Journaling is an excellent tool for self-management and general life-enrichment. However, with so many possible uses, it can be overwhelming to figure out what kind of journal (or journals!) to keep. To help you figure out which type of journaling best suits your needs, in this article, we have compiled information on all the different purposes and approaches you can take.
Those who are new to journaling may find themselves unsure of what to write about. This list covers a variety of journaling categories and goes into the details of specific kinds of journals. Purchase suggestions for guided journals are also included. From creative outlets to forms of self-therapy, you’ll be able to find your inspiration for putting pen to paper!
Journals serve a myriad of purposes—from helping you sort through your innermost thoughts to eagerly planning your next summer vacation. There is no absolute right way to journal or type of journal to have. Keeping a journal truly comes down to your needs and desires. Journals assist with personal growth, and you should use them to aid you in accomplishing your goals.
If you are having trouble choosing what kind of journal to keep, try asking yourself the following questions:
Knowing the answers to these questions and others like them will help you figure out what types of journaling would best suit your needs and enhance your life. So, without further ado, let us get right into exploring the kinds of journals you can keep.
Routine activities are essential for mental health and can benefit you in many ways, such as lowering stress, increasing sleep quality, and encouraging self-care. Routine journaling refers to types of journaling that you practice habitually. As such, the goal is to make journaling a natural and ingrained part of your life.
Types of routine journaling include:
The critical part of regular journaling is that you commit to it, practice it consistently, and integrate it into your lifestyle.
Try picking up a structured journal to encourage regular journaling, such as Erin Condren’s Petite Planner for weekly intentions and goals and building habits or Power Place’s Daily Planner, which provides space for weekly and daily journaling. The Day and Night Reflection Journal from Insight Editions is a short and sweet way to digest your day.
Recollection journals focus on preserving or notating events or time periods. Write down your memories before they fade away or record history—personal or otherwise.
Journaling can be an especially useful medium for documentation because it allows you to take note of memories from your perspective or with your thoughts attached. When you look back on things, you can retain what happened as well as your ideas and emotions at the time.
Types of recollection journaling include:
Recollection journaling is all about preserving moments in time and documenting change. Try to note your emotions or reactions alongside the factual details, as that is the information you cannot find in a newspaper clipping or digitized archive.
If you are looking for a guided journal to write about significant historical or worldwide events, such as the 2020 pandemic, check out Lava Creek Press’ Diary of Strange Times or My Pandemic Time Capsule by Shannon Simoneau.
One of the most productive ways you can utilize a journal is to organize and keep track of your crazy, busy life. Dedicate a journal to a specific area you wish to maintain or keep something a little more general. Seeing everything on paper can also help you plan out complicated items on your to-do list.
Types of organizational journaling include:
Identify what areas in your life could benefit from a little organization and use your journal to sort through it.
Journaling is the perfect opportunity to embrace your creative side. Whether you are looking to make a career out of it as a professional or simply want to find a way to express yourself, keeping a creative journal can be the ultimate outlet.
Types of creative journals include:
If you are discovering an artistic streak, do not hesitate to let it out in whatever weird or quirky form calls to you.You can keep your journal utterly private if you want to!
Hobbies are a great way to unwind from work or your daily routine, and many can add enrichment to your life. According to research, taking up a hobby will also make you less likely to suffer from depression and stress. While journaling can be a hobby in itself, you can also use it to supplement your other hobbies.
Types of hobby journals include:
Get more enjoyment out of your hobbies by recording the process and results. Any hobby can be complemented by some detailed and creative journaling.
Check out Amazon’s suggestions for scrapbooks or find something more specialized, such as The Naturalist’s Notebook, which serves as a detailed observation guide for tracking the natural world around you.
A life of fulfillment includes a plethora of objectives to help self-improvement. Tracking your progress toward achieving such goals is an excellent way to stay motivated. You can also break down your goals into smaller steps, making them easier to handle and, therefore, follow-through on.
Types of progress journals include:
Whatever your goals may be, you can move forward and keep track of them through journaling. Keeping a journal can also be an excellent way to hold yourself accountable.
