Perhaps you are an avid writer. Maybe you are only beginning. Either way, you are about to learn some amazing advantages of journaling that will enrich your life!
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Whether keeping a daily diary, recording thoughts on an occasional basis, or drawing in a sketchbook, journaling can have many surprising benefits. Some benefits, such as keeping up with dates and events, are obvious. Other benefits, however, are unexpected and remarkable.
There are many ways in which to journal, but we will give you an overview of the main areas you may find journaling extremely helpful. But, however you choose to journal, keep it fun and relaxing. A word of warning: journaling can be addictive!
This post is all about the helpful advantages of journaling.
Benefits of Journaling
1. Achieve your goals. When you use your journal to write down your desired goals, you can keep better track of your intentions and can see more plainly your progress. Writing down your goals makes it easier to focus on them. You can revisit these any time you wish.
2. Keep better track of your growth and progress. You can check back and see how far you have come. You can also see just want needs to be done to achieve your desired results.
3. Gain self-confidence. Journaling lets you see how much progress you have made so you can feel good about what you have achieved. It is easy to lose sight of how much you have done when you are focused on how much is left to do. You can quickly become discouraged. Journaling keeps you focused and contributes to your being more confident about your self-worth and your place in this universe.
4. Improve writing and communication skills. Practice, practice, practice improves your skills. Writing daily improves these skills. The more you write, the better you will write (or draw, or any other form your journaling takes). If you have to organize your thoughts to write them down, you can clearly communicate with others when speaking.
5. Reduce stress and anxiety. Many therapists advocate writing down your fears, negative thoughts, and anxious feelings. The process lessens these concerns. In fact, some therapists suggest writing out your negative thoughts and burning them to symbolically and physically get rid of them! (If you do that, put them on a separate piece of paper, so you do not burn your journal!) Many people say journaling to help with anxiety seems to work well for them.
6. Find inspiration. Brainstorming in a journal is a great way to come up with new ideas and possibilities. If you let your mind explore any new ideas that pop up, you may find that you are extremely creative. One thing leads to another and voila! You might have a whole new path to follow or project to explore. So, the possibilities are truly limitless!
7. Strengthen memory. Experimental psychology shows that journaling can strengthen the memory, possibly by letting your mind know these thoughts should be remembered. So, put down those very important thoughts and the writing process will help you remember them.
8. Fight depression. Journaling can relieve feelings of depression by helping you face your fears and problems. Writing about the problems you face can put them into perspective and let you see that things are more manageable than they seemed. It also enables you to concentrate on the more positive aspects of your life.
9. Improve physical health. Many physical health areas can be improved with journaling. One can keep track of a healthier diet, workout and fitness goals, and monitor any health issues. It can be hard to keep up with daily tasks if they are not written down. Before you know it, it has been a week and you have not exercised at all. If you keep up with your schedule in a journal, you always know where you stand and you are less likely to forget to hop on that exercise bike!
10. Handle emotions. Journaling for mental health can help you process your emotions. Writing about how you feel sorts out mixed feelings and lessens daily confusion. Also, if you have to organize your thoughts about your feelings sufficiently to write them down, you can see them more clearly. Therefore, you stand a better chance of handling them.
11. Self-discovery. Keeping a journal can be a great experience in self-discovery. Re-reading what you have written over a period of time may surprise you with how you have reacted to the events in your life. Journaling helps us to know ourselves and see more clearly how we are evolving over time. Also, you may find that you really enjoy putting your thoughts on paper. Get creative. Explore your feelings. Free up your inhibitions and put down how you really feel!
12. Reduce medical needs. Healthcare professionals have suggested that journaling may reduce the number of stress-related doctor visits and impart a better sense of wellbeing. Journaling helps you deal with stress and anxiety without turning them inward. So, it makes sense that a more relaxed body is a healthier one!
13. Helps with healing. Writing out your feelings lets the mind progress and let go of bad feelings and negative thoughts. Many mental health professionals recommend journaling as a way of releasing these concerns. When the negative feelings go away many times the anxiety they produce also leaves. Additionally, writing down negative feelings about others frees you from internalizing and obsessing about those concerns. Journaling as therapy seems to work well for many people.
14. Revisit memories. Journaling helps you remember your life events and happenings as well as the way you felt about those things at the time. It is fun and rewarding to review and relive special times in your life. Lessons can be learned and good feelings resurrected. If it is something you want to forget, you can put it down and forget it. “Re-live or Re-lieve,” in other words!
15. Leave a legacy. A journal can be your own private haven if you so desire, but it can also be a treasure trove of recorded events, thoughts, feelings, etc., to leave for your family and descendants.
