We often hear the term “journaling” thrown around in the self-development space. It may have sparked your curiosity to begin practicing this but do you actually know how to start journaling? In this post I’m going to tell you why journaling is important. I’ll also give you a few types of journaling and I’ll let you know how to start the wonderful practice of journaling!
What is journaling and why is it important?
Journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts, feelings and insights. There are different types and just like meditation, there is really no wrong way to do it (in my opinion). When you write from pen to paper, you’re releasing your internal thoughts out of your body.
Studies show various health benefits linked to journaling regularly. According to WebMD, journaling can reduce anxiety, help regulate emotions and speed up physical healing. Depending on the type of journaling, it can also help you achieve your goals. Another benefit is having a tangible way to look back at your life in terms of reflecting or even looking for insights and comparisons.
One of my favorite things to do is read old journals on my birthday. Sounds random, I know, but I love seeing the growth I’ve had from reading past entries during my younger years. I look forward to leaving my many journals to my future children and hope they will be inspired to continue the practice of journaling as a family tradition. It’s a great tradition to start in my opinion. I wish I had journals from my ancestors. It would most likely help me understand so many things lol.
How to start journaling
Now what we have an idea of why journaling is important, let’s look into beginning your own practice. First, I want to note that going into this with an open mind and minimal expectations is important. You could find that this truly isn’t for you. If that’s the case, don’t force yourself to do it and move on for now. You might feel called to try again in the future. I personally prefer pen to paper but maybe typing on a word document works better for you. It’s all good.
Choose a journal and a pen
First, if you’re choosing to write, you’ll need something to physically write on and something to write with (can’t really skip this step lol). Seems pretty basic but it honestly can make the biggest difference. I’ve been journaling since the 4th grade and I’ve found this step to be underrated. If you love your journal, hopefully it makes you want to write in it more often.
- I get most of my journals from TJ Maxx these days. The brand is called Fringe
- You can also find your perfect journal at your local bookstore such as Barnes & Noble for example
- Gel pens are my preference because it makes writing feel so easy. Your hand will just glide across the page
Feel free to try different types of notebooks or journals until you find your favorite brand. Once, I chose a black hardcover thick journal that felt cool to write on but later on I regretted the purchase because it was difficult to travel with it. It also took me a few years to finish it lol but I learned from that experience.
Choose a time to write
Now that you have your journal and pen handy, the next step is to choose an uninterrupted time to write. Depending on the type of journaling you’re doing, I suggest setting aside around 15-30 minutes for this practice. Make sure you have proper lighting and feel free to play some relaxing music in the background to set the mood. You don’t have to write every single day. 3-4 times a week is beneficial.
Choose a type of journaling
Alright, as I mentioned in the beginning, there really is no wrong way to journal. You can begin by simply sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. I’ve seen journals that have questions or prompts listed on each page so that’s a route you can start with as well.
The following are a few types of journaling you can try:
- Free writing – In this type of journaling you’ll be writing whatever comes to mind without stopping. This is a great way to write ideas for projects or to release feelings and emotions.
- Don’t focus on grammar
- Set a timer before you start or choose the number of pages you want to fill up
- Take a deep breath and don’t think, simply write.
- Gratitude journaling – This is one of the most popular methods of journaling. You’re simply writing down things you are grateful for.
- This can be a great way to start your day
- You can number a list of 3-10 things you’re grateful for or write in paragraph form
- I always suggest including the reason why you’re grateful. For example, “I am so grateful for my car because it is reliable and gets me where I need to go.”
- “Scripting” – This is a manifestation technique that can help you get closer to achieving your goals. In this method, you are writing down what you want to attain as if it already happened.
- The main focus during this technique is feeling everything you’re writing down
- You can start by writing “I am so happy and grateful now that …..”
- Dream big! Anything is possible so go all out and write down everything you desire
- Don’t be surprised when you get what you scripted 😉
Journaling can become one of your favorite self-care activities after following the steps I just provided. It can be a part of your morning routine to start your day off right. After reading this post I hope you now know how to start journaling. It is a very accessible and inexpensive way to clear your mind, elevate your mood or achieve your dreams.
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- If you’re really ready to create the life you want
- If you want to increase your happiness and feel more confident in who you are
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