How to Start Journaling

How to Start Journaling

Journaling can be an incredible asset in helping explore your emotions in a healthy and constructive way. There is nothing worse than bottling up your feelings, whether they be positive or negative, and journaling provides an outlet for these emotions to be expressed without the need to hold back. Journaling can help release the stress of the day by laying everything bare on the page and can help you become more self-aware as you do so. While its benefits seem endless one thing does still seem daunting, how exactly do you start?

Start Small

While it may seem like there is a certain format to follow, there is no one right way to journal. Journaling is done for your own benefit, so there is no template or set of guidelines you need to follow in order to do it “right.” However, this is not to suggest that you shouldn’t still try to challenge yourself. Even if the mood does not strike right away to journal, try anyways. Even if it’s only a couple sentences, the important thing is that you did it. By doing some journaling, even if it’s not pages upon pages of profound thought and epiphanies, it helps build the habit of picking up your journal more frequently. 

Do It For Yourself

We’re sure that many of us have seen the perfectly curated and aesthetic photos of beautifully organized bullet journals swirling around on Pinterest and Instagram. This can seem intimidating when trying to decide on how you want to journal for yourself while everyone online seems to have a practically perfect and photogenic journal ready to adorn the inspiration pages of creatives everywhere. When you first start to journal, it’s important to remember that you’re doing it for you, not for your Instagram feed. The pressure to be perfect can be overwhelming when we don’t take a moment to reflect on the fact that you’re doing something for yourself and not for whoever may see your writing. Keeping your journal entirely private can be a major help in this arena as well as it allows you to be wholly honest without the fear of someone else reading or judging your thoughts and feelings. 

Don’t Feel Confined to a Physical Journal

Sometimes physically writing just does not work. Whether it be because you don’t want to physically write or the trouble of carrying a physical journal with you everywhere, sometimes a pen and paper just isn’t practical. While it may feel like the most traditional route to follow, journaling does not have to be relegated to writing down each and every thought of yours into a Moleskine journal. You can open up a Google or Word document on your computer and effectively word-vomit all your thoughts and feelings about the day at a speed you would never be able to if you had been physically writing. You can also download an app that functions as a journal with its own prompts to help guide you such as 5 Minute Journal or Dabble Me. Journaling is about making it work best for you, and if physically writing isn’t cutting it for you, don’t feel limited as there are other avenues to explore. 

Integrate It Into Your Daily Routine 

Just as with building other healthy habits like going to the gym or going to bed at a certain time every night, journaling needs repetition in order for it to become an everyday habit. Journaling at the same time every day can help build this habit as it starts to become part of your routine. Whether you keep a journal by your bedside to record your dreams as soon as you wake up  or if you like to journal in the afternoon as you take a break for lunch, choosing a specific time dedicated to your journaling can help to integrate it into the rest of your routine. 

Make It Fun and Enjoy Yourself

If you really want to reap the benefits of journaling, make it something that you look forward to doing as opposed to yet another chore you need to cross off your to-do list. Not everyone writes for fun, and there are ways to make it more appealing if you happen to find yourself in that category. For starters, you don’t even have to limit yourself to writing. Sure, if your thoughts are best expressed in words, then more traditional journaling can be useful. If an image would better reflect how you’re feeling, however, feel free to use them to your advantage. Journaling does not have to be limited to words. Draw, paint, scribble whatever you want in your journal because the only bounds to what you put in it are your own reservations. Tape photos into it, palace stickers across the pages, and do whatever you can to make it yours. You can also associate your time to journal with other pleasant activities such as having a cup of tea or a sweet treat and do them in tandem; anything you can do to make it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Key Takeaways

Journaling is ultimately an activity that is meant to help yourself, and the way in which you go about doing so should reflect how you work best. Whether you choose to do it in the more traditional sense and pick up a pen and a physical journal each morning or if you open up a Word document to jot down your thoughts, your journal is distinctly yours and its contents are entirely up to you. Picking a specific time of day to journal can help keep you regular and build a routine, and making this time as enjoyable as possible can turn journaling into an activity you look forward to as opposed to yet another chore you need to do. Regardless of how you choose to go about it, make sure you focus on the good just as much or even more than you do the bad. While venting can be helpful, perpetually focusing on the negative will only serve to highlight these bad feelings. Try to focus on the good, and go forth in whatever way you feel most comfortable.

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