Do you know a friend who keeps a diary? It might be just out of a habit. Maybe your friend just wanted to remember all that’s happening in his or her life. But maybe he or she also knows that one can benefit from simply writing anything.
When we grow up, the diary now turns out to be a journal. A life journal. Some people also fancy giving names to their journals.
10 years ago, I started writing in a piece of notebook and I surely knew it was going to be my diary. As a child, I wanted to name things that are special to me. And we all know sometime in our young naïve life, we try to believe in a lot of insane things. One of those things I believed was destiny.
That’s why I called my diary destiny.
I was writing constantly day until night about what happened, what I’m about to do, or just random thoughts that I would love to remember when I grow up. Of course, I talk to my diary as if I was talking to my soulmate.
Since I’m already a young adult, I now call it a journal. And instead of writing in a notebook, I wanted to keep it more personal that’s why I switched to digital journaling.
In this article, I would love to talk to you through journaling and why you should start one too.
What does Journaling look like?
To put it simply, journaling will depend on how you would want to write about your thoughts. If you don’t have any idea what to write, you can start asking yourself some questions like:
Is there something troubling you? Did you just experience the most exciting date ever? Can you list the good things that had happened around you?
There is a regular journal wherein you can write just all about anything. Again, it’s all up to you and whatever the signals that your hand receives from your brain say.
But there are other types of Journals and you can get some of the ideas below.
Types of Journals
- Gratitude Journal
It is basically counting your blessings. You can list all of the great things you appreciate or experiences that you are grateful for. The people who you are thankful to have around you. Your favorite drink. Or even yourself. Because you, darling, are a blessing.
- Journal of self-portraits
You can take pictures of your favorite thing, person, or animal. You can draw colors or shapes and have fun with collage images.
- Nature diary
This is for you to appreciate a connection to the natural world. Record how the sky looks like today, how cold or hot the weather is, and how seasons change.
- A log of successes
Start by jotting those major goals you achieved that you remember then regularly add down small successes that occur during the week.
- A favorite song log
Write about the songs and the moods it evokes. What would you like to remember from it?
- Bullet Journal
It is designed to become whatever you need it to be, be it a fitness or fertility tracker, food log, diary, sketchbook, etc.
You can do all these in one place or just pick one that you’d want to constantly write about. For me, just do you. You don’t have to be overwhelmed with writing.
It’s better to just let the feelings out, right?
How could it heal someone?
Okay, you might be wondering why I’m preaching all about journaling. You may say that it must be just something I’d want to instruct you to do for yourself…
The answer is: no and yes.
No, because journaling has been a big part of my healing process. It may not be the same for you that’s why I know you are still the one who will be in charge of your future. Yes, because I would love to suggest journaling especially if you are in a rough patch right now. Or maybe you would just want to have a personal development.
Here is a self-explanatory list of the benefits of Journaling and how it can help one heal.
Journaling can help you:
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings
- Know yourself better
- Reduce stress
- Solve problems more effectively
- Resolve disagreements with others
- Track your progress (in life, your weekly projects, daily objectives, habits)
- Keep your memory sharp
- Boost your mood
If this does make you curious if ever journaling would work for you, then I’ll help you decide by telling you:
Just do it.
How do you begin?
Journaling is a type of self-care that is cheap and easy to do.
You just have to have a pen and a notebook.
Maybe you wouldn’t want somebody peeking through your journal and that’s why you need to keep it as close to you as possible. But you can also use your favorite note-taking apps and some Journal apps you can download from the app store.
Here are some tips to note for starting:
- Begin writing about where you are in your life right now. Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings or don’t worry too much about your grammar. Censoring your thoughts defeats the purpose.
- You can write in the third person about something that you are struggling with or an event that’s been disturbing you.
If there’s only one tip I’d say is that you should just do it. I kid. Once you already decided that you would want to start journaling, I say you dedicate yourself to it every morning. Just give yourself 20 minutes to think and write about those pretty or unpretty thoughts. Do it every day or night.
But if you can’t maintain a habit of journaling, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to slip a day or two. Just bounce back and return to your game face on when you stand up. Tap yourself on the back and say you’ve done well today too.
What I write about in a day.
Recently, I’m doing a challenge for myself of writing 1,000 words a day in 30 days. I’m thankful because it really forces me to show up every day and type the words that are freely flying in my mind.
That challenge would soon conclude one of the things in my impossible list (writing 20,000 words in a month). And I’m proud to say that I’ve already accomplished more than 25,000 words!
But yes, I do write a lot about my life. It’s because I would want to keep track of my tasks, review how well I did, what areas shall I improve, and much more. It helped me be more mindful of the things that I value and the things I must let go of.
Tools I Use
This is the very first app I look for when I wake up. I’m guilty of using my phone just to jot down real quick what I’ve dreamed of the previous night. Since I’m a dreamer and I wanted to remember all of my dreams, I try really hard to remember most of them. Even the strangest and wildest ones.
I also use DayOne if I wanted to have a tool for the ideas I most wouldn’t want to forget. Since you can create tags in every entry, you can easily search for it whenever you like. For free, you can add one picture per entry. But if you pay for the premium, you can create different journals, add more than one picture, and export all your entries. I have the free version heh.
I use two of them. Because I have a lot of excess notebooks since college and I wouldn’t want to waste pretty papers. One is for tracking tasks and the other is for tracking ideas (what I’m curious about in life and next blog ideas).
For my tasks notebook, first I write one important task for the day, one thing I’m grateful for, and one that I must let go. Then I add tasks I’m about to do in a day after that.
My favorite note-taking app and overall productivity tool! AHH, I basically plan what I’d want to do in life here. I have a Planning page where my yearly goals can be seen. As well as my monthly goals. Every week I review my weekly objectives, I reflect every Sunday, then I start creating another page for a new week.
The table contains my journal entries and their corresponding word counts. The next image includes the questions I ask myself every day.
1,000 Words A Day
For this challenge, I use one table in Notion that contains all the journal entries. Then in one entry, there are guide questions that I stole from Ali Abdaal. After answering the questions, I start typing words I want to type as if I’m talking to myself or to someone special. Here’s my June 4 entry!
I type headings for every thought I want to talk about. Some of them can be a person’s name, a paragraph, a favorite thing, or just a heading entitled “plan for tomorrow.” Sometimes I write what I pray. Most of the time, I review what I did on that day. How I did and how I can improve the next day without being too hard on myself.
Keep in mind
that journaling is simply one aspect of a healthy lifestyle for better managing stress, anxiety, and mental health conditions. To take the most benefits, be sure you include these practices:
- Relax and meditate each day.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Exercise regularly — get in some activity every day.
- Treat yourself to plenty of sleep each night.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
Practice using your journal to make sure you follow these guidelines daily.
Journaling became my habit since I was a kid. I didn’t maintain it for a whole year every year but now I’m trying to get back at it. Because I know it helped me develop myself. I may not know how exactly, but I’m pretty sure it helped.
Do you journal? Or do you now consider starting one?
Pausing to look into one’s own heart is never a waste of time; it’s an investment of time, and in my view, it’s one of the most rewarding investments a person can make.
— Peter Buffet
- Psych central hat tip for the list to keep in mind about journaling!