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The Many Benefits of Journaling and How to Get Started

Updated on October 22, 2014

Hand-Stamped Journal Pages

A Note about My Personal Experience Journaling

When I was seven years old, I went on my first and only trip to Disney World, and before our departure, I was given my very first journal to record my time there. Once I started, I never stopped. Sure, there were a few breaks here and there when my life got too busy, or so I thought (really, I just didn't make journaling a priority).

Now, writing is all I want to do! I absolutely love my journal, and I love Filofaxing and Scrapbooking as well. Clearly, I love writing for Hubpages, and my blog, ForLoveofCupcakes.com.

So I'd like to share with you the benefits of keeping a journal or diary and how you can easily get started.

My Favorite Octavia Butler Quote about Journaling
My Favorite Octavia Butler Quote about Journaling

11 Benefits of Journaling

1. It's a record of your memories.
2. You can use it for self-reflection and self-improvement, and actually monitor your own growth.
3. Write down your goals and be accountable to yourself / your journal.
4. Keep track of… everything! Anything… whatever you want / need to keep track of.
5. Improve your writing.
6. Jot down everything for which you're grateful.
7. There are actual health benefits to journaling.
8. It removes mental blocks.
9. Get to know yourself.
10. Clarify your own thoughts and feelings, work through disputes or problems.
11. It's relaxing and therapeutic!

[Benefits 7-11 are from or derived from an article written by Maud Purcell on PsychCentral.com]

Different Types of Journals

There are so many different kinds of journals out there. Here are a few that I could think of:

* Notebook. Simply grab any notebook and a pen and just start writing.

* Smashbook. Have you heard of this trendy journal? It's like scrapbooking and journaling combined. You paste in souvenirs from your life, slips of paper you obtain, meaningful quotes, random stuff, anything you want.

* Sketchbook. Here you can write and draw on clean white pages. Ahhh bliss. This is one of my favorite kinds of journals.

* Filofax / Franklin Covey / Day Planner. You get any kind of planner and write your to-dos, goals, and the normal what-you-did-today stuff journaling on each day. Fill it with stickers and washi tape too! I have a whole Hub on How to Set Up Your Planner.

* Idea Book. A notebook filled with your ideas and your journal entries. I have a notebook wherein I write basically everything.

* Prayer Journal. Keep track of your prayer intentions, use it to list things you want to praise God for, journal during Eucharistic Adoration (if you're into it), write down what you're grateful for, and don't forget to note prayers that have been answered.

* Bullet Journal. Watch the video below to find out how to set this up. It's a very specific type of indexed journal, which seems to usually include a lot of to do lists.

My Filofax Week on Two Pages

Here are Some of the Things I Write in my Planner
Here are Some of the Things I Write in my Planner

Supplies

* The Perfect Book
Take your time with this. Go to Barnes and Noble, or search Amazon, but find a journal that is *for YOU*. There are so many different kinds out there! Some have motivational quotes on each page or fun drawings, and some are just blank. They come in all different sizes and thicknesses. I have heard that books without lines are best because they allow for more creativity in your writing.
* Other supplies you'll need include: Pens (my favorites are Felt Tip markers), Stickers, Washi Tape, etc, Scotch Tape / Glue Stick, a Printer, and a Place to Store all of your Journals

Journal Ideas

Great Ideas to Put in a Journal Folder
Great Ideas to Put in a Journal Folder | Source

Getting Started: Just Write

Just start. Seriously start. Starting is the most difficult part of anything. Once you get that pen going on paper, it will get easier. I saw this quote on Pinterest, author unknown: "Writers write. If you want to be a writer, write." It's direct and to the point… I like it.

When Writing For Serious Reasons

When I'm writing a blog post or an article for Hubpages, I often brainstorm the idea first because it allows me to develop my thoughts, and end up with a much higher quality product.

Brainstorm in Your Journal. Mind-Map.

I Love Mind Map Brainstorming!
I Love Mind Map Brainstorming!

What to Write

A long time ago, I read there are three things to write when keeping a journal:

1. What happened?
2. How do you feel about what happened?
3. What does it all mean?

That seems like a great place to start! I've always kept these three things in the back of my mind when I'm jotting down notes about my day. When I was a kid, my journals read like this: "I got up. I played Nintendo. I ate dinner." Needless to say, my journaling has evolved quite a bit since then.

You can also do some Creative Writing in your journal and write down your own Motivational Quotes. Do any or all of the above!!

How to Set up a Bullet Journal

For My Babies

Source

Non-Paper Options for Journals

My blog is comparitively intentional, but a lot of people blog as just an online journal. So you can open up your weblog at whatever hosting site (Blogspot.com is free and easy; that's where I started before moving to a self-hosted Wordpress blog), and just start writing as if it's a paper diary.

Pinterest inspired me to open e-mail accounts for my young kids so that I can send them e-mails as a type of journal to them, which they can read when they're older.


Do You Journal?

Whatever kind, do you keep a Journal or Diary?

See results

Journaling for Dummies

How to Start Journaling in Summary

Now you know all the surprising benefits to keeping a daily journal or diary. Why don't you try it out and see if you like it! Getting started can be as simple as buying a notebook and a pen and jumping right in! If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't worry about all the different kinds of journals until you get your feet wet and discover how much you really love it. Once that happens, you can experiment and find out which system works for you. Happy journaling! I'd like to leave you with one quote:

"A pen coupled with paper can serve as a powerful life tool." - Maud Purcell

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    • profile image

      Peaches 2 years ago

      Awesome & inspiring tips and ideas! The note about buying a journal with no lines triggering creativity is interesting! When I write lyrics/more creative writing, I tend to write on unlined paper. When I do more idea-centered journal writing, however, I like to use lined paper for organizational purposes.

      Another idea unmentioned is dream journaling!! Great way to remember your dreams, and see similarities in what you're dreaming about/your subconscious.

      I absolutely LOVE the idea about opening e-mail accounts for your children as a type of future journal for them, what a cool idea!! :)

      Thanks for the post!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, I have never been a journal person. I am somewhat of a prolific writer at this point in my life, but when I was younger I was much too busy to spend time on journaling. Having said that, I think it is a great exercise, not only for writers, but for anyone who needs to find expression for how they are feeling. Nice food for thought here my friend.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 2 years ago from The Garden State

      I kept a journal during my teens and early 20's and recently re-discovered them stashed away in my attic. It's been an eye opening experience re-reading some of those old entries. It's made me laugh, it's made me a little sad, and it's also made me cringe - A LOT. Haha.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image
      Author

      Jamie Jensen 2 years ago from Chicago

      Peaches: oh Dream Journal!! Great suggestion, thanks!!

      Bill: thanks! I find it to be so. :)

      Freddy's Cat: oh I hate the cringe-y parts!! Thankfully most of those are just on paper and for my eyes only...!

    • Rae-LeighDawn profile image

      Rae-LeighDawn 2 years ago

      I bookmarked this. Amazing hub. Thank you for sharing

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