16. True forgiveness without forgetting. It can be unpleasant to be reminded of your troubles, but forgetting them and their causes is not always good. If you don’t learn the lessons, you are destined to repeat them. And, sometimes it is good to remember just why you parted ways with another person so that you do not get involved again. Time has a way of obscuring things by replacing old memories with new ones. So, writing down and sorting out your troubles allows you to clearly see the lessons to be learned, things and people to avoid, and the paths to recovery.
17. Journaling is relaxing. Start journaling when you have some time to yourself to enjoy the relaxation that putting a pen to paper can give you. Many people ask when it is best to journal. Journaling at night vs morning really is a personal preference. Many people like to journal as the last thing they do before going to sleep at night. Others prefer to start their day with a cup of tea or coffee while they are jotting down goals for the day.
18. Clears the mind. If you cannot sleep and things weigh heavily on your mind, a journal can act as a box in which to place those concerns or reminders. Offloading your troubles to a piece of paper helps you rest assured that you will not forget them. Sometimes doing so can help you relax and fall asleep.
19. Document your life. In your journal, you can record your daily activities, your significant or life-changing events, or life lessons. Not only that, you can record your good or bad feelings, your achievements, dreams, and so much more.
20. A unique way of recording history. You can take pictures or make video or audio clips, but your thoughts and feelings about your experiences add another dimension to your memorabilia. Feelings are fleeting and should be captured as soon after an event as possible since they cannot be recaptured completely at a later time.
21. You always have a great confidant. Your journal doesn’t care if you talk about yourself all of the time! It is always there for you, always ready to listen, and will not betray your secrets — unless you leave it lying around!
It is helpful to write some keywords in the top margin of the pages of your journal or diary, such as “lunch with Irene,” or “did laundry,” or “board meeting.” These notes can serve as a handy reference when you are trying to remember when you did something and you do not have time to read all of the entries.
Writing down keywords is also a wonderful way to make sure you don’t forget something if you are too tired to record the whole entry and opt to do it the following day. The keywords make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Some Types of Journaling
A daily journal is one in which you keep track of the events of each day. Most people write in their daily diaries at the end of each day. The most convenient journal for this type of journaling is one that contains a page for each day of the year and is started at the first of a new year.
Stream of consciousness writing is thoughtless and unedited writing. Just write down your thoughts and feelings as they come to you at any time.
You may be wondering, what is a gratitude journal? A gratitude journal is a journal wherein you can write down everything for which you are grateful. Writing with gratitude helps you reflect on your blessings in life instead of focusing on the negative things that may have happened during your day. Focusing on good things pulls in more good things!
Keep this journal handy beside your bed and, as soon as you wake up (or if you wake up during the night and have been dreaming), record any remembered dream immediately. Dreams are very fleeting and, if not recorded immediately, will vanish with the light of day! A plain, lined-page journal works best. Most people find that writing down dreams prompts their mind to remember more of their dreams and this skill gets better with practice.
Record your amazing coincidences that seem like magic. Everyone has times when they were thinking of a person only to have that person call or show up out of the blue. Synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence, is when two events happen that seem mysteriously connected, but between which no connection can be found.
For instance, a friend lost her husband and, on the first anniversary of his death, she was very sad. She went out to sit on her porch and suddenly saw that a rose bush near her door had one big beautiful rose in bloom. This rose bush had never bloomed before. What was more remarkable is that the rose bush was the last present her husband had given her before he died.
If stories like this one interest you, I highly recommend The Magic Within Journal‘s related book, The Magic Within by Nancy Stroupe. This is a book I could not put down because it was filled with fascinating coincidences!
Journaling and manifesting seem to be made for each other. Some advocates of manifesting believe that to bring into physical being those things one desires, it is necessary to write down what one wants and then leave it up to fate to provide.
Affirmations are statements you make as though they were already true about things you desire to be true in your life. A positive affirmation journal can keep you on track with your goals and desires. Also, you can make affirmations for manifesting love. There are many affirmation journal prompts online.
If you use essential oils, it is very helpful to write down the various concoctions or recipes and their sources for ways in which you use essential oils. This particular journal and recipe keeper has 300 pages of useful writing areas, including recipes, wish lists, inventories with bottle size, purchase date, and date opened, and gift ideas. Also, there is an index in the back so that you can write down the pages on which your favorite recipes can be found.
Whether you are trying to achieve a desired weight or just want to make sure you are eating a healthy diet, a food journal is a great place to keep track of what you eat. Also, a food journal is a great tool to help you identify and keep track of food allergies. Recording what you eat can help you discover problematic foods.
