The concept of journaling is very simple. You write down all your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal, and in return, get some clarity, self-reflection, stress and anxiety relief, among many other life-changing benefits.
Journaling is one of the best ways to practice self-care, and it also happens to be easy and affordable. There are so many ways to journal, whether you choose to have a daily journal where you jot down daily happenings and feelings or there are other, more specific types of journals like bullet journals or gratitude journals.
In this article, we’ll talk about all the benefits of using a daily journal, tips for motivation and inspiration, and of course how to capture your life’s most memorable moments and preserve them for later.
1. Benefits of Having a Daily Journal
You might have a good idea about what journaling is and some brief knowledge of what people get out of it, but really, why should you journal every day? There are actually some unique benefits to choosing to write daily as opposed to only writing in it when you feel like you need some quick therapy.
Some of the top benefits of having a daily journal are:
You Learn More About Yourself
You gain a lot of clarity and self-reflection as you journal. It’s often difficult to understand your own motivations, what makes you unique, and what drives you on a daily basis. This is because your head is filled with so many thoughts and feelings all the time, that you might not take a minute to sit down and reflect on where your thoughts are coming from or what motivates them.
Journaling can help you with this.
Sitting down with your journal for a few minutes every day, you’re focusing on you, only you. You can reflect on your day, talk about what you are feeling, or what may have caused some frustration.
Helps with Anxiety and Stress
Everyone has at least a little stress in their life, and many people struggle with anxiety, without even realizing it. If you have stress, anxiety, or depression, you can get a lot of mental health benefits by using your journal every day.
While you can definitely just pick and choose when to use the journal, you benefit the most by writing in it every day. This allows you to understand what your triggers are, document when and figure out why you are having that panic attack, and even discover catalysts for your depressive episodes.
Documenting these events is not only beneficial right now, but later down the road when you are trying to narrow down your stress or anxiety triggers so that you can reduce them and have a more peaceful life.
Gives You a Place to Vent and Express Gratitude
This is important because journaling isn’t just about venting or expressing negative emotions, but it’s not just about being positive either. Daily journaling should express everything about you, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative.
It’s this balance and being honest with yourself that will allow it to help heal you, provide you with more clarity, and bring you more happiness and fulfillment.
Expresses Your Creativity
An added benefit to writing in a journal on a regular basis is that it really helps you to harness your creativity. You begin exploring creative writing just by journaling about your life.
Along with what happens when you write, you might also experience more creative sparks when you make drawings, doodles or sketches on various pages of your journal. This is a great way to create imagery that describes your thoughts or feelings, without needing to find the right words.
Creates a Daily Routine
Using a journal every day also helps you to start a new daily routine. Not just with journaling, but with other daily activities as well. Use this as an opportunity to have a simple self-care routine, where for at least a few minutes a day, you don’t have to worry about anything or anyone else.
You can choose any time of the day you want, depending on your schedule and when you are able to get some time alone. You can also add other things to your routine, such as meditating, practicing mindfulness, doing some aromatherapy, or writing in your planner.
Of course, journaling each day also gives you a way to preserve your memories. Over time, you might forget certain things, like what you did on a particular day, or the last thing you said to a friend before you parted ways.
So many things might seem insignificant in your life right now, but later on, you might want to revisit what happened.
This is when keeping a daily journal is so helpful.
You have everything right there, as long as you are recording your memorable events in your journal every day.
2. Ways to Use a Journal Every Day
Not only will you experience a lot of benefits to journaling every day, but there is a lot of room for customizing the entire process. There are many ways to journal every day, from creating a routine, to the actual type of journal you have and what you decide to write about.
Write About Your Day
Knowing WHAT to write about is often where people get intimidated. To start with your daily journaling routine, just write about your day. Remember that there are no rules here. Your journal is whatever you want it to be. But if you’re struggling with where to start, just write in your journal as you would a diary.
Start writing about your day, what you have planned for today (if you’re writing in the morning) or what you accomplished (if you’re writing in the evening). Did you do anything fun? write about your visit with a friend, brainstorm a problem you’re currently having, or vent about something that is bothering you.
These can all be included in the journal entry.
Start a Gratitude Journal
If you want to do something a little more specific, why not start writing about what you’re grateful for? This is all you need for now. It’s a good way to ease into journaling without putting too much pressure on yourself.
Start by just writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day, and either leave it at that, or expand on it and write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes, it will be a few sentences. Other times, you will surprise yourself with a few pages.
This is also great for getting into a positive, optimistic mindset.
Use it for Creative Inspiration
You can use your journal for some creative inspiration in your life. Each day, you can write about your goals or aspirations for art projects, or you can start an art-style journal. Maybe you don’t like to write a lot, but you love to draw. Make sketches of what you did each day, how you feel, or if there’s something bothering you at the moment.
It can be really fun to look back on these sketches later, especially when you see how your artistic skills changed and improved over the years.
You may also want to use your journal to improve your mental or physical health. Many health conditions have triggers, which are situations, foods, or products that might trigger a flare-up or episode of that condition.
A journal is a wonderful tool for recording what you were doing before the flare-up so that you can look back and see what the common triggers were.
This works for all types of conditions, like anxiety or panic attacks, stress, emotional breakdowns, depression, allergies, and autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease or fibromyalgia.
You can also incorporate mindfulness into your journaling routine. Take a few minutes before writing in your journal to sit quietly and think of what you’re experiencing right now at this moment. Don’t worry about the past or future, just how you think or feel right now. Acknowledge those thoughts, accept them, then write about them in your journal.
This is going to allow you to get into a positive head space, and learn how to be more mindful in your everyday life. The act of writing it in your journal helps you to accept what is going on around you, and then move on.
3. Recording Memories and Moments with Your Journal
Now for the fun part – using your journal for memories and moments! This is by far one of the best things about using a daily journal. It happens organically, without you having to do anything extra. Even just regular journaling about your day, what you’re going through, or events you attend will become memories that you can preserve.
Be Detailed in Your Journal Entries
If you want to use your journals as memory books that you can preserve and look back on, the best thing you can do is include as many details as possible. Every time you write a journal entry, even if it’s just explaining something that happened or describing someone new that you met, include as many details about the situation as possible.
When you look back on it later, these details will allow you to transport yourself back to that moment, which is amazing when you just want to look back on old memories you haven’t thought about in a while.
Always Include the Date and Time
Another really important thing to keep in mind is that you want to know exactly when certain things happened. As you are adding more details to your journal entries, don’t forget dates! Always include the date when you are starting a journal entry, and if anything important happened, try to include the time as well.
You would be surprised how often this comes up when you’re trying to remember something that happened in the past.
Save the Journals for Reference
As you begin filling up journals, file them away in a way that makes it easy to find things later. At the very least, write on the front or binding of the journal what dates the pages in that journal include.
If you’re filing them on a bookshelf, put them in order from the oldest dates to the newest dates. This will make it a lot easier for you to reference later.
4. Why You Should Meditate Before Journaling
There are a wide range of techniques used for journaling, whether you write in your journal every day, or it becomes more of a therapy session just when you need it.
One of the best ways to relax and get into the right frame of mind for journaling is to meditate first.
Benefits of Meditating
Meditating on its own has some great benefits, so by adding it to your journaling routine, you are getting motivated to do it on a regular basis. Meditation helps you to clear your mind, center your thoughts, find clarity, and relax when you are dealing with a lot of stress, worry, and fear.
Meditating before journaling also helps you to focus on the most important thoughts in your mind, and use that mindset to journal about them. A lot of times your thoughts are cloudy and busy, so meditating helps you to figure out exactly what you want to journal about.
How to Meditate Before Journaling
Meditating before journaling is very simple to do. It works just like any other form of meditating but doesn’t require you to completely clear your mind.
Find a comfortable spot, preferably close to where you will be writing in your journal. Make sure it’s quiet and relaxing for you. Lighting a candle or using essential oils in a diffuser can help a lot.
Close your eyes for a few minutes, and just let your mind go where it wants. Try to clear your thoughts the best you can, and once you do that, you will see what your mind decides to focus on.
5. How to Kick Start Your Journaling Routine
So, now you’re ready to get started, but HOW do you start? This is something many people struggle with if you haven’t used a journal before, or you are just having a hard time with that first page. This is completely normal!
Here are some easy ways you can kick start your new daily journaling routine:
Bring the Journal Everywhere with You
One of the simplest ways to start your journal writing is to make it as easy and convenient as possible. You might not always get the opportunity to use your journal at home, but what about when you’re on the go?
Maybe you can find opportunities during your lunch break at work, while sitting in the car waiting for your kids to get out of school, or when you arrive at an appointment a few minutes early. Get a journal that is small enough to fit in your purse or any bag you bring with you, and you will find many times during the day to write in it.
Write at Least a Few Sentences Every Day
There is no reason you have to fill up entire pages when you start journaling. There are going to be days where you don’t have as much to say – and that’s okay! When you first start writing in your journal, take some of the pressure off by just writing a few sentences every day.
Just commit to writing SOMETHING in the journal. This can be something you are grateful for, a quick recap of your day, or a worry or concern you currently have.
Add Journaling to Your Calendar
If you really want to commit to using your journal daily, then write it in your calendar, along with the actual time that you will be writing in it. Keep your journal where you will be writing in it every day. You can also set an alarm on your phone as a reminder that it’s time to write in your journal.
Use Journaling Prompts
Not sure what to write? Use journaling prompts! These are questions or statements that allow you to answer the question or fill in the blank. They are great when you are just starting out with using a journal, or just when you have a little writer’s block.
Here are some examples:
1. How did you meet your significant other?
2. If you could have any career, what would it be?
3. Describe your perfect weekend.
Download my favorite 20 journaling prompts to help you get started HERE
Start Your Daily Journaling Routine
As with all things, you have to want to develop the habit in order to create it. Ask yourself why you want to journal and how you believe life will be enriched for having done it. Discover what motivates you and make that motivation part of your routine.
The first time you try something new, you will likely be awkward. It will take longer than you believe it ought to and it may feel unnatural.
Sticking to the routine creates mastery which means things are effortless and the results come easy.
Keep at your journaling and you will see the effort is easy and the outcomes better than you could ever have imagined.
Need Some Journaling Inspiration
If you would like more tips on how you can relieve stress and anxiety, check out this blog post : 7 QUICK EASY AND NATURAL REMEDIES FOR REDUCING STRESS
For more information about the benefits of journaling, here is an excellent article from the Chopra Center – you can read it HERE