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 makes 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.
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.
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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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- What actually happened in the situation?
- How do you feel about the experience?
- What is my assessment or interpretation of the experience?
- What can I learn from this moment?
- What improvements can I make?
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 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.
Being mindful is simply focusing on the moment and being in the present. This exercise helps you to be still and focus.
The benefits of a mindfulness journal are many, such as focusing on what is important. Things become more real when written down and actually contemplating answering the questions.
Our simple journal includes a space to write your thoughts about…
A random act of kindness
This simple thing can make an amazing difference in your day and the day of someone else. It feels so good that it tends to build on itself.
How about giving a stranger a compliment? Or paying for someone’s coffee in line behind you. Bring cookies to a friend or neighbor, it truly is endless. Decide what you would like to do or what you are good at, then make someone smile!
What are you grateful for?
As soon as we stop and think of what we are grateful for, we start to put some things in our lives in perspective. My first instinct is always to think of what is missing, so focusing on being grateful for what I do have, helps to lessen the power of the things not achieved yet.
Writing down just how far we have come or how thankful we are for our friends and families reminds us of our blessings.
What would you like to improve?
This is a great thing to regularly think about so it can become real. Ideally also write down the path you will take to achieve what you would like to improve.
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What you would like to learn about?
This should be something new. A new language or learning about wines or creating killer pastries.
Let your curiosity guide you to explore the things in your life that you always wanted to do.
Learning and growing make each of us so much more interesting, never stop learning!
A Self-care moment
We all need to take some time to think about our own wellness. What could you do that would be a special moment, just for you?
Maybe meditating or a massage? Enjoy some time reading with a cup of tea. It’s not being indulgent but necessary for our own health and well being.
Check out these mindfulness journals
Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal