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The ‘How To’ Guide for Journaling for Beginners

Journaling is a way to express your thoughts and feelings and to shape your ‘abstract’ internal feelings by giving them a meaningful life on paper.  It’s a daily exercise that can train your emotional side to deal with life’s difficulties and uncertainty. Daily journaling helps you to be strong mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

One of the best approaches to journaling for beginners is to push aside the ideals and do what works for you. There are no hard and fast rules about how to journal; the simple process of getting your emotions down on paper, scribble or not, is cathartic. Read on for more on journaling ideas for beginners.

Mim Jenkinson

What are the benefits of daily journaling?

There are an array of benefits to journaling daily, many revolving around mental health and self-development. Self-development is an ever-lasting process, and adding daily journaling to your lifestyle will help you keep track of your daily routine, and it’ll keep you motivated.

Researchers at Harvard Business School discovered that journaling could do so much more than keep you motivated; it can help you pay attention to the smaller details you’d otherwise miss. By focusing on these smaller details, we can learn so much about ourselves.

Numerous studies show that journaling daily can help individuals deal with everyday stress and other mental health advantages. A 2005 study conducted on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing found that journaling 15 to 20 minutes at least three times a week made a difference to mood, stress and depression levels.

Think of journaling as being similar to meditation. Writing your thoughts down on a paper helps you slow down and focus on your writing details. Writing down your thoughts is not about ‘overthinking’ but focusing on things happening in your life. James W. Pennebaker of the University of Texas has been researching the benefits of writing to heal. He explains that when you do this, particularly when you write about emotional events in your life, it allows you to take a step back and evaluate. You’re focusing on how to move forward instead of detrimentally obsessing over the emotional event. When you move forward, stress levels go down, and you start to feel better.

There are many advantages to writing a journal, but how do you start the writing process? And more importantly, “what” should you write about?

Journaling tips for beginners

How to start a daily journal

Journaling is a habit that you should inherit in your lifestyle. Working out how to journal daily takes finding a journal that suits you (see below), and your journaling sessions will become something you’ll look forward to, not just because of the journal but because of how the journaling process makes you feel.

Journaling is a very individual practice. When figuring out how to start journaling, avoid being rigid by following other people’s journal approaches, particularly if this doesn’t suit your personality. Instead, sit with your pen and book and let the thoughts flow. There is no right or wrong way to use a journal; your journal is for you only.

Mim Jenkinson

Best journals for beginners

There’s no one size fits all for journals, but the one you choose must fit your lifestyle. Here is a list of the best journals for beginners:

Gratitude Journal – If you’re seeking increased positivity, this is the journal for you. It’s also a good option if you’re not keen on writing a lot.

Dream Journal – This option is great if you want to incorporate dream analysis into your self-development.

Reflective Journal – Do you like to take situations or events and relive them while adding your observations and commentary to make sense of them? Then a Reflective Journal is for you.

Bullet Journal – If you love being streamlined, organized and productive, a bullet journal is for you. With different sections, you can get organized on one page and reflect on the other.

Blank Notebook Journal – This type of journal offers flexibility; there’s no particular structure, so you can make it what you like.

Art Journal – You don’t have to be an artist for this one. An art journal is a good option if you’d prefer to articulate your emotions and thoughts without using words. 

Now you’ve got your journal sorted, let’s figure out how to start and what to write!

Decide What to Write

Starting to write a daily journal isn’t always easy. We can be overwhelmed by many thoughts and journaling ideas for beginners. It can be hard to know which direction to take.

Before you start, determine your reason for writing. For example, track your moods by noting your feelings and what has been happening in your life. It is a simple and effective way to track mood triggers.

If you have some thoughts and emotions running in your head, write them down in a natural flow. By giving words to your thoughts, you’ll feel a lot better. It’ll slow down your thought process, and you’ll able to concentrate more on important things.

And don’t worry about getting stuck for journaling ideas. Google ‘Journal Prompts’ to find lists of ideas to get you started.

Decide When to Write

Before deciding what time of the day you should choose to write, you’ll first need to know how much time you should take to write a daily journal.

Usually, 10-15 minutes daily is enough. But when?

Well, It depends upon the individual. What fits in with your lifestyle? Are you a night owl or an early bird?  Many people prefer to write down their consciousness in the morning, while others prefer to scribble their thoughts in the night because it eliminates the cycle of thoughts that may otherwise stop them from falling asleep. If writing during your lunch break works for you, then do it!

Time doesn’t matter here. It’s your consistency and willingness that matters the most, two things that will eventually turn journaling into a habit.

The Bottom Line

Journaling for beginners is an enriching experience, the process of connecting with yourself on a deeper level. With so many benefits (even more than we’ve listed in this blog post), journaling is the cheapest therapy you will find.  Keep your journal private and feel the relief you get when you pour out your heart and mind into your book without receiving criticism. That in itself is a massive weight off your shoulders and is the start of many positive outcomes.

 

You can check out my range of printable planners and journals at Paper Planner Club.

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.