Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any life issues. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue.
Ten Types of Journals You Can Create
When you begin journaling, it will likely occur to you that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep everything organized. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions.
1. Bullet Journals
This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.
2. Vision Journals
You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement.
3. Line-a-Day Journals
Basically, this journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this.
4. Classic Journal
This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long or short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you may have kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily.
5. Prayer Journal
This is a particular type of journal where you essentially act like your diary or journal is your higher power. Write God your prayers instead of saying them. Write them down so you remember them and can look back on them.
6. Dream Journal
Some people like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs of life. If you want to track your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.
7. Food Journal
Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you feel about eating it, and things like that.
8. Travel Journal
A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pics, and memories.
9. Gratitude Journal
This is just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for. Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.
10. Project Journal
This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.
If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.
Benefits of keeping a journal
1. Boosts Your Mood
If you want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is where it’s at. All you have to do is once a day, preferably before bed, write down what you’re grateful for today. It might not seem like much but it’s very powerful for going to sleep and thinking positively about your life.
2. Increases Your Sense of Well-Being
As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re opening your mind to think about it. This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens.
3. Lessens Symptoms of Depression
Understand that depression is something different from sadness and that you likely need a counselor. Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can feel better. Plus, you can look back at days when you thought life was “over” and see better days after.
4. Reduces Anxiety
The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the “fight or flight” response. If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why, you’ll start to control it better.
5. Lowers Avoidance Behaviors
Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel. When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out but do the thing anyway.
6. You’ll Sleep Better
Pouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get things off your chest. However, for sleep, go to the gratitude journal write down what you’re thankful for today, and go to sleep thinking of that.
7. Makes You a Kinder Person
Exploring your emotional state and accepting your own feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too. Letting go of judgment for yourself improves your thoughts for others as well.
8. Improves Your Memory
This is almost a situation where you want to say “duh,” but it has to be said. Writing down things helps you remember them because you can go back and read them, but also because the act of writing something down enables you to recall it.
One thing that can really help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others. This is for you and only you for the most part.
Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Routine
The way to ensure that journaling works for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future (sort of) to get answers in your life. But first, you have to do it. And you need to do it daily to make it a habit. Let’s review a few tips for making journaling part of your daily routine.
1. Make It Easy
Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.
2. Choose a Time That Works
The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.
3. Get a Drink and Eat a Snack
You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.
4. Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space
It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others their bed.
5. Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing
If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.
6. Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood
Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words and that is relaxing, to help you gather your thoughts and stay calm and focused.
7. Use a Particular Type of Journal
For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, and more, works better since it defines some rules for entry.
8. Consider Using Journaling Prompts
You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you want to use.
9. Reward Yourself
When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some colored pens or some scrapbooking materials so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.
To truly experience the full benefits of journaling, it needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.