Your journal is a special place for you to gather your thoughts, express your ideas, and make plans to create a life you want to enjoy. Now, that sounds too good to be true, yet if you have a journal practice, you may find journaling to be a benefit for your well-being. It’s not a magic wand that all of a sudden, it changes your life; instead, it is a journey towards getting to know yourself and carving out what is important to you.
Types of Journals
- Bullet Journal – is a composite of scheduling, to-do lists, brainstorming, calendar, and organizational tasks. You can create a simple journal or elaborate, drawing in it, or pasting images. Online there are so many ways people are using this journal to personalize and capture their daily lives.
- Creativity Journal – this journal depends on what you like to create or could include all your creative ideas. Ideas, words, doodles, and drawings are all potential components of this journal. A place to brainstorm your creative ideas, set goals for creative projects, or a place you practice your art.
- Dream Journal – this is another way to get to know what your processing in your mind. Dreams are stories we create while we sleep. People, places, and things are all part of the stories we are sorting out each night when we dream. Keep the journal next to your bed, along with a pen and maybe a small flashlight, and quickly write everything you remember. Some people remember a dream even after they wake up, though if you can capture the details when you are aware of the dream, then you will get more information.
- Food Journal – there are two potential intentions with this journal. One is writing down all that you eat in a day, so you do not fool yourself around the calories you are eating. Another intention is for people who like to cook, as they can capture down a recipe, the ingredients they need, or creating a new recipe. Whatever your intention for this journal, it will be helpful for you.
- Gratitude Journal – a powerful journal to recognize all the good things that are happening in your life. People who have a gratitude journal tend to be less stressed and happier. It is not about ignoring the frustrations and challenges in our lives, though it does balance out them with good happenings in our days. This balance releases stress.
- Meeting Journal – I worked with an executive who had a journal that he brought to every meeting. The journal captured his thoughts, as well as input from others in the meeting. He has a continuous log of brainstorming, updates, and future work to be done. It was not a fancy journal, just an 8×11 notebook, and he always had with it. He did look back many times to make sure he remembered what was said and what needed to be done. He could not remember everything, so this running log gave him the information he needed.
- Meditation Journal – this is an exciting journal in that when you start and continue a meditation practice, you are sitting with your inner guidance. Why not capture what comes up in your meditation. Sometimes it is an issue that is bothering you, and other times it’s your intuition telling you to do something. You can also write about the overall meditation experience, whether it was easy or difficult, and why. It is another way of getting to know yourself.
- Prayer Journal – this journal can include traditional prayers, affirmative prayers, your conversations with your Higher Power. Prayers you read and want to remember. It is your inner spiritual journey.
- Project Planning Journal – if you have a specific project you are working on, create a journal to capture the vision of the project, the goals, the support people, and the project tasks. Small ideas that may be important later, and whatever thoughts you have about the project. You can also write around intuition that something is not right or the opposite, perfect as a solution. You can have a separate journal for each project.
- Writing journal – a place where you add your writing ideas – portions of a story, or just an idea of a great story to write. A writer always has plenty of ideas flowing their minds. If you are not sure, you are a writer, having a writing journal will give credence to you being a writer.
- Fitness Journal – this is the place you capture your weight, workout routines, as well as overall physical well-being. You add your goals and weekly milestones to meet the level of fitness you strive to create a healthy you.
- Travel Journal – this journal can include your travel bucket list, planning for an upcoming trip, and writing about your experiences as you travel. You can draw or add pictures to your journal. It is about your love of travel.
- Pocket Journal – A small journal that you carry around with you, so you can quickly capture things you need to remember, ideas, quotes you see, and what someone said that you want to remember. Our minds are always running with thoughts, feelings, and things to do, and this journal can capture them all down. I have a beautiful small journal I picked up at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It is perfect for my purse, and it reminds me of the wonderful trip I took with three dear friends.
You can have one journal that captures all aspects of your life in one place or a separate journal for a focus. Whatever works for you is good – start journaling.
I am a journal junky. Every time I see an exciting journal, I purchase it as I never know when I can use it. I like journals that lie flat, so I can write and dress up the pages as I sit down each day. I have a large inventory of journals ready for me to fill the pages.
