up your emotions, it can be helpful to let them out through journaling. Writing down your thoughts and feelings about them will help you process them healthily and prevent them from causing problems in your life. Also, if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep due to mental health issues, journaling may be able to help.
Options for Journaling
There are many different options for journaling, such as pen, paper, and online journaling. You can also use other mediums for journaling, such as a notebook, computer, or phone. You can use apps that let you use your phone to journal too. The choice is yours. Of course, the right answer is the option you will use regularly.
If you want to start journaling, but don’t know where to begin, here are some tips:
Decide the type of journaling you want to do
Do you want to write about your day or track your thoughts and feelings? Choose what feels suitable for you because there is no one right answer. The type of journaling you choose may inform the medium you pick too.
Choose a medium that you’re comfortable with
If you prefer not to write, you can try using an app on your phone or even dictating your journal entries into a voice recorder.
Here are a few neat options for journaling you can consider:
- Pen and paper: This is the most classic journaling method and offers flexibility. You can use any paper you want, from lined to blank, and any pen or pencil you prefer. You can also decorate your pages however you like, with stickers, washi tape, or drawings.
- Digital Journal: This is the method that I am starting to use more. I create digital journals to use on my iPad. All the pages are hyperlinked so I can go quickly to the page I want and since I don’t have to print them, I can go crazy with clip art and bright colours and add digital stickers to make it even more fun.
- Art Journaling: Journaling with paint can be an enjoyable and creative way to express yourself. You can use any painting style you want — from watercolours to acrylics –and you can even mix mediums and add collages or drawings to your pages. You can also add words to your art journal spreads if you want, or you can keep them completely wordless.
Don’t try to use a method you will not like or use regularly. If a paper notebook or a voice recorder by your bed works best for you, do that. Don’t make it harder than it has to be and don’t think it has to be perfect to start. Just start where you are with what you have and change it up when you feel like it.
Set aside time each day to journal
Whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, find a time that works for you and stick to it. Choose a time that you always have available to devote to journaling. You only need five minutes to write your thoughts down for the day.
Be patient with yourself
Don’t expect perfect results from your journaling practice. The point is to get started and see where it takes you simply. Set a goal to do it for 30 days in a row so that you can judge how well it works for you.
Whether you use pen and paper, journaling apps, or choose to sculpt — or anything else — to capture your thoughts doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you use an option for journaling that works for your needs.
7 Journaling Techniques
Choosing the right journaling technique depends on your lifestyle and how you like to express yourself. Some people are more comfortable with artistic forms of expression, while others need different means and techniques. Do you know how you express yourself best? If not, try a few of these methods until something feels right to you. You know it’s right when you feel comforted, relaxed, and joyful after completing your daily journaling or looking at your past journals.
Here are seven journaling techniques that will make journaling more effective: lists, morning pages, bullet journaling, gratitude journaling, prompt journaling, voice journaling, and art journaling.
1. Lists: A great way to get started with journaling is simply making lists of things on your mind. This can be a list of things you need to do, things you’re grateful for, things that are stressing you out, or anything else on your mind. Getting these thoughts down on paper can help you to organize your thoughts and get a better handle on what’s going on in your life.
2. Morning pages: Morning pages are a journaling technique made popular by author Julia Cameron. The idea is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. This helps you get your thoughts and feelings out on paper so you can start your day with a clean slate.
3. Bullet journaling: Bullet journaling is a type of journaling that uses short, concise sentences or bullet points to capture thoughts and ideas. This method allows you to track your thoughts and ideas without getting bogged down in too much detail.
4. Gratitude journaling: Another great way to use your journal is to focus on gratitude. Every day, write down a few things that you’re grateful for. This lets you shift your focus to the positive things in your life and is a fabulous and joy-filled way to start your day on a positive note.
5. Prompt journaling: If you’re struggling to come up with things to write about, prompt journaling can be a great solution. A popular method is to choose a word or phrase and then write about it for five minutes. The prompt helps you get your creative juices flowing and gives you a great starting point for your journaling session.
6. Voice journaling: Another effective journaling technique is voice journaling. This involves recording yourself talking about your thoughts and feelings on a recorder or smartphone. You can then listen to these recordings and transcribe them into your journal. This way to capture your thoughts and feelings more naturally works for people who dislike writing and don’t want to use other hands-on methods.
7. Art journaling: If you’re looking for a more creative outlet for your journaling, art journaling may be proper for you. This involves using your journal as a blank canvas and filling it with drawings, paintings, or collages. This can be a great way to express your creative side and therapeutic activity.
Any of these journaling techniques can work for you. It’s up to you to choose the type of journaling that will work best for your lifestyle and personal needs. Think about how you like to express yourself and choose a method that works with your lifestyle. Consider trying something new, too; you never know what will work until you try.
What should I journal about?
Journaling effectively enables you to process your thoughts and emotions. As a result, it can help you better understand yourself and make positive changes in your life. Journaling is also a type of self-care, allowing you to relax and unwind.
