On the surface, journaling gives you an outlet to explore your feelings, untangle confused thoughts and relax when you’re feeling stressed. On a deeper level, journaling can actually make you a healthier, more positive and successful person.
If you have an interest in journaling but aren't sure where to start, here are a few different methods you can experiment until you find out what works for you. Happy writing!
Stream of consciousness
This therapeutic method of journaling is where you just let yourself purge your thoughts onto a page. It can be hard to start this method if you are relatively new to the process of journaling itself, but don’t let that keep you from practicing this. Start with one sentence about something that is currently on your mind, and let the words flow from there. This kind of journaling can be revealing and uncomfortable because it often brings up complicated feelings or underlying thoughts not already at the forefront of your mind. By letting your mind wander on a page, you may find solutions to problems and a sense of inner peace.
This quick method of journaling is the best way to remind yourself that there is always something positive in your life. Before you go to bed, jot down two bad things and three (or more) happy things that occurred during the day. This will not only leave you feeling blessed before bedtime but is a great way to be consciously finding positive happenings in your life.
Assessing physical well-being
For those of us prone to illness or always feeling just a little bit worse off than we know we should be, making time to note your well-being is essential to being healthy. Each day, write down information about your diet, exercise habits, personal goals and emotional state. This kind of journaling will vary based on what you struggle with, but can also be used for people who want to be more health-conscious.
According to Forbes, the number one tool to become a successful person is journaling your wins each day. Take 60 seconds at the end of each day to write down what you achieved as well as how you felt when you achieved those things. By documenting your wins, you have the ability to acknowledge what makes you a strong, creative and successful person, seeing how your motivation has paid off. In the long term, this can also help you curate a portfolio of your work and skills as well as speak confidently about yourself to a boss or potential employer.
This method applies to questions that can only be answered in time (i.e. whether or not you’ll end up with a certain someone or whether you get a promotion with your current company.) If you have a question that’s weighing particularly heavily on your mind at the moment, write it down in your journal. I like to add these questions to the bottom of my journal entries so I can flip back easily and see them, and don’t do this daily.
Add journaling to your planner when you first start out so you remember to make time.
Journal in the same spot every day to solidify the action as a habit.
With that being said, make your journaling space a restorative space. Drink tea while you journal, sit by a window with natural light or play music that inspires you.
Date everything, because you may want to refer back to a certain entry. It’s also fun to look back through old entries and see your progress!
Make sure you are by yourself, or at least in an atmosphere that allows you to have clear thoughts without interruption from outside noise.