Pen to paper: journaling tips and tricks


Eliana Mann

TURN THE PAGE. Journaling is a popular wellness habit that can aid in releasing stress, expressing feelings, and harnessing creativity. The beauty of a journal is that it reflects the individual, and can be changed and shaped to anyone’s liking.

Over the past few years, lifestyle improvement has skyrocketed in popularity as many are looking to make changes in their lives. One strategy for doing so is writing in a journal—a simple and customizable way to express thoughts, goals, emotions and more.

Although people vary in reasons for journaling, the positive effects are often the same. Journaling improves mental organization by setting out thoughts on paper and creating a constructive mindset. Expressing thoughts allows time for reflection and is very motivational. It makes it easier to set and achieve goals for life improvement.

Before starting out the actual journaling process, it’s best to select a type of journal that suits each individual and their unique needs. One of the most well-known journals is called the bullet journal. Bullet journaling is a creative and artistic way to write and express oneself. There are no rules for the bullet journal, just fun ways to reflect, set goals, and make lists. Art journaling is more reliant on creativity and crafting skills in general. It brings out the artist in everyone and is a visual diary. These journals are filled with both images and words, and bring life to the pages. Another type of journaling is daily journaling. Similar to a regular dairy, it relies on consistency. Daily journaling allows for reflection on a day or current thoughts. These are just three of the types available, but many subcategories make every journal unique.

Journaling improves mental organization by setting out thoughts on paper and creating a constructive mindset.

After choosing a journal type, it’s time to get started. A necessity for creating a beneficial journal is establishing consistency. Making a schedule or setting out time for this practice is a great way to stay focused on goals. Another tip for making time is always keeping a journal nearby; even if it is only 15 minutes, that is enough time to start up a page and explore thoughts and emotions.

It is important to keep expectations low as a beginner and stay concentrated on maintaining a goal. When gaining experience, finding a rhythm of creating based on prompts or daily activities is a great way to get in the groove. A problem that many writers face is running out of ideas, so some easy prompts are: Describe a perfect day. What makes you happy? What hobby will you start? What three ordinary things bring you the most joy? What are you grateful for? List 10 things that motivate you. However, no one style or prompt is necessary to follow to create a great journal.

A medically-reviewed article on journaling from the University of Rochester says that, “Keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings.” A journal, though it may not seem like it at first, is a truly powerful tool, and the possibilities for how to write and create in one are endless.