Why is journaling important and how to make it a habit

Dear Diary,

WHY IS JOURNALING SO DAMN HARD!

Warmly,
Every single person who has tried hard to journal

So, do you journal?

If yes, then this post just isn’t for you 🙂

Do you want to journal but can’t because developing this habit is kind of difficult? I see.

Growing up, I saw a line of diaries on our bookshelf. They belonged to my grandfather and great-grandfather. There were random entries of daily activities and lists that did not really make sense to me. However, one thing that I did understand was that they were into journaling.

But that wasn’t something I was sure about. Also, I was 6 so I don’t think I was ready for that kind of journaling. When I asked my mom about it she told me she used to keep a diary of quotes she loved. That made some sense. But if I was to only jot down things I liked it was not something I would be doing every day. Anyway, I liked the idea and started doing this. I even added lyrics, sometimes tiny drawings etc.

Now, starting a new thing because it sounds cool and you’re inspired is one thing but knowing why it is important can be added advantage. So here we go 💃🏽

Why is journaling important

I took a happiness course in 2020. The course is called The Science of Well-Being and it is on Coursera. Journaling was one of the habits to be built to be happier.

Reduces stress

This study showed that journaling 3 minutes every day helped patients, families and healthcare practitioners helped reducing stress.

Clears mind

When you write everything down, your mind becomes emptier. It also helps you articulate your own thoughts in order to understand yourself better.

Helps process your emotions

Sometimes you keep on thinking about the same thing again and again in a loop. At those times, it becomes hard to understand how you feel about things. Going on overdrive is easy when you don’t have a way to let it all out. And the easiest way to let it all out? Journaling.

Improves mindfulness

Being mindful means being present. Journaling helps you get out of the endless cycle of thinking and overthinking making you more mindful.

Acts as a mood booster

Journaling clears your mind, helps you sort your emotions, makes you mindful and hence it is a mood booster.

What are different types of journaling

  1. Gratitude Journal – Writing thing you’re grateful for.
  2. Fitness Journal – Keeping track of your workouts, food intake, health etc.
  3. Food Journal – Write down things you eat/ want to eat. This one can even have some recipes.
  4. Doodle/ Sketch Journal – Drawing things you feel like in the moment.
  5. Events of the day Journal – Recalling things that happened throughout the day.
  6. Dream Journal – Jotting down your dreams.
  7. To-do list – Just the regular to-do list.
  8. Stream of consciousness Journal – Emptying your mind of thoughts you’re having in the moment.
  9. Mix Journal – All of the above things.

You can choose any of the above options to journal about or you can use prompts like these 👇🏼

Journal prompts for a week

Apart from this, you can also make topic-related journals.

Example: Journal about books which can have quotes, designs, and themes from the book you’re reading.

Series and shows related journal that has your favourite dialogues and information on actors etc.

Problems one faces when trying to journal

  1. Can’t find something to be grateful for every single day.
  2. Forgetting to journal.
  3. Feeling frustrated about food entries.
  4. No motivation to draw, doodle, sketch or paint.
  5. Feeling blank/ clueless.

This list is limited but there can be more reasons why you might not feel like journaling. So what to do?

How to start journaling and make it a habit

First of all, you need to find out what type of journaling you’re into. Something that you can go on doing in a long run.

So, start small.

Instead of trying to write a gratitude journal every day, try writing a mixed journal every day where you can write anything to everything. Just add the date and write one thing that’s on your mind.

Analyse your journal after 30-60 days and you will see a pattern. Find out what you’re writing the most about, when you go beyond one line per day and what triggers you. Once you have analysed it, you will know your journal type. Once you know what you like, it will become relatively easier for you to continue journaling.

You can also keep on writing one line every day in case you feel like going for one particular topic is a lot. In that case, you can have two journals:

  1. One for your one-line entry.
  2. One that you fill in occasionally based on a specific topic.

Have a fix time to write your journal entries. Having a fixed routine makes it easier to form a habit. Journal before or after your daily meditation. Clubbing two tasks makes it easier to build a habit.

Use what you have. You don’t need a fancy journal to start. You can use any notebook, your notetaking app or even an online blog as your journal. The choice is yours.

A journey of 1000 miles begin with a single step.

Chinese proverb

So, the first thing that you need to do is to decide to start and then start. Start now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: