I started journaling because I wanted to express my unspeakable, hidden thoughts and write them down to feel better. And whenever I do I feel better, calmer with a clearer mind.
Writing is a beautiful way of expressing yourself and has a lot of advantages. You just need a journal book and a pen.
The fact that will express inner thoughts more when you write than when you speak makes it better. Because at that moment, it’s just you and the book and pen, nobody will judge you or make you deprive you of your emotions.
Here I will in simple terms, explain journaling, why journaling is good for you, journaling styles you can start, and how to start with journaling.
Now let’s get started!
Why do you need to journal?
There are benefits attached to writing down your thoughts, though you might experience them differently depending on the pattern and frequency of your practice.
Journal is great with self-processing; you are getting rid of excess doubts, fear, and worries that overwhelm your mental storage. Writing down your thoughts, you compress, delete and declutter your mental storage to feel better.
You build self-awareness
When you put words on the page, it will help you see your thoughts for what they are. Are you dealing with anger, an inferiority complex, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and resilience? Journaling will help you understand yourself and be more aware of yourself.
Synthesize your thoughts
When you write, it helps you think more clearly by forcing you to streamline what you are feeling and why you are feeling it.
With constant writing down your thoughts, you are more aware and able to understand yourself. And when you understand yourself better, it becomes easier to make decisions in life that align with your goals, values, and priorities.
Remember I told you, journaling to me is taking time for myself, to sit down with a pen and a notebook, and write about whatever I feel to write about.
I believe there shouldn’t be strict rules, for journaling. But, there are some helpful tips, which will help to focus on a certain topic you want to deal with and get real results.
To give you an idea of what Journaling can look like, I would like to introduce you to three common Journal approaches: Here are a few styles of journaling you can get started with for yourself;
This approach is a very common journaling style and easy to start with. Sometimes you wouldn’t know you are already practicing it, especially during prayer when you’re grateful to God for all things. It is effective in healing emotional wounds.
You start practicing a gratitude journal when you write down what you are grateful for and why you are grateful for those things.
You will need a deep focus on a few important things first, starting with people in your life you are grateful for than for material things.
Once a day (at the end of the day, before you sleep) write down a few things that you’re grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal helps groom a positive mindset, and emotions and reduce stress.
This kind of Journal means to write down whatever you have in your mind. Anything in your head. You can write down some pages after waking up, in the evening to reflect on the day or 30-60 minutes every weekend to reflect on the week.
Reflective journaling works through your mind, to help you navigate issues you are facing in your daily life.
This style of journaling instantly helps to feel calmer and makes space for more productivity. So start writing, write whatever comes to your mind. It could be;
- What good things happened today or this week?
- What challenges did you face today or this week?
- Was your time well-spent in ways that align with your priorities, values, and goals?
- What are struggles and challenges?
- How do you move forward?
The style of the journal takes you on a different level of self-discovery, awareness, and improvement.
Goal Journal keeps you focused on your personal life goals. You start by writing down long-term future goals, then split these long-term goals into short-term goals, while further breaking the short-term goals into daily goals, just to will help to achieve your long-term goals.
You’ll be able to self-track your goals on a daily/weekly basis and write down progress reports in a notebook.
In doing so, you might ask yourself;
- what you accomplished to realize your goals.
- When did I hit a setback?
- What was the reason in case of a setback?
In this case, refocus on your goals, value every little step you reached so far, and continue to work towards your targets
Just have it in mind, there’s no right or wrong way in practicing any style of journaling. Just take up a pen and paper, the act of writing will bring about new ideas, thoughts, and insights, and foster a greater connection with yourself.
Are you strictly a morning journaler? You’ll love this.
You write down how you want your day to look. Create the day you want to live by priming yourself within the first hour of waking up.
It all starts with a simple question:
- What can I do today to make it a great day?
- What can do I need to achieve a great day?
And a simple answer then you’re good to go for the whole day. But you must be an early riser so you can effectively practice your morning intentions.
Create your personal journaling style
Whatever may be your style preference in journaling, please make it about yourself and feel comfortable with it. Because journaling is about self-reflection and spending time with your mental self. So there’s no good or right or wrong approach to start. Neither is there the best style to choose from.
For me, I like a little mix of all the Journal styles I’ve mentioned above especially so I don’t get bored.
If you intend to journal every day you might not feel like writing about the same things every day, but at least once a week.
So what you can do is focus on goals and progresses once a week. While the other days you can write about things you have in mind and you want to get out of your head.
How can I start journaling?
It’s pretty simple! It’s just you, sitting down with a pen/paper or keyboard in hand, and start writing. It’s a journey, that will need consistency, and focus while transforming your intangible thoughts into concrete and visible words.
I am more of the analog type while journaling because I prefer to write in a physical notebook with a pen to create an ideal environment for thinking and reflection.
While most people spend all day on the computer which can be filled with distractions. I don’t support the digital idea of journaling because you won’t be able to narrow your thoughts down.
Get yourself a notebook
Get a notebook, you can purchase it online or already have an old book. But it should be blank and unused. You’ll make this notebook your happy place.
At all times, you must leave it clean, and be creative about your thoughts- draw some colorful paintings, and add some pictures. Do what you like and create this book the way it makes you feel good.
Choose a suitable time pattern
Taking out 10-15 min every day for Journaling is not bad, or even more, depending on how whirling your emotions are.
I prefer to journal in the evening to reflect on the day’s activity, my struggles, victories, and challenges.
Some people like to journal in the morning to start their day with some nice words and by setting intentions for the day. While some practice both morning and night.
Try either time pattern, to find out which pattern you love most. No matter which time pattern you choose, the important thing is to be consistent.
Your first page of the journal will be to write down 10-20 uplifting and motivating affirmations and quotes, which you will read every morning to yourself.
Your quotes must focus on your strengths and what you wish to achieve about yourself while journaling.
That’s it and you’re good to go. Happy Journaling fam!