With a fitness journal, you can set personal goals and outline a fitness routine and track your progress. Additionally, fitness journal can serve as a handy reminder of which days you have gone to the gym or completed your exercise goals.
A journal of this type is an excellent place to envision your future and the things you want to accomplish. Writing down your goals rings them into the physical world and to the forefront of your mind. Also, you can use this journal to keep track of how close you are to reaching your dreams.
A gardening journal can help you keep track of the plants you planted in your garden, the care you gave them, and how they grew. Not only that, you can keep track of your houseplants in the same manner.
Journaling art is usually done in a sketchbook format with pictures you draw or paint as well as notes. Also, many people include commentary about the colors used, the time of the day, lighting and any other important details about the art. Additionally, journaling art ideas gives you good information as well as reminders when you look back later.
Also called a wild plant journal, this type of journal can be helpful whether you are a survivalist or a person who would like to learn more about plants. Not only can a foraging journal help you identify and record the location, edibility, and medicinal value of plants, but it can also save your life. You never know when you might be in a situation where it is necessary to eat off of the land. So, keeping a journal about foraging can really be a helpful tool.
Many people like to use a travel journal book when they take a trip so that they can keep up with various information. Gasoline expenses, motels with dates and prices, where meals were eaten, what attractions were visited or the activities enjoyed are points that people like to remember, so a journal can keep it all together. You can get a fairly large travel planner journal or vacation journal and you can include postcards, photos, napkins, and other memorabilia on its pages – just as you would with a scrapbook!
Journaling and scrapbooking can go hand in hand. What could be more meaningful than a scrapbook of treasured events that also includes journal entries to go along with the scrapbook souvenirs? This is one of my favorites when it comes to scrapbook journal ideas. Not only can you choose the color you like, but you can also buy extender packs that will widen the spine so that you can hold even more information! Amazon has a variety as far as a scrapbook journal kit goes, and this is a great place to start.
Regardless of your religion or your beliefs, there is a journal available especially for you. Whether lined, blank, or with prompts, writing your thoughts can strengthen your faith and help you feel grateful, happy, and fortunate. This is one example of a faith-based journal.
Meditation means something different to everyone. Some think it means clearing the mind and focusing on nothing, and others think it means intense focus on something. Whatever your definition, a meditation journal can help you focus on something or clear your mind so that you don’t have to focus on anything!
This is a great anniversary gift for your sweetheart. This special journal includes 440 pages of prompts or questions about your unique journey. This covers when you first met, when you fell in love, and the rest of your wonderful history!
Life would not be nearly as enjoyable if we didn’t have helpful or humorous quotes to enjoy. If you are anything like me, when you hear something clever, you like to write it down. This journal is the perfect quote collector. This journal is filled with lined and numbered pages, so it is easy to remember your favorites!
Since the number of parents in each generation doubles with each step backward, it is easy to become overwhelmed when documenting one’s family genealogy. This handy book organizes up to 10 generations of your family tree.
Were you aware that if you go back ten generations, you have more than 1,000 grandparents in that generation? Maybe it really does take a village!
So many things are lost to time, so leaving a legacy is important! This legacy journal includes prompts and sections for family, childhood, love, adventures, and advice, so it allows you to write your story one page at a time. This is a great gift for any member of the family!
Self-confidence is something on which most of us need to spend time to cultivate. This book is a guided journal that is designed to transform self-criticism into self-compassion. This is a great gift for those who need a pick-me-up, but some of us need it most.
If you never outgrew the love of coloring books, that is no problem! This is a stress-relieving coloring book filled with beautiful designs that bring back that childhood past time. Some people like to doodle when concentrating on phone conversations or other activities that require auditory focus.
This dating journal is a dating evaluation log book for people who are dating by the De La Mora Romantic Model. This journal is designed to help you keep up with the many people you meet and help you find the special person who was meant for you. Additionally, there is a Digital Dignity dating journal for gentlemen.
This trading logbook is for traders who want the best results in the stock market. This book includes a vision board, areas for short-term goals, portfolio management and capital allocation, endurance assessments, habit-beating progress, many pages for detailed trade tracking, thirty pages of back test analysis for multiple trade performance and profit comparisons, as well as inspirational quotes to inspire the clever trader!
In this crazy world, it seems that there is a constant stream of worry for everyone, so a journal such as this one comes in handy. This anxiety journal includes techniques for dismantling negative thoughts, so it helps with staying calm and shifting focus to more productive matters. So, if you find yourself stressed out, this might be a good one for you!
