Journaling: The What, Why, and How

Journaling in its most basic form is the writing of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

It’s a method used to create a written record of our day-to-day experiences and reflect on our past, present, and future.

Journaling is more than writing. It’s an avenue for self-exploration and can help our minds to release stress, boost memory, and enhance creativity. The consistent practice of journaling has a variety of benefits. Today, I want to share a few of those benefits with you.

Getting started with journaling is simple, but staying consistent is not easy. Like any other helpful practice, commitment to the process is required to reap the benefits and preparation is key.

To journal effectively, you don’t need a fancy journal or a special pen. What you do need is the motivation to begin. Once you are ready, you can use a notebook, your phone notes, a Word document, or Google docs to start the process. Nothing expensive is required.

Once you have something to write your thoughts on, here are a few additional tips:

  • Just start writing. Sometimes the free-flow is the best way to go.
  • Write whatever feels right at the moment. Journaling is not a test, so relax.
  • Write in private. Use privacy to spark a more authentic writing “voice.”
  • Plan. When will you journal? For how long? About what?
  • Use prompts if needed to get your creative juices flowing.

Another journaling tip is to make it an experience, not a task. Set the mood for exploring your thoughts by lighting a candle, sitting in your favorite chair, or sipping your favorite drink while you write. The better the experience, the more likely you are to continue.

Are you convinced to journal yet? Probably so, but let’s explore the “why” anyway.

People journal for a variety of different reasons. Some write because it’s fun. Others, like myself, use it as a mental fitness strategy. Here are a few benefits that journaling has on my mind and life:

  • It helps to organize my thoughts, create goals, plan for the future, and express my feelings.
  • It enhances my sense of wellbeing and boosts my positivity.
  • Creates more clarity in my thoughts.
  • Helps me to actively witness my growth and needs.
  • Writing forces me to slow down and focus on the now.

If the “why’ is big enough, nothing will keep us from journaling. What typically happens is that we start the process, but don’t finish because the commitment is not there. The ease of completion is not there. The support system is not there. 

If you are a beginner and want to start journaling today, don’t wait. START.

Decide what method you want to use and try it out. If you absolutely hate it, guess what? There are other options.

  • You can draw your feelings instead of using words.
  • You can use a scrapbook style and cut-out words and pictures to paste in your journal.
  • You can use poetry, lists, or music lyrics to express in the unique way you choose.
  • You can choose not to journal at all, and that’s okay too.

Based on what you’ve read so far, are you ready? If so, begin by setting aside time to write each day. At the same time if possible. Remove audio and visual distractions if you can, and write where it’s quiet. If you are having a hard time thinking about what to write, write about that or use journal prompts to get you started.

Journal prompts can be found with a simple google search, on Pinterest, or by joining me and a group of other women on the remainder of a 30-day journaling challenge on Instagram. You still have time to reap the benefits so head over to @livelikeher2, and join us.

I hope this information has sparked or reignited your journaling flame. Remember, getting started is often the most difficult step.

Until next time, Take care!