Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Thank you. Read our disclosure + terms here.
There used to be a time I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel, going through the motions of life without really knowing where you're headed. Can you relate?
Look no further than the classic practice of journaling to shake things up and take your self-care game to the next level. I promise it’s not as tedious or boring as you think and I double pinky promise it will help.
Honestly, with just a pen and paper, you can unlock the power of being mindful while connecting with your own inner wisdom. By jotting down your thoughts, you'll gain a greater understanding of your emotions and actions.
And because you’re becoming more aware, it will allow you to make intentional choices that align with your values and goals. Plus, it's a great way to vent and release any pent-up stress or frustration.
Think of your journal as your personal therapist – always there to listen without judgment and offer insights, observations and solutions to problems that come your way. Truthfully, the best part? You don't need any fancy equipment or training to get started.
Just grab a notebook and let your thoughts flow freely. Unless you’re like me and have a favorite notebook, then grab that one! I’ll share some of my favorite ones below!
Let’s jump into some of the ways that journaling can actually help you too!
Why Journaling Is Uber Beneficial
Brings Focus to the Positives
Spoiler Alert: It turns out that the more you give attention to something, the more it blossoms and grows into something bigger and better! That's right, friend – it's time to start giving some love and appreciation to the positive things in your life if you want to see them flourish.
So, let's make a deal, shall we? Promise yourself to take a moment every day to reflect on the good things that happened, no matter how small they may seem. Seriously, it can be the smallest thing that gives you happiness or joy. Bask in it.
Maybe you had a great cup of coffee this morning, or a friend sent you a hilarious meme that made your day.
You could made it out of the house with the same socks on (that is a feat on its own).
Maybe your kid was extra sweet and you wanted to savor the moment.
Oooh, you got an extra 5 minutes of dreamy sleep.
Maybe you woke up early to get your workout in and now you’re starting the day with a little extra pep in your step. Huzzah!
Whatever it is, write it down or take a mental note and bask in that positivity for a moment.
You'll be amazed at how quickly this small habit can transform your life.
As you journal on these moments, it creates a ripple effect. You start to see things differently. Suddenly, you'll start noticing more and more great things happening around you, and before you know it, you'll be living your best life!
So go ahead, give it a try and watch your world light up with positivity!
Disclaimer: Of course, I know (through constant experience), not everyday is going to sunshine and rainbows. That’s not the point of this. The point of this is to create forward momentum through writing down things that you sometimes forget about throughout your day.
Encourages Thought Processing
This goes towards my disclaimer above. It's totally okay to feel down and out when negative things happen in your life. But the trick is not to stay there forever! Through journaling, it will give you time to process the thoughts, emotions and feelings that you’re having.
By taking this approach, you'll be able to learn from those negative experiences and channel that knowledge into positive actions that will help you in the future. One thing it has definitely helped me to do is recognize certain patterns I have with my thoughts too. I wouldn’t have taken the time to look at that if I didn’t take the time to process my thoughts through journaling.
So go ahead, feel those feelings, but don't let them hold you back. There are better things waiting for you, so let's get out there and make them happen!
Clarify Your Thoughts
Oh, boy, have you ever felt like your brain is playing a game of Jenga with all your thoughts? It can be a total mess when all those puzzle pieces are just jumbled up and confusing.
But don't worry, I've got a solution! Can you notice a theme? ;).
Seriously though, when you're feeling overwhelmed and your thoughts are in a tangle, take a step back and give yourself some clarity. Journal and reflect on the initial thought. And then try to restate it in a different way using simple and clear details.
A technique I learned recently that really helped me recently was creating 4 different answers for each question.
I would say – for each thought you have
It's amazing how a little clarity can make all the difference in the world. You'll be able to make sense of all those puzzle pieces in no time and feel like a total rockstar! So go ahead, give it a try and see how it can change your life.
Journaling Regulate Your Emotions
Emotions can be a wild ride, can't they? At times, emotions can become overpowering and before you realize it, you end up experiencing a wide range of feelings that you may not desire.
I've got a secret weapon for you – emotional regulation! Using journaling will help you to regulate the emotions that you’re feeling.
It's like putting a leash on those wild emotions and teaching them who's boss – kind of. You can do this by reappraising the situation and changing the way you perceive it. And it gives you the opportunity to learn how to self-soothe in a healthy way.
