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  • Sara

Are you a skeptic of journaling? Let’s talk.

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

If you’ve ever been on social media listening to influencers explain their routines, including journaling as a part of that routine and found yourself rolling your eyes? This may be because people tend to romanticize journaling so much it seems as if they’re suggesting that after writing just a few pages about your life, you will be magically healed of all your troubles. Of course, this isn’t the case. If there was an easy way to reach optimal mental health, we’d all buy in.


However, journaling can help. It is just one piece of the wellness journey puzzle that can assist you with getting your thoughts onto paper, releasing them from rumination, and allow you organize them in such a way you may be able to problem-solve some of the challenges away.


Free writing first can get thoughts onto paper a bit more quickly and give you a starting point from which you can take your raw, unfiltered thoughts and organize them any way you'd like to make sense of how you're feeling at the moment. You may also decide to dissect these thoughts without reorganizing them, allowing them to stay put as a true snapshot of how you feel.



Putting pen to paper allows a writer to find their voice. The same is true of many other expressive writing techniques used in therapy – it’s a personal, intimate way to connect with one’s inner self. Much of what is written in a journal perhaps feels too difficult or too complicated to say aloud. But these things are nevertheless important to say in one form or another in order to lift a heavy internal weight.


Journaling can be transformative, but not in a “your life will change overnight” kind of way. It can help you slowly work towards stronger emotional well-being alongside therapy, support groups, and a strong at-home support system. It can give you a jumping off point from which you can better understand your thoughts and feelings, patterns in your life that may be affecting your well-being, how relationships may be impactful and/or how you can change habits to live healthier.


Still skeptical? When you consider journaling in terms of risk versus reward, relatively speaking, the risk is rather low. The worst possible scenario is that you try it out and don’t feel any sort of relief. Even then, it might just be that you need to change your approach or that you weren’t in feeling motivated that day. Another risk is that you decide journaling is a waste of your time; however, at least you gave it a shot. If it really isn’t for you, you’ve at least learned that about yourself. Meanwhile, the reward is that you find a new outlet to channel your emotions and thoughts in a healthy way. Healthy coping mechanisms are critical to any healing process. There is no limit to the creativity you can put into a journal and you are in full control of its content.


Even if journaling doesn’t feel extremely beneficial the first time you do it, it tends to get better with time. If you dedicate a little time to it each day, perhaps in the morning or evening, you could start to find that it becomes more and more cathartic. And, if you feel comfortable, you can always bring your journal to your next therapy session. You and your therapist can talk about an entry and, together, come up with ways to manage some of the feelings expressed. It can help to get your thoughts down on paper in the moment and take some time to reflection on them and process them at a later time.


Here are some journal prompts if you need a little extra boost to get started. You can write as much or as little in response to the prompts. If one doesn't resonate, simply skip it. If you find you're having a particularly motivated day when it comes to your journaling, you may also want to generate some of your own so you can reference them during a not-to-motivated moment.


Journal Prompts:


Today, I will find joy in...

Three thinks I can be grateful for are...

5 things in this room with me that are sentimental are...

Three things I will do today to be mindful of the present are...

Scanning my body, do I feel restful? Are there any aches and pains? Am I tired?

My favorite part of me is...

If I were an animal, I would be....Why?

After mindfully eating a meal, document what you experienced.

If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be...

The last time I was anger, it was because...

The last dream I remember is...

3 positive affirmations I can say to myself when I'm down are...

How will I find serenity today?

The most difficult part of my day today was...How could I have made it better or how did I?

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