Self-care and self-development are something everyone is talking about lately, and there’s a good reason for it. We all know that taking care of our mental health and taking time to focus on ourselves can really make a massive difference in our life. Self-help is the latest trend, from yoga to therapy, the list of options seems infinite. So why is everyone talking about journaling? Perhaps one of the most underrated forms of self-care is putting pen to paper and here are a few journaling ideas for beginners.
Remember the days when you used to write ‘Dear Diary’? We’re essentially going back to those basics but now there’s so much more you can do, each session can bring something new.
There are so many benefits and styles of journaling that can offer something for everyone, whether you are a complete beginner or a self-proclaimed pro.
What Is Journaling and Why Should I Do It?
Journaling can be something different for everyone, but generally, journaling is the act of writing down all your thoughts and feelings. This can be beneficial in so many ways.
Writing down all your feelings and emotions can be cathartic and stress relieving. Imagine you have a problem and you tell someone else all about it, it can make you feel better just by telling someone else and feel like you are taking the weight off your shoulders.
Journaling has a similar effect. By writing all of those emotions down, you release them from your mind and it can make things easier.
Journaling can also help you find clarity in your thoughts. At times when you might have a lot on your mind, you might find it helpful to write all those things down. This can help you to organize your thoughts in a more logical way.
For example, if you were really stressed about a new job and you weren’t sure whether you wanted to take it or not you could write down the pros and cons and any other thoughts you have. This will help you to think more about the problem and allow you to think logically about a solution.
Writing down your thoughts in this way can also help with decision-making as it can prompt you to think about more things that you might not have considered before.
Another way journaling can be useful is to help you remember things. You can write about events that have happened in your life that you might have otherwise later forgotten about.
When you write about something that has happened, you can express your thoughts and feelings in a detailed way to help you create a picture of the event. This gives you better memories when you read back on what you have written because you can see how you thought and felt about it at the time.
When you journal in this way, it also allows you to reflect on your life. When you might have been struggling with something you can look back and reflect on how you overcame that.
Those are just a few of the main reasons why journaling can be good for you and your mental health. Depending on why how and why you journal, you might find a number of other benefits.
What Time Should I Write the Journal?
The age-old question is, when should I journal?
In the morning or the night, on a full moon or after lunch? The reality is there really is no right or wrong answer. You can journal whenever works best for you, or whenever you feel compelled to pick up the pen.
If you’re starting from scratch and it doesn’t yet feel totally comfortable to write about your feelings then you should try starting small before committing to writing seems every day.
Some people like to write first thing in the morning, write their gratitudes, and set their intentions for the day. Others might prefer the evening to reflect on the day. As you get further into writing and journaling, you will find a groove that works best for you.
You might find that starting at different points in the day, or using different techniques can bring something new to your session so don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone.
Remember, there are really no right or wrong approaches when it comes to journaling, the reason you do it is to make a positive impact on yourself so do what feels right.
What Should I Write In the Journal?
When you’re ready to start writing you might feel yourself the question, well what should I write? If you’re not feeling drawn to write about anything in particular then here are a few different types of journaling you could try.
5 Creative Journaling Ideas for Beginners
Gratitudes are a good base for anyone wanting to start journaling. You can simply write about things that you are grateful for in your life. Anything that comes to mind, such as your good health, a loving family, or the amazing breakfast you just cooked up.
As you might have guessed, this approach can help you find more gratitude in your life. When you start seeking out the things you are grateful for, you notice them more often and as a result, you find more positivity every day.
This approach is typically done every morning, just a couple of sentences. But remember, there are no strict rules here!
Similar to writing out gratitudes you can also write down intentions. This is also something you might want to do at the very start of your day or week.
You can write a couple of sentences about your intentions for the time ahead. That could be anything such as you want to spend more time with your family at the weekend, or you want to set an intention to be kind to every stranger you meet that week.
Setting intentions will help you focus on what is important to you and what brings you happiness.
Freewriting is probably the most known form of journaling. This is when you write freely about anything and everything. You can write without a purpose about anything that comes to mind. What you write doesn’t necessarily need to make any sense either.
This form of journaling can be great when you need to get something off your mind or just get your thoughts out. Sometimes this can also be a great way to get all your thoughts out before organizing them.
4. Habit Tracking
Habit tracking is another different journaling technique. This is typically done by tracking your daily or weekly activities such as going on a walk, reading a book, or going to the gym. You can record anything you do, how often you do it, and how it makes you feel.
The feeling part is arguably the most important part here from a self-improvement point of view. By tracking your habits and your feelings from those habits, you can see what makes you feel good or bad, and then do more of the good stuff and less of the bad.
5. Food Tracking
Another form of habit tracking is food tracking. This can be helpful to many people to find out which foods make them feel better than others, particularly if they want to improve their diet by including more nutritious foods.
There are so many other techniques for journaling, the list could be endless. To name a few others include shadow work, manifesting and scripting, creating lists, or bullet journaling. Different types of journaling can help aid your self-improvement in different ways.
Habit tracking might help you to lead a healthy lifestyle, but gratitude might help you to be more positive. Choose something that works for you and your goals.
Journal prompts can be really useful if you’re experiencing writer’s block, or you want something new to write about. Prompts are a whole journaling technique altogether. Here are some of my favorite journal prompts to pick you up when you’re not quite sure where to start.
- What am I most grateful for today?
- How can I create more time for the things I love?
- What is the last thing that made me smile?
- Is there anything I regret?
- What do I need to hear today?
- Am I proud of myself?
- What can I do to be more confident in my skills?
- Who do I appreciate most?
- What do I love most about my life?
- What is my biggest weakness?
If you want more journal prompts there are loads of places to find them, a quick Google search will bring you loads of great resources. You can get journal flashcards that have been specially created as journal and conversation starters.
Types of Journals
So you might think that the journal itself doesn’t make much difference to what you write inside it, but you would be surprised. You can definitely pick up any notepad or book and start writing, and of course, what you write will make the biggest impact.
However, some people prefer books that have been designed to be journals that give them the prompts and starting points they need to get the most out of their session. If you want to try something different from plain paper, here are some options for you.
- 5 Minute Journal
- Daily Gratitude Journal
- Bullet Journal
Goal Setting Planner or Journal
- Dream Journal
- Mindfulness Journal
- Travel Journal
- One Line A Day Journal
There are also digital journals if you are not much of a hand writer.
You could start off with a Plain document or there are many websites and apps that can have prompts to start you off too.
There are so many choices out there to choose from, some will work for you better than others so be prepared to experiment.
Conclusion: Journaling Ideas for Beginners
Now you know all about journaling, there’s nothing more to do other than get a pen and start writing.
You might find it unfamiliar or strange to write about your feelings, but trust the process and soon it will start to feel natural and you will begin to see its positive impact.