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What is Journaling? 65 Journal Ideas, Tips & Benefits

Examples of Journaling  are everywhere but what exactly is Journaling?

  What is Journaling?


Journaling is a written record of our thoughts & feelings. There are really not any rules although most journaling is a daily exercise. Journaling is a way to track everyday life. Figuring out what make us tick and happy or upset.


Creating a meaningful connection with ourselves is as important as creating meaningful connections with family or friends.


Benefits of journaling


University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health & memory.


Benefits of journaling include


  • Managing anxiety
  • Reducing stress
  • Coping with depression
  • Journaling helps you to prioritize your problems & fears
  • Tracking your problems daily helps to see what are the triggers and how to be aware and solve them more effectively
  • Journaling helps to identify negative thoughts and behaviors
  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings & get to know yourself better.
  • Journaling allows us to see our problems with more clarity & a new perspective on things that are happening daily in our life.

Importance of keeping a journal


Journaling allows you to track patterns, improvement and changes over time. Looking back at previous entries you will be able to see problems that you’ve been able to overcome.

Being reminded of the strength that you had in other situations helps us to move forward with more confidence.


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How to start journaling


We start journaling the same way that we do anything, by doing! I like to have inspiration from different sources as a starting point. I usually save some ideas on my phone or visit Pinterest or Instagram for visuals. If you enjoy doodles or drawings then have some of those supplies handy. Some very simple journal templates to download for free.


Why do we write? To label our emotions and concretely look at them to get them out of our heads. There are many ways to do that, but a journal and pens or pencils are required! check out these best sellers on Amazon.


Thick Classic Notebook with Pen Loop – Lemome A5 Wide Ruled Hardcover Writing Notebook with Pocket + Page Dividers Gifts, Banded, Large, 180 Pages, 8.4 x 5.7 in

LEATHER JOURNAL Writing Notebook – Antique Handmade Leather Bound Daily Notepad For Men & Women Unlined Paper 7 x 5 Inches,

Journal Planner Pens Colored Pens Fine Point Markers Fine Tip Drawing Pens Porous Fineliner Pen for Bullet Journaling Writing Note Taking Calendar Agenda Coloring Art Office Supplies (18 Colors)



How to write a journal


Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Just start, use one of our prompts and just start! My favorite way is by doing a brain dump, this means that I write down everything that I am thinking about at that moment.

I also enjoy having my journal on my nightstand.  This way if I cannot sleep, I write down my thoughts  and that usually makes it much easier to fall back to sleep.

The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.


“Keeping a journal helps you establish order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. It helps you get to know yourself by revealing your innermost fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time, a time when you de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing—maybe with a cup of tea. Look forward to your journaling time, and know that you’re doing something good for your mind and body.”
-Ballas, Paul, DO
-Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN


Journaling tips


Try these tips to help you get started with journaling

Encourage yourself to write in your journal regularly, set aside a few minutes every day. Try what works best for you, either early in the morning or before bed may work best. Make it simple. Keep your journal and pen handy at all times so that when you want to jot down your thoughts, you can. You can also do this digitally, whatever works for you!

This belongs to you and you alone so write whatever you want. Let the words flow freely without worrying about mistakes or structure. Adding doodles, watercolors or drawings is a fun way to add your personality to your journal!


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Journaling ideas

We have a list of some journaling prompts that may resonate with you that can be a single page in your journal or a series within the pages.

You can start with the prompt “What am I thinking?”

  • Your motivations.
  • Your struggles.
  • Grief that you want to process.
  • Things that you regret.
  • Your intentions for a better life.
  • Things that you have accomplished.
  • List of what you are grateful for.
  • Spiritual questions and thanks.
  • Your desires.
  • Your dreams.
  • Unraveling problematic relationships.
  • Adventures past and future.
  • What you are proud of.
  • Bucket lists.
  • Relationship goals.
  • Family goals.
  • Quotes- Add inspirational quotes, love quotes, or motivational quotes. These make great additions to every journaling idea page.
  • What do you want your life to look like in 5 years?
  • What are your fears?
  • Elaborate on a special memory.
  • Plan random acts of kindness.
  • Write questions that you have about life.
  • Most important lessons that you have learned in your life so far.
  • Write a letter to a stranger, sometimes it’s easier to tell your thoughts to an imaginary stranger. This exercise helps to put your words into a conversation.
  • Write a letter to your past self.
  • Write a letter to your future self.
  • Write a letter to forgive (whether you send or not, it’s an exercise for you to explain why you are forgiving a person or asking for forgiveness.)
  • Write a letter to your children to read in the future.
  • Favorite travel destinations to visit.
  • What are your long term goals for your life?
  • Things that you are happy about your relationship.s
  • Things that need improvement with your relationships.
  • Best childhood memories.
  • Favorite comfort foods.
  • Your ideal day.
  • What makes you happy?
  • What hobbies do you want to learn?
  • What are your best traits?
  • Anything you would like to confess?
  • Your favorite family or holiday traditions.
  • What have been the happiest times of your life?
  • If you could be anyone famous or at the top of their field, who would you want to be?
  • What would you do or create if money was no object?

