Daily Journaling Benefits & Top 12 Journals to Buy
Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time. – Mina Murray
A journal is simply a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use. According to The History of Journaling, “The desire to record details of our lives is as old as handwriting itself.”
What began as a simple way to record private events has now evolved into an act and art performed daily by people across the world as a means of personal growth and development. It is also a top recommendation for reducing daily stress.
What are The Benefits of Journaling? The benefits of journaling are countless and completely specific to each individual, but here are some of the most common:
- Quiets the mind. Once you’re able to transfer thoughts inside your own head somewhere else, your mind becomes quieter. When your mind becomes quieter, you are better able to process daily life.
- Helps process daily life. Life is stressful. There is simply no way around it; we have to work through it the best we can. By journaling daily, you are better able to process life and all that is (or isn’t) happening.
- Keeps you goal-focused. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. (source) Record your goals in your journal in order to be clear on what you really want, and find motivation to take the actions necessary for achieving them.
- Enhances vocabulary and writing skills. When you journal, you develop vocabulary and writing skills to help define your written voice. Journaling keeps your mind fresh with new words and thoughts, and helps to put them together in a cohesive manner.
- Can fill you with more gratitude. When writer’s block hits, you can always return by listing out all the things you’re grateful for in your journal. By doing this, you’ll see how much there is to be grateful for, when just minutes ago you might not have thought about them at all. Gratitude breeds more gratitude.
- Reflection. If you’re journaling daily and then keeping those journals year-upon-year, the journal itself acts as a life reflection. You’ll be able to see where you were, compared to where you are now, and where you want to go in the future.
What Are Some Different Approaches to Journaling?
- The All-in-One Journal. This is the traditional journal – the one where you sit down with pen and paper and a lined (or unlined) journal, and just write: about anything and everything, using any style desired. (This is sometimes also referred to as the Stream of Consciousness Journaling.)
- Morning Pages. “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.” Get in the habit of writing these three pages, and see how it sets the tone for the rest of your day.
- Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal has picked up a lot of steam recently. Bullet Journal® (or BuJo® for short) was created by Ryder Carroll. It is “a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.”
- One-Line Journal. This is the simplest, most basic form of journaling you can do. Set one line for each day in your journal and commit to filling just that one line. You might not get as much out of it as some of the other (longer) methods, but you are sure to identify patterns, thoughts, and ideas over time.
- Gratitude Journal. Most journaling experts will tell you that a benefit to journaling is that it allows you to give thanks, reduce stress, and show gratitude. If all you want to focus on is the gratitude part, you can fill an entire journal with daily gratitude. Studies show that showing gratitude can make you happier.
- The Goal Journal. Use your journal as a means for setting, tracking, and reflecting on goals. Keep a goal journal for all pieces of your life, both personal and professional. No goal is too lofty.
- The Doodle Journal. 95% of this post, and its recommendations, are around the written entry – but creativity and self-expressiveness are also found in sketches, creative art, and doodling. If that’s how you release creative energy, make journaling work for you in this alternative way.
- The Physical Journal. Are you about to embark on a new fitness journey? Or maybe you are already an accomplished athlete who is looking to set a lofty new goal? Let a physical journal allow you to explore all things athletic and fitness-inspired.
- Dream Journaling. Do you have a lot of very vivid dreams, but also the tendency to forget them upon waking up? You can use a journal to write your dreams right away, while they are still fresh in your mind.
How To Keep A Journal
- Decide on the approach to journaling you want to use (from above).
- Choose the writing utensil and journal (see below for our top 12 journals) that best coincides with both your personal journaling method and personality. What type of writing utensil do you want to use? Pen, pencil, marker, crayon? And what does the journal look like in size, color, design, etc.?
- Find your personal journaling space and set-up to maximize inspiration and creativity. Where do you physically want to be when you’re journaling? Will there be music or no music? A lot of light or little light? Will you have a cup of coffee or tea to accompany you?
- Just write. Don’t feel pressure to write perfectly or to edit on the spot. Just write and don’t look back. Remember, no one will see your personal journal.
- Make it a habit. Since journaling can change your life, try doing it every day. It takes just 21 days to make a habit, so commit to the same time each day for 21 days and see if it sticks.
Top 12 Journals
- Minte Inspirational Journal
- Field Notes (small enough to take with you wherever you go)
- Whitelines (for those interested in a hand-written journal that can be combined with a digital app)
- Rite in the Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook
- Midori Traveler's Notebook