If you were told making one small change in your daily routine could improve your mental health, increase feelings of gratitude, help you create goals and accomplish them, and support you in navigating difficult decisions and situations, you’d want to know what magic pill someone was trying to sell you. No magic pill is needed, however. All of these benefits have been connected with daily journaling.
While journal writing may feel like an overwhelming and daunting task that must be done with precision and perfection, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Keep reading to learn how to begin journaling, and you’ll see how this daily task can be adapted to meet you where you are and help you accomplish your goals.
What is Journaling
Journaling can look different for each individual. It is designed to be a personal experience where one writes about and reflects on their feelings, thoughts, and anything else of importance.
Journal writing is more about the process than the content. Some prefer keeping a journal on their phone or computer, while others enjoy the satisfaction of writing their thoughts down in a notebook with a fancy pen.
What are the Benefits of Journaling
There is a wide range of life changing benefits associated with writing in journals.
First, the mental health benefits of keeping a journal cannot be overlooked. Many individuals face symptoms of depression and anxiety, with recent studies indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic led to such feelings in approximately 40% of individuals.
Journaling can help you process your emotions and improve your mental outlook. This can lead to reduced feelings of depression or anxiety.
Beyond the benefits to one's mental health, creating a consistent writing routine can also help you learn to express your gratitude (often in a specific gratitude journal), develop self awareness, support you through challenging times, and help you set goals for yourself and work to achieve those goals.
How to Get Started with Journaling
If you’re wondering how to start journaling for beginners, it is actually a lot easier than you’re probably thinking. As shared above, writing journal entries is a personal activity that can be differentiated to the individual needs and goals of each person. Below, you’ll find a few tips to help you get your feet wet and begin writing in your journal.
Find a Routine that Works for You
When you’re just getting started with journaling, it can be a bit difficult to decide when you’ll fit it into your busy schedule. One of the best ways to overcome this potential hurdle is to make an appointment each day and add it to your schedule.
Just set a few minutes each day at a time that works for you—perhaps right before going to bed or as you're enjoying your morning coffee—to sit down and write. When you journal consistently and make it part of your daily routine, it will become a habit. This will help you realize all the benefits that the journaling process has to offer.
Write About Anything That is on Your Mind
There is no wrong thing to write about when you’re thinking about journaling ideas. Let your stream of consciousness flow and write honestly about anything that is on your mind.
Topics could include emotions, ideas you have, your professional life, or a to do list to help you feel more organized. Nothing is off limits; you’re in charge.
You don't have to write pages and pages. Writing daily is more important than writing two or three pages at a time.
Don’t Write for Anyone Else
As you’re thinking about how to start journaling for mental health, remember that your journal is for your eyes only. Don’t feel that you have to write for anyone else. Think about what is important to you and work to avoid being too self critical as you try to process the day’s events and prepare for what is to come.
Try Journaling Prompts
Writer’s block is real. Sometimes it can be hard to decide what you want to write about. Rather than skipping writing in your journal when you’re feeling uninspired, find some daily prompts that could provide you with some inspiration to get writing.
Journal prompts may include topics such as writing about who or what you’re grateful for, how your body is feeling, the emotions you’re holding on to, or things that are worrying you.
Just Keep Writing
Another tip for how to journal daily is just to start writing and let the words flow out. Don’t stop yourself to edit or revise, just write. Once you’re finished writing, you can re read your work and reflect on it.
Bring a Journal With You Wherever You Go
When you’re looking to start a journal, try to bring it with you when you go somewhere. You may find times in your daily life where you want to gather your thoughts on the page, think about your to do lists, or tap into your creative side.
If you have your daily journal with you, you’ll always be prepared to write a journal entry.
Alternatively, you could always use the notes app on your phone as a digital journal if your physical journal isn’t accessible.
Make Journaling Fun
One of the most important tips for how to journal is to make the daily habit fun.
There is no right or wrong way to journal, only the way that works best for you. Choose the right paper journal or beautiful notebook to write in, and pull out a nice fountain pen.
Don’t forget about the ambiance in the room as well. Consider lighting a few candles or playing some soft music in the background to help you relax and really dive into your personal journal.
Get Started with Journaling Today
Keeping a journal doesn’t need to be viewed as ‘just one more thing’ on your massive to-do list. Rather, it can help provide a much needed reprieve from the demands of everyday life.
Taking a few minutes to collect your thoughts, reflect on the day, and prepare yourself for everything else on your schedule can do wonders for your mental health and your ability to face challenges.
Whether you’ve been searching for how to start bullet journaling, how to start art journaling, or are looking to start a traditional paper journal, start your journaling habit today!
How do beginners start journaling?
When you’re thinking about journaling how to start, it can feel very overwhelming. In reality, however, as a beginner, the important thing is just to give it a try. Find a time in your daily schedule and add writing in your journal to your routine so it becomes a habit. Make sure you're comfortable when you’re writing, and choose a journal and special pen that make you happy. If you’re stumped about what to write, look for some prompts to help you fill in that blank page.
What to write when you start journaling?
When you start a writing journal, you are in control over what you write about. Your diary entry could include feelings, intense emotions, your goals and aspirations, gratitude, a recap of the day’s events, questions or concerns over future happenings, or anything else you’d like to include.