When you consider what to journal about, understand that there are endless possibilities of things to write about. But the point of journaling is to help you with an issue you’re having.
Whether it’s to stick to your diet, learn a new language, or overcome your inconsistent actions, journaling will help. Instead of thinking about what to journal about, think about what you’re writing about and your purpose for keeping the journal. Then choose topics that are meaningful to you and will help you grow and reflect on your life.
But what should I journal about?
Record your daily events and thoughts
Recording events and thoughts every single day is a fabulous way to track your progress and see how your thoughts and behaviours change over time. It can also be helpful to look back on old entries to see how far you’ve come. Ensure you include dates and details so you can remember.
Set goals and track your progress
Goal setting is imperative for journaling to work. If you have specific goals you want to achieve, journaling helps you to stay on track and keeps you motivated. First, write down your goals, what you’re doing to achieve them, and your progress along the way. Then, take the time to review occasionally to see how far you’ve come.
Work through stressful or difficult situations
Writing about it in your journal can be incredibly therapeutic when dealing with a difficult or challenging situation. Expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper can provide a sense of relief and clarity, allowing you to better understand and navigate through the emotions that arise. Journaling can also help you develop a strategic plan of action to effectively address the issue at hand. By expanding upon your thoughts and reflecting on the situation in greater detail, you can foster personal growth and gain valuable insights into yourself and the circumstances you are facing.
Reflect on your successes and accomplishments
It is of utmost importance to celebrate and acknowledge your successes, regardless of their scale. Recording your achievements in a journal can serve as a powerful tool for introspection, helping you recognize your own potential and capabilities. By chronicling your wins, you create a space to reflect on them, reaffirming your abilities and fostering a positive mindset. Remember, even the smallest victories are worthwhile and deserving of recognition. Take the time to honour your accomplishments and embrace the motivation they bring.
Explore your creative side
Journaling can help you get the juices flowing if you’re feeling stuck creatively. Write down stream-of-consciousness style or try out different writing prompts to jumpstart your creativity.
Record actions on future goals
If you have a goal that you’re working toward, take the time to write about what you did each day toward that goal. Doing so enables you to reflect on your thoughts, improving future planning.
No matter what you choose to journal about, whether you’re seeking to increase your creativity or build better relationships, journaling can work for you. It also doesn’t matter what type of techniques you use. The important thing is that it brings you joy and helps you grow as the person you desire.
So regardless of your reasons for journaling, and no matter what you journal about, experiment to find what works for your journaling journey. But before you begin, you must believe that it works and that you’ve chosen the right way, then commit to taking action.
What to do with completed journals?
If you’re prolific enough, you may end up with a stash of journals you don’t know what to do with. Of course, you don’t have to do anything with them if you don’t want to.
You can keep them, save them, or trash them – it’s up to you. So here are several ideas to get your creative juices flowing about what to do with your completed journals.
Keep As a Record of Your Life and Progress
You can always keep your completed journals as a record of your life and progress. Keeping this record of your life allows you to monitor your growth and see how far you’ve come. In addition, they will make a good reference point in the future, should you ever need to look back on something.
Review and Reflect on Your Entries
Another option is to review and reflect on your entries after you’ve finished the journal. This can be a great way to learn from your past experiences and see what worked well for you and what didn’t. In addition, it enables you to identify patterns in your behaviour or thoughts.
Use them as a Prompt for Future Journals
You may also use your completed diaries as a stimulus for future writings. This might be an excellent method to sustain the writing habit and provide you with fresh ideas and themes to write about.
Give them to Someone Else
You may give your completed journal to someone else if you are unsure what to do with it. This can be an excellent method to share your stories with someone and assist them on their path.
Destroy or Discard
You may also choose to erase or trash your diary after you’ve finished using it. This is an acceptable option if you don’t want anyone else reading it or don’t want to keep it. Just ensure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not out of embarrassment or guilt.
Index Them for Future Use
If you want to keep your journals but don’t necessarily want them taking up space on your shelves, you can index them for future use. This means creating a system where you can quickly and easily find specific entries based on keywords or topics. You can then refer to these entries without having to page through the entire journal.
Use Them to Help You Write a Memoir
If you’re particularly reflective, you may want to use your journals to help you write a memoir. Memoirs allow you to share your story with others and leave a lasting legacy. Just be sure that you’re ready to share such personal information before you start writing.
Expand On Different Parts of Them
If there are specific entries in your journal that you find particularly interesting or insightful, you may want to expand on them in a separate writing project. This could be a great way to explore your thoughts and feelings in greater depth.
Consider all the factors as you decide what to do with your completed journals. For example, if something is damaging to yourself or others in the journals, shred them, but if there is uplifting information that others might need someday, save them for prosperity.
So, if you have been avoiding journaling because you weren’t sure where to start, there are a ton of tips above to help you. From different techniques to what you journal about, I’ve got you covered.