So next time you feel like your emotions are getting the best of you, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is this really how I want to feel?” Then write it out! If you don’t have time – no worries. I carry a small notebook with me in my purse sometimes and I’ll set a timer for 1 minute so that I can just get pen to paper. If you can’t get a journal out, use a note or writing app on your phone.
Then, try to reframe the situation in a way that feels safe, healthy, and seen for you.
With a little practice, emotional regulation can become your superpower. So go ahead, take control of those emotions and show them who's boss!
Learn About Your Why & Discover Yourself
Journaling can help you discover your inner self and understand why you do what you do. It's like having a personal therapist at your fingertips, except it's way cheaper!
The question to ask yourself before you do anything in life is why.
- Why do you want to do it?
- Is there a reason you are doing it this way?
- What data has prompted you to do it this way?
Writing down your questions, thoughts, feelings, and ideas can assist you to learn more about yourself and discover why you think, say, and do things in a particular way.
And because you’ve started to track and write down your thoughts… You might just uncover some hidden motivations or learn something new about yourself.
Enables You to Express Gratitude
Journaling is an effective way to cultivate a habit of expressing gratitude. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.which can have numerous benefits for your overall well-being.
So… what I’m saying is that when you take a few minutes each day for your journaling practice and you’ll sleep more and be a more delightful person. You’re welcome 😉
Taking a few minutes – I promise – it takes me about 3 minutes to journal my gratitude in my morning routine. And when you regularly reflect on the things in your life that you’re grateful for, you begin to shift your focus away from negative thoughts and experiences. You stop thinking about the “meh” stuff. It doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of that. Life is life. It’s messy, it’s really hard sometimes and it’s blah.
However, it’s also really beautiful. It’s serene. It’s connectedness and it’s a piece of who you are.
So taking this time to create gratefulness in your life can lead to increased feelings of happiness and positivity. Additionally, when you make a habit of finding something good in everyone and everything, your appreciation for life grows even stronger.
Through journaling, you can create a record of your gratitude journey, allowing you to look back and reflect on the things you have been thankful for over time. This can serve as a reminder of the positive aspects of your life, even during challenging times.
I love the Gratitude & Growth Journal that I created to keep track of your gratitude and how you’re feeling. I notice a huge difference when I’m taking the time to reflect on what I’m grateful for.
Journaling Strengthens Your Memory
As someone with ADHD, I already find it hard to remember what I “have” to remember. So adding in a bunch of other things pushes out memories that I do want to remember. Memories are not solidified until you give your brain time to reset and organize your memories.
Using journaling to write down memories or experiences that are important to you will help you to strengthen your memory. And not only that, let’s say you do forget – having the memory documented so you can come back to it is a great way to reflect on those memories.
When you write your thoughts, ideas, and experiences by hand, you are more likely to remember what you wrote on your paper. Plus, the act of physically writing things down engages different parts of your brain, which can also aid in memory retention.
Writing Down Your Thoughts Builds Self-Confidence
And last but certainly not least, journaling has the power to boost your self-confidence and leave you feeling like a total rockstar! When you take the time to reflect on your life through the pages of your journal, you'll begin to see how far you've come and how much you've accomplished. And that’s no small feat. You’re here, showing up, doing the work, you’re reflecting, journaling, taking action and you should be so proud of yourself.
Also, by acting with purpose and intention, you'll start to realize that you have more control over your life than you previously thought. And as you track your progress and successes in your journal, you'll build up a sense of pride and confidence in yourself that can carry over into all areas of your life.
Whether you're looking to improve your relationships, your career, or your personal growth, journaling can help you stay on track and focused on your goals. So, keep writing, keep reflecting, and keep building that self-confidence, because you're capable of achieving anything you set your mind to!
Notebooks I Love For Journaling
And before we go, I wanted to share notebooks that I use and love for journaling.
I actually have a notebook for learning, a notebook for journaling, a notebook for my goals. I’m starting to notice a bit of a trend with notebooks that I like – they all have motivational sayings on them.
Here are a couple:
- Fringe Make Your Mark Mauve Notebook
- Compendium Good Things Start Here Notebook
- Ban.do Find Joy Notebook
In conclusion, creating a journaling routine will help you shape your life. I know you will start to see things differently. And that’s a domino effect that will bring about so much good stuff! So happy to be on this growth journey with you!
Before we go there are some action steps that you can take to get yourself going.
- Take a few minutes (set a timer to 3 minutes) and journal around what you want to feel over the next 7 days. How can you bring more of that feeling into your life?
- Journal around a memory that brings you complete and utter joy