Examples of journaling


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examples of journaling pic

Types of Journals


There are many types of journals, each can be a separate book or a section within the larger journal. Make the type of journal that is most important to you. Something that you want to dive into with more detail. Some ideas to get you started.


Food journal


This type of journal is perfect for keeping a record of the foods you’re eating or of recipes that you would like to try. This could be for weight loss or to find out a specific allergy. So often we eat mindlessly and by the act of writing down, helps us to see where we can make improvements. This is a great way for athletes to see where they are lacking in nutrition and where they need to make changes.


Writing journal


This type of journal is great for the aspiring writer. You can add a rough draft of ideas for books or articles. The key to becoming a great writer is to practice daily, so add some writing prompts to help with that exercise. This is also great for songwriters to keep a record of lyrics or melodies as they pop into their heads.


Exercise journal


This type of journal can include your exercise routine and what you would like to add to increase your results. Measurements, nutrition and recipes can be added to give a well rounded wellness journal.


Pregnancy journal


Many women want a record of the details of this very special time. Anything from the emotional aspects of writing notes to the little one to the physical details of the pregnancy. Recording how you are feeling & what you are going through helps to be in the “now.” It’s a sweet addition to add your thoughts about your baby and to record the excitement that you are experiencing.


Gratitude journal


This is a popular one. A gratitude journal is used by celebrities and self improvement gurus everywhere. Its popular because it creates many of the benefits that we talk about above. Being aware of what we are grateful for reminds us of “the good” and breaks the cycle of any negative thoughts.

You can do the gratitude journal at night and write down the things that you’re thankful for that happened that day. This type of journal helps to foster feelings of appreciation & happiness, especially when you practice regularly.



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Travel journal


Keep a written & visual record of places that you visit & people that you’ve met. Add receipts or tickets from events to make your book multimedia. The difference of using this type of record vs. just photos, is that it adds a richer experience. Details that are often forgotten come rushing back when included as part of your journal. Looking at my journal with metro maps and tickets from restaurants that I had visited adds so much more to the memory.


Prayer journal


Many people find comfort in prayer and scripture. This is a way to put your thoughts and questions on paper to reflect on. Many also add passages and things that they are grateful for into their journal.


Time Capsule


That moment in time…
Create a time capsule of important moments of a defined time period. This could be great for any life milestones, such as your child’s early years before school. Your graduation year memories or retirement would also be great time capsules. I wish I would have done this more for my own milestones, you don’t realize how fast time goes!


What is a Bullet Journal?


Or Bujo for short. Bullets are used and are short-form sentences paired with symbols that visually categorize your entries into: Tasks, Events, or Notes. A bullet journal is more often lists.  Lists of things to do and the organizing your life.

Symbols help to organize and  many people use with colorful markers to color code different activities. Collections are lists, reminders, notes, doodles & schedules used to organize your bullet journal.


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Reflective journal example


A reflective journal is a personal journal in which you reflect on the moments of your life that have had or are having an impact on you. It allows you to write about what you have learned from those experiences.

Describe & Examine

  1. What actually happened in the situation?
  2. How do you feel about the experience?
  3. What is my assessment or interpretation of the experience?
  4. What can I learn from this moment?
  5. What improvements can I make?

Reflective journal download

Below is a picture of the Reflective Journal page that you will receive from the link above. The 8.5″ x 11″ landscape page is shows two days, so you can print as many as you like. There are seven reflective journal prompts and a space for a meaningful quote.

reflective journal free download

Reflective journal prompts


  • How was your day?
  • What were the challenges today?
  • How do I feel about those challenges?
  • What are some possible solutions?
  • What small step can be taken immediately to work towards that goal?
  • What is the best thing that happened today?
  • What am I grateful for?

Journaling for business success


We know that mindfulness and meditation are used on a regular basis in fortune 500 companies everywhere. The practice is beneficial for the same reasons that keeping a journal is beneficial.

By writing down your thoughts and feelings you are being present and in the moment.

Use your journal for a place to list your goals and dreams. Add photos to make your journal a living vision board that is constantly evolving. When you define your aspirations take the time to write down different possible steps to achieve those goals.


Some ideas for business success prompts


– Listing motivational books or bios that you want to read.

-What has held you back in the past?

-Write about people that you admire and their characteristics.

-What are your strengths and how can they be used to succeed?

-What will you work on to achieve your goals?

-What would you like your life to look like in 3 years, 5 years 10 years?

-Conferences you want to attend.

-People that you want to meet to extend your sphere of influence.

-Challenges you are facing.

-Who would you love as a mentor?


These Journal tips, ideas and examples are to be used to help you on your journaling journey!

So many of these journals when done regularly, will become cherished mementos. I just picked up one of my old journals from an important time of my life and couldn’t believe how it vividly took me back.

Journals can be simplistic or very intricate either way they will be appreciated by your future self.

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