Journaling Benefits – Guide to Connecting with Yourself

Journaling can be a really great tool for many purposes, whether it’s for memories or practicing positivity, and there are many different reasons to do it. We’re going to discuss some different types of journaling and how you can get started.

Choosing to journal for a specific purpose can be a powerful thing on your journey.  From increasing creativity to finding positivity, there are several benefits to journaling.  The practice of journaling starts with deciding how to do it, why you’re doing it, then keeping up with it.

Have you ever had a rough day and wanted to find a different perspective, or a happy event and wanted to remember everything about it?  Have you ever considered journaling to help with your finding gratefulness and creativity?

What is Journaling?

Journaling is a practice of writing for many different things.  It has several benefits, from keeping track of what you eat to the best things that happened today.  Remember when you were a kid and you or your sister kept a diary?  It’s sort of like that!  But there are so many different forms of journaling and reasoning behind each one, which we will discuss in a bit.

Open journal with pen - Journaling Benefits - Gone Minimal
Open journal with pen

Benefits of Journaling

There are so many wonderful benefits of journaling, regardless of the type you decide to pursue.  Journaling can help you with some of the following:

  • Identifying stress sources-you’ll pay more attention to how you feel when certain things happen.
  • Finding the positives in difficult times-this can switch your mindset from a negative one.
  • Improving emotional intelligence-you’ll better understand why people feel the way they do.
  • Communication methods-writing leads to more use of language and improves communication.
  • Increased creativity-you’ll be using more parts of your brain to write and comprehend your thoughts and feelings.
  • Improved efficiency-figure out there’s better ways to do something based on your reactions and experience.
  • Promotes problem-solving-understanding what went wrong and how to do better next time.
  • Compassion and understanding improves-you’ll see someone else’s point of view.

All of these things can lead to less stress, which is always good.  You can probably see where some of these benefits can contribute to increased work satisfaction and professional growth.  Over time, you may even find that you really enjoy writing and this leads to something new. 

You’ll have a better understanding of your family, coworkers, friends, and perhaps become a better person.  There’s no denying that can make you a happier person overall!

Choosing to journal for a specific purpose can be a powerful thing on your journey.

Types of Journaling

Everyone who journals has their own style and form. Here are a few.

Gratitude Journaling

Write about all of the things you are grateful for each day.  From waking up every morning to the cardinal you saw outside your living room window, write down even the smallest things that happen that made you feel grateful.

Daily Journaling

This is basically a run-down of your daily events, thoughts, etc.  It can include as much as you’d like-even down to the menial tasks you perform each day.  You can choose to journal about the big things and the small things, and everything else in-between.  What all happened today?  Write it down!

Bullet Journaling

Is a way to keep you organized.  A bullet journal has task lists, calendars, notes, and personal organization to keep every day straight.  This type of journaling is especially helpful if you have kids, jobs, events, and to-do lists and just a difficult time remembering everything.  This keeps everything for you in one place!

Dot Journaling

Is similar to bullet journaling and is a way of logging all of your tasks, to-do lists, as well as current and future goals.  It can also be used as a type of diary to keep track of everything. 

Dream Journaling

This one can be a little challenging, but it’s writing down what you dream about each night.  It’s best to do first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed and while the dreams are fresh on your mind.

Journaling for Relaxation

This is a great way to ease the stresses of the day, unload your thoughts, and enhance your focus.  Journaling for relaxation can help with a “brain dump” and letting go of everything. 

Food Journaling

This is especially useful for anyone trying to lose some weight or prepare for a fitness event.  When we write down the food and drink we consume, we become better accountable for what we feed our bodies.  It also helps us identify if we’re consuming too many calories, fat, carbohydrates, etc. to tweak our diet and start seeing improvements again.

Grateful journal - Journaling Benefits - Gone Minimal
Grateful journal

Nature Journaling

Journaling about nature can be a very spiritual awakening.  Write down all of the things you noticed throughout the day-the different breeds of birds that came to the bird feeder, the lizards in your gardens, the flowers growing next to your parking spot at work, and even the weather.

Art Journaling

This is a creative way of journaling that can channel your inner artist.  As you record your thoughts, feelings, and memories you include drawings and pictures.  These added pieces make it a visual diary, so you can see colors and pictures to go along with your words.

Travel Journaling

Travel journaling is a way to record and remember the memories you experience while traveling. It can include photos or listing locations, reflecting on encounters, and listing what personal insights you gained from your travels. Travel journaling captures the mood of a vacation and becomes a treasure to keep.

Journaling Techniques

There are many different techniques to journaling that go beyond “Dear Diary,…”.  These range from completely disorganized and chaotic to highly specific lists.  It’s up to you to decide which technique works best for you:

  • Free Writing: Just write what comes to mind.  It doesn’t have to be organized or even logical.  No rules-just write!
  • Letter Composition: As if you’re writing a letter to someone who did something nice or hurt you, but you’ll never send it.  Either because you don’t know them or because you’re only working out your feelings, write letters to people and keep them to yourself.
  • Dialogue: You’re writing down a conversation between two people, usually yourself and another party (real or fictional).  This way you can practice discussing both sides of something.
  • Another Perspective: Writing down an event you experienced from another person’s point of view (real or fictional) can help you see another side and better understand.  This can help develop your emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Waking Journal: Start writing first thing in the morning.  This can include your dreams (if you remember), yesterday’s events and how you feel given you’ve had time to process, and even your plans for the day.

These are just a few examples of some techniques you can try to get you started journaling.  The sky’s the limit and there are no rules.  Now that we’ve covered some techniques, let’s discuss how to get started.

Writing a journal entry outdoors - Journaling Benefits - Gone Minimal
Writing a journal entry outdoors

How to Start Journaling

First, decide how you’d like to journal.  Paper or computer?  There are several different options available, and to be successful you need to choose what works best for you.  Try different methods and see what’s easier and which you like the best.

Next, decide why you want to start journaling.  Is it to track your thoughts and feelings?  Is it to create a story or novel?  Or is it to improve your memory?  You might even decide to journal to improve your outlook and become a more positive person.  It’s completely up to you to decide.

Once you start journaling, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar.  These are your thoughts and beliefs and spellcheck doesn’t need to interfere. 

Here is a helpful video on how to begin daily journaling:

Examples of Journaling Benefits – From Real People

I asked 5 family/friends what top 3 benefits they would seek from journaling. Here is what I learned and what they shared:

BenefitTally of Family/Friends (Out of 5)
Remember great events3
Decrease stress4
Express myself without hurting anyone4
To keep track of my thoughts3
To feel better about myself5
To improve my self-image4
Practice communication2
For gratitude3

Other Resources:

Journaling can be done in many different ways and has so many benefits.  If you’ve got the desire to start journaling, now is a great time to start.  Whether it’s for remembrance or mental health, it’s a great way to take note of your thoughts and feelings and work through whatever bothers you.

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