There are also many useful sobriety journals on Amazon, such as Sarah Ordo’s Sober as F*** 28-day workbook, C.W. V. Straaten’s Addiction Recovery Journal with 366 days of transformation, and a 365-day Recovery Journal with guided questions from 21 Exercises.
Not everyone can afford a therapist, but everyone can engage in a little self-therapy. Many therapists encourage therapeutic journaling or even incorporate it into their own treatments. Research suggests that journal therapy can help HIV and cancer patients and is also useful in treating trauma and grief, among other mental conditions.
Types of therapy journals include:
Journaling about situations can help you look at them from a different perspective or sort through complex thoughts.
Everyone can benefit from a little adventure! Plan out a trip or document your travels with an adventure journal and revel in the memories long after they fade.
Types of adventure journals include:
Journaling can also be a great way to appreciate the good times as you have them, increasing the enjoyment of your trip even further.
Not everyone can dedicate a lot of time to journaling. Luckily, there are short journal formats that do not require much dedication and can be useful for journaling on the go.
Types of short journals include:
There are plenty of quick and easy ways to get your journaling fix, so do not be discouraged if you have a busy lifestyle.
Chronicle Books Staff’s One Line A Day Five-Year Memory Book is the ultimate journal for those who want a small commitment. If you are looking for a high-quality leather notebook, try Wanderings Leather Journals.
You do not have to be a diehard foodie to love or write about food. In fact, there are many aspects to write about. You can use a journal for meal-planning or dietary purposes. Track your calorie intake and make sure you are getting the fiber and vitamins you need. You can also use your journal to brainstorm healthier eating habits.
If your ultimate goal is weight loss, studies have shown that people who keep food diaries have an increased likelihood of losing weight and keeping it off. Not only will journaling encourage you to eat fewer calories, but it also increases your overall awareness of how much you are eating and why.
Eric Condren, Clever Fox, and BookFactory offer excellent meal planners, and Kunitsa Co. has a 90-day food and exercise journal for women that tracks meals, nutrition, and weight loss. You can also check out Amazon’s list of Best Food Diaries for Your Fitness Journey.
If you have a deep love of cooking, try writing down interesting or favorite recipes and ways to tweak them. The Keepsake Kitchen Diary by Lily and Val is an expensive but robust customizable cookbook that can serve as a heritage piece to pass from generation to generation.
Sometimes it can be fun or exciting to view media with an analytical lens. While you watch a movie or read a book, try writing down thoughts or ideas you have so you can revisit them later. This is especially useful if you are part of a movie group or book club that likes to have in-depth discussions. Take note of significant plot developments or interesting details that you might want to point out.
You can also use your journal to write about or respond to interesting news reports or articles you read online. Journaling is a great way to organize and internalize all the new information you intake.
Most people can agree that parenthood is a precious and beautiful gift. What better way to appreciate it than to document the experience? Pregnancy can be an especially challenging time, and journaling can help you deal with the added stress and anxiety. A pregnancy journal is also useful for writing down symptoms to relay to your OB/GYN.
Having your baby does not mean you should stop journaling. Document your child’s life as they grow and experience new things. Describe special moments, such as their first words or steps. Write down any observations you have regarding your child’s development.
Some of the best parenthood journals include:
For even more options, check out Amazon’s article on Best Pregnancy Journals.
Giving thanks is not just for Thanksgiving! In a chaotic world, it is essential to take the time to appreciate the positives in our lives. It can be profoundly gratifying to concentrate on what you have and give proper thanks. Try writing daily about specific things you are grateful for or occurrences that made you happy. To get started, check out Amazon’s list of Best Gratitude Journals.
A prayer journal provides a safe space for you to divulge your deepest desires and prayers from the heart. Crossing off prayers as they are answered can help you keep your faith when times are rough. A prayer journal can help you appreciate and connect with your spiritual or religious side. If you are looking for guidance, take a look at Lettering Design Co.’s 3-Month Prayer Journal or Christian Art Gifts’ Lord’s Prayer Journal.
Keeping a journal can be deeply satisfying and even life-changing. Journaling provides many benefits and can serve as an ultimate coping mechanism or a simple, fun activity. Whatever your inspiration may be, there is a kind of journal for you.
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