Journaling is the regular practice of documenting thoughts, feelings and life experiences. There are no rules to journaling, and it is often used as a creative outlet.
Although I have always loved writing, I have never thought of myself as a writer or a creative person. But I found something profound in writing down my thoughts, my opinions, or just senseless nonsense that our brains entertain from time to time.
The first time I remember journaling, I was 13. I had received a journal for Christmas, and that new year I told myself I would write in it every single day for a year. It is now hilariously nostalgic to read back as an adult. My biggest worries at the time being why my many crushes didn’t notice me, my love of horses and planning sleepovers. Now, over a decade later, my worries and joys look far different, but I still gain a profound sense of understanding of myself and my common thought patterns.
Benefits of Journaling
The benefits of journaling are going to be individual to each person, but some of the primary positive outcomes I have experienced include:
- Inspiring creativity – some of my best ideas come after a long ramble about something I am feeling stressed about and…like magic…I get a creative epiphany.
- Improve your writing and literacy skills – I imagine a lot of us can relate to the experience of losing some grammatical discipline after leaving education, and journaling can give you that much-needed practice of having pen on paper once again.
- Goal setting – Possibly, my biggest take from journaling is, setting, managing and achieving my goals and ambitions. I do this yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. It gives me a deep sense of organisation and drive.
- Enhance memory – Just the act of writing something down, for me anyway, solidifies tasks and facts in my mind much more than using technology or hoping for the best.
- Improve emotional intelligance – Understand my own emotions, improve empathy, increase gratitude, and minimise worry and anxiety are some of the qualities I have noticed I have become better at since I have been journaling.
Types of Journaling
The great thing about journaling is that it can look however you want it to look; you can write, draw, or create whatever you need. But here are some different types of journaling you could look at to
This approach is best when you want to prioritise organisation and goal setting. It is often used for scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and goal setting.
It can also be a great creative outlet. There are thousands of videos on YouTube of people sharing their bullet journaling.
This approach to journaling is dedicated to focusing on the positives in your life. Giving appreciation and attention to small details of daily life. Generally, you choose 1-3 things that day that make you feel grateful for. One of BetterSpaces lovely suppliers, Happyfeed, is an online gratitude journal that makes it simple to reflect and record three happy moments each day.
The most creative approach of this list is scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is often used to preserve memories. Scrapbooking often mixes memorabilia such as photographs and artwork with written descriptions alongside.
Top Tips for Journaling
Like with all habits we form, consistency is key. When I started, I would write every day, I would not set a time limit, but it would have to be every day, often before bed.
Now I am familiar with it, I can be more flexible. I always journal on the first day of the month and week to set goals. That aside, I am free to write as much or as little as I like.
I see intention setting or lack thereof as one of the main reasons we lose track of many things we want to do. We forget our why. The great thing is it is not that hard to do. It is a game of asking why. Ask yourself why enough times, and you will find the reason.
Who are you trying to impress? Sure, maybe in 10 years, you will be confronted with a cringe-fest of reading material, but there is no reason to embellish for right now. Between the pages and pen, there is safety to be wholly honest with your thoughts.
Top BetterSpace picks for Journaling
If you feel you need some more direction when it comes to journaling. Here are two resources from the BetterSpace directory you can use to help you start.
- The Anxiety Journal by Corinne Sweet – This journal encourages you to use CBT techniques and mindfulness exercises to help you better understand your anxiety and help you achieve peace and calm. https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_6iaex3unieuic9zlrkz0ki6zx3vyzjbz
- The Wellbeing Journal: Creative Activities To Inspire By Mind – Each page of this journal has been thoughtfully crafted and includes activities, colouring, drawing prompts, contemplative quotes and lots of space for you to write about your thoughts, feelings and experiences. https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_wd1ynd6yki7ki457h2wvwzkfvf1m1og4
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This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
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