- My main journal is where I do my “Morning Pages.” Morning Pages is when you take three pages of long handwriting writing each morning. Julia Cameron created Morning Pages in her book “The Artist’s Way.” There is no wrong way to do morning pages; instead, it is a place to park your thoughts, feelings, ideas, complaints, and anything else you need to let go of at the moment. This journal is for my eyes only. I use this journal also for Evening Pages, and I take 30 minutes before going to bed to write about my day and what I am grateful for in my life. I close out the day, let go of concerns and go to sleep parking in the journal whatever is on my mind.
- As I said above, a small journal to capture my thoughts while on the road. When I look back, I see ideas I want to expand, my to-do’s, and thoughts other people share.
- Book Journal – I like to recycle my books, so I no longer underline, or highlight in the book words that resonate with me, as others need to read the book and decide what is important to them. I use my book journal to write down what I am taking from the book, and what speaks to me as being important.
- Bullet Journal – I just started this one just recently. As indicated above, it is my calendar, a place to dump ideas, reminders, and capture what is important to me. Ryder Carroll developed this journal, and if you want to know more about it, go online. There are so many ways to use this journal, and you will find them online as well.
Hard Bound or App Journals
For me, journals are hardbound books, filled with empty pages, ready to capture what I want, who I am in the moment, and experiences with others. I have many different colored pens as well as stickers, along with design templates, to dress up my pages.
For others, there are great journal apps that can be used right on the phone. There is a lot you can do with journal apps, so check them out if this feels like the best way for you to journal.
Benefits of Journaling
Whatever purpose you decide to start a journal, realize that it offers many benefits to your life. The reasons for starting a journal is endless, and a journal is a powerful addition to your life.
So how does a journal support your well-being:
It depends on your intention when you set up your journal.
A regular journal is a great place to air complaints, frustrations, anger, sadness, and other emotions that add stress in your life. Write down all the feelings that are depleting your energy and blocking you from moving forward in your life.
- Write about your feelings – do not hold back, allow yourself to be honest and open around how you feel, so you can uncover what it is that is a problem for you.
- Step back and reflect on how you are adding to the problem.
- Recognize where other people are a part of the issue.
- Decide what boundaries you are going to provide for yourself and others to release the stress and use your energy for your well-being.
A daily practice of airing your feelings allows you to become more aware of what is sapping you of energy, what people drain your energy, and how you can make the changes you need in your life. If you do not stop and air your thoughts, reflect on how they are impacting you, then your life will never change, and you will feel like you are going around in a circle.
Journaling improves your immune system as you are not holding on to stress; instead, you are parking all those thoughts on the pages and releasing the tension within you.
Children who know how to read and write can also benefit from journaling. It is their private space to air their thoughts and feelings. Encourage them to do so and see how it helps them. There are thoughts they need to look at and maybe fearful of expressing to others. Or a wonderful place to capture all their ideas. Whatever the use, mention it to them.
You can use the journal to create goals for the year around physical, learning, business, relationship, and spiritual areas of your life. You can then break down the goals for each month under these areas (or any areas you want) and track them. I use the Bullet Journal for goal setting.
Creativity comes to us in many different sources – other people, reading, sitting quietly and letting our minds wander on a subject, or playing. It is about creating new ideas.
Many people equate creativity with the arts – art, writing, dancing, or other significant artistic endeavors. We are all creative in some areas in our lives – cooking, telling stories, problem-solving, organizing, and the list goes on.
Creativity can also be learned – digging into a new topic, creating time and space to explore your creativity in an area, and allowing a creative attitude to develop. When we use a journal, we allow our brains to open and potentially generate more ideas. We permit ourselves to create with our thoughts and commitment to journaling.
Journaling allows you to journey into yourself, look at your thoughts and beliefs, face your mistakes, brainstorm on what you want to do, boost your creativity, and capture experiences that you may want to review again another day.
There are many uses for a journal, and one of them is to use your writing skills. Many people find by using a journal, they are more confident with writing, as their brain is stopping the thought “I can’t write.” The more you write, the more comfortable you become with writing and expressing your thoughts with others.
Journaling is a camera as it captures thoughts, feelings, ideas, by using words, pictures, or drawings.
Do your journal now? If so, how do you use it, and do you practice it daily?
If not, what journal would you like to start?
Women’s Group Topic
Journals are generally private conversations with ourselves. You can use a journal to capture your topics in the group, each of you writes in a Group Journal, what you gained from the time together, what you would like to discuss, and what do you want to do going forward in your life.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”