Journaling allows individuals to reflect on their emotions, thoughts, life events, and so much more. While some may think that journaling looks the same from one person to the next, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Journaling is a very personal activity and one that is unique to each person. Once you learn more about the various types of journaling one can choose from, you’ll understand why this is such a beneficial and customizable experience that can meet the needs of any individual. Continue reading, and we’ll share more about the different types of journaling—from reflective journaling to gratitude journaling to food journaling and more!
Different Types of Journaling
When you’re thinking about journal or diary writing, you may have a set picture in your head of someone sitting down and recording the events from their day. While this can be one type of journaling, it certainly isn’t the only type. Read through the next few sections to learn more about the types of journals to keep to help you decide which journaling style offers the best fit for your needs and preferences.
Daily journaling allows you to recount the events of each day. Each individual's approach to daily journaling can vary. Some recount the day with great attention to detail, writing pages and pages about important to mundane events, while some prefer to write just a short bulleted list picking up the highlights of the day.
Whichever approach you take (or whether you choose to be somewhere in the middle), this journal method can provide you with a keepsake that you (and possibly your loved ones) can look back on in the future years.
Reflective journaling can be very valuable for those trying to process emotions and understand their day to day activities.
Rather than just serving as a place to recount the events of the day, a reflective journal allows individuals to reflect back on how they were feeling during the day, or even farther back into their past.
Reflective journaling can be quite therapeutic. However, you may also feel overwhelmed about where to even start. In these instances, finding some reflective journaling prompts may be helpful.
Your future self will be thankful for the time you put into understanding and unpacking the events of your past.
Gratitude journaling is one of the types of journaling styles that can have a huge impact on your overall happiness and satisfaction with your life. If you’re in a tough spot, and feel like everything is working against you, starting a gratitude journal could help you appreciate all the positive things that are going well in your life and improve your mental health.
If you want to start a gratitude journal, it could be as easy as writing down 4 to 6 things that you are thankful for each evening. You could start by simply listing these items, or expand and elaborate on why you are thankful for them.
Stream of Consciousness Journaling
With stream of consciousness journaling, your goal is simply to write whatever comes to your mind. There is no goal or objective regarding what you write about, it is simply designed to help you get out whatever is on your mind.
Julia Cameron’s morning pages, where users are challenged to write three pages each day, is one type of stream of consciousness writing.
Brain dumping onto a blank canvas can be challenging, but once you get into the habit, you may be surprised with what comes to your head as you write.
Bullet journaling is one of the types of notebooks and journaling techniques that can serve multiple functions and help keep your life organized. With the bullet journal method, you can use your journal as a daily diary, to create lists and keep track of tacks, as a calendar, and to reflect on your feelings and emotions.
Rather than having blank or lined journal paper refills, bullet journals have a dot grid pattern. With this pattern already on the page on the physical journal, you can choose to lay out each page however you'd like. Many individuals who keep a bullet journal add special patterns, stickers, or artwork throughout their journal as well.
Processing your emotions through art journaling can be a very therapeutic practice. This is one of the types of journaling techniques that is for everyone, not just those who consider themselves artistic.
On each blank page of your art journal, you can draw pictures, paint lines and blocks, or whatever you think will help you reflect on the day and express yourself through art. If you’d like, you can add some creative writing to go along with your pictures, but that is up to you. Tap into your creative side and let the rest take care of itself.
If you love visiting new places, a travel journal may be the right fit for you. Travel journals allow individuals to preserve their memories and reflect on the various trips and experiences they’ve enjoyed. Travel journal entries often include written words along with pictures or drawings from a trip.
If you’re looking for some types of journals that can help you be more intentional about what you’re putting in your body, consider trying a food journal. Food journals can be used in different ways, depending on the goals and objectives of each individual.
Some use a food journal to record their food intake and make sure they’re meeting their health and lifestyle goals, while others use them to reflect on and remember special memories around food.
A reading journal may be ideal for you if you love reading and deeply analyzing the texts you enjoy. Whether you’re in a book club, or prefer to reflect on the books you read on your own, you may find that keeping a reading journal can help gain a deeper understanding of a book and track how your opinions change as you read.
Similarly, a Bible journal may be for you if you wish to develop a deeper connection to written scripture.
Do you have big goals for improving your physical activity? Do you love going to the gym and want to work to run faster, swim more, or lift heavier weights? If so, keeping a fitness journal may be the best fit for you.
In your fitness journal, you can track your workouts and celebrate victories, motivating you to keep up the hard work.
Choosing Among the Different Types of Journals
Now that you know more about the different types of journaling, which style do you feel is right for you? Consider your options, pick out a gorgeous journal and some special pens that will motivate you to write, and start journaling today!
What is the best kind of journaling?
There is no ‘best kind’ of journaling. The best type of journaling is the one that best meshes with your needs and desires. For example, if you want to work on appreciating all the positives in your life, you may decide to try a gratitude journal. If you’re an avid traveler and want to record your experiences to remember and reflect on in the future, perhaps a travel journal is best for you. You may also decide to start a dream journal to keep track of your dreams to look for patterns or symbolism.
There is also nothing saying you can’t keep multiple types of journals and choose which one to write on based on your immediate needs and preferences.