Grieving is a most unfortunate part of life, whether it is over a loved one or the end of a fond experience or circumstance. Everyone has their own way of coping with loss and heartache, but putting one’s thoughts and feelings on paper can provide some relief. It is not necessary to use a journal specifically designed for grief, but many of them contain prompts to make the writing process easier.
If you prefer to go completely digital with your journaling, there are journaling apps for iPhone, journaling apps for Mac, journaling apps for Windows, journaling apps for Android, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Not only that, you can start a blog! There are even ways to start blogging for money, so there are countless reasons to start a blog!
This list is only a start. Journaling ideas are endless. There can be a journal for almost any endeavor you can imagine: poetry, hobbies, creative works of all kinds, music, art, reading, manifesting, prayer, and so many more. The list goes on and on!
Thoughts About Journals
Journals come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and binding. There is no best journal for journaling. Journals, journaling supplies, journaling tools, and journaling accessories can be found online or in bookstores, department stores, stationers, and many other places. Knowing what qualities to look for in a journal is important.
If you are in a store and see a journal you like, open it if you can and see if it lies flat. This is of significant importance to me. Some journals will not open fully because of the binding and the way they are constructed, so this makes them a little difficult to use. Therefore, I recommend finding a journal that is easy to open so that you won’t have to weight it down in order to use it.
Be sure that your journal has a sturdy cover that will stand up to some wear and tear. After all, you will be writing in it for quite some time and you don’t want it to fall apart. Hard backs are great, so they are preferable for most journaling uses.
Most journals come with paper pages of white or ivory. Either color is fine; it depends on your personal preference.
The pages will either be lined or unlined. If your journaling is in the form of a sketchbook, it will not be lined. Other than that, having lined or unlined pages is up to you. You can even select journals that have gridded or dotted guides. Most people do prefer lines as it keeps handwritten entries a little neater and more uniform.
If numbered pages are important to you, look for journals that feature pagination. Some people like to reference their journal entries or certain dates, while others prefer the freedom to jump around with their writing and don’t like to be confined to a linear setup.
The thickness of the pages is another aspect to consider, so this may be something that matters to you. Page thickness, also known as the weight of the paper, can vary to some extent. Sometimes pages are very thick and sometimes they are very thin. Pages can have the thickness of pressed board or they can resemble the thinness of the pages in a Bible. Often you will be able to tell by inspecting the journal.
The material of the pages can vary from a construction paper feel to an extremely smooth type. Also, pages can be coated and some can even be waterproof! It is remarkable what is available! With so many options at your disposal, there is no reason not to write!
Covers can be printed on glossy paper, matte paper, waterproof paper, linen, leather, or other material. They can be solid, have cut outs, have raised or depressed areas, include foil stamping, and they can even be personalized. The sky is the limit when it comes to journal material and designs.
When it comes to binding types, there are many different options. Some options include spiral bound, hardcover, paperback, saddle stitched, stapled, and more. Spiral bound notebooks usually allow the journal to lie flat, but many times the pages can be torn accidentally. For a journal to hold up over time, it must have well-crafted, secured binding. If you are an avid writer, you will be opening your journal a lot!
Journals can be square or rectangle and occasionally they can be made in different shapes. They can have a portrait or landscape orientation, meaning they can flip open vertically, or they can flip open horizontally. Some journals allow you to write normally, then flip the book over, turn it 180 degrees, and write from back to front. There are many creative options available!
Some journals are blank, some are lined with some type of guide, and others contain writing prompts. Writing prompts can help you construct an entry or remember certain memories, and they can help guide you when you are not sure what to write. You likely will find journals with writing prompts when looking for family history journals, dream journals, gardening journals, or any specific genre.
Some journals, especially the diary types, come with closures that may or may not lock. Most do not have the locking feature and it usually is not very secure when they do. Not only that, sometimes locking closures prevent even the writer from accessing the journal due to the possibility of the lock getting jammed. If privacy is important to you, it is smarter to hide it in some place no one would think to look.
Favor Your Preference
As far as the design, color, material (cloth, paper, or leather) and other features, choose your favorites. You can even design your own with the many self-publishing companies available to you online today. That is an adventure all in itself!
It is my hope that this information has been helpful to you. This article merely scratches the surface of the world of journaling. Journaling is a big topic, but I hope I have given you enough information to get you started. It can be such a fun, rewarding, and life-changing endeavor to keep a journal, so I highly recommend it! Good luck with your journaling! May it enrich your life and bring you many pleasant hours of enjoyment!