By: Cam's Kids Placement Student Nodyia M., Nipissing University
I feel like everyone has tried to journal at least once in their life. Maybe they were able to stick with it, and maybe they really tried their hardest, but it just was not working for them. Now, this could be for several reasons: it was too time-consuming, it was not for them, they did not find it helping them, or maybe they were doing the wrong type of journaling. Did you know there is an abundance of different types of journaling? I did not. I thought there was just one type of journaling, writing down your feelings and what happened during the day. However, after researching the benefits of journaling, I fell down a rabbit hole of all the different ways people can journal. In this article, split into two parts, I will share with you 20 different types of journaling methods. Maybe you will find one that pops out to you, and you can start to implement it into your self-care routine.
Stream of consciousness journaling is when you just write down the thoughts that come to you (Kaiser Permanente, 2020). These thoughts do not have to make sense, as long as you are just taking the thoughts occurring in your brain and transferring them to a piece of paper. This also means you are writing without a prompt (SkillShare Blog, 2021). You are not restricting yourself to write about just one thing; you are writing about an abundance of things. This also allows you to start writing even if you have no idea what to write about and helps you to obtain the thoughts you are having as they happen.
Free-flowing thought journaling is when you write down your thoughts as they come to you. Sometimes it can be easier to write down the negative thoughts that may be hard to discuss in person with someone else (The Gone Goat, 2022). This journal does not have to make sense; just let the ideas on the page flow naturally and do not overthink anything you write down. Sometimes it is also easier to write things down in no particular order; just let your feelings flow out onto the paper.
Gratitude journaling is when you make a list of everything that you are thankful for (Kaiser Permanente, 2020). It could be things you were thankful for that week, month, or year. It does not matter as long as you write down what you are thankful for. It also does not matter how many things you write down, but it’s suggested to try and write at least five things (SkillShare Blog, 2021). If you are having a hard time, just try to write one thing down. This type of journaling allows you to stay positive and focus on the positive things occurring in your life because sometimes we tend to get caught up in that chaos that consumes our lives and lose focus on what matters (GoodWall, 2021). It also does not take too long to write out everything that made you thankful throughout a day (Intelligent Change, 2022), so it is not very time-consuming. It can easily be implemented into an everyday routine. Practicing gratitude can allow a person to become happier and improve their physical health and well-being and it can become a little pick me up at the end of the day.
Reflective journaling is when you reflect and process your feelings and experiences, which is one of the most common ways of journaling (SkillShare Blog, 2021). Processing your feelings can help you better understand yourself and help you make a change.
Group journaling is when you journal with those around you, like a significant other, friends or family members (Intelligent Change, 2022). This can help fix relationships that may be on the mend because each person has the chance to express how they are feeling or write down the goals that they have with each other. You can also capture the special moments, write down your conflicts with one another and how you resolved those conflicts (Intelligent Change, 2022).
Letter journaling is when you write letters to your future or past self, to help you reflect on the past, present and future (Intelligent Change, 2022). Alternatively, you can choose to write to someone else like a particular family member, friends, a significant other or maybe even your children. You can choose to share these letters or keep them to yourself; the choice is yours (Intelligent Change, 2022). This type of journaling allows you to practice mindfulness and maybe achieve closure about certain events that have unravelled in your relationships with others or yourself, as well as promote self-reflection (Intelligent Change, 2022).
Day’s event/daily journaling is when you write out what has happened to you during the day. It does not have to be too in-depth. It can be a little thing like watching your favourite show or cooking a new recipe (Kaiser Permanente, 2020), or, you can go in-depth and provide great detail; journaling is what you make of it. This can be a great way to check-in with yourself, see how you are doing, and see which things are bringing you joy or causing stress (SkillShare Blog, 2021).
Calendar journaling is when you keep track of what you are doing daily, like making a to-do list of what you need to get done without focusing so much on your thoughts and feelings (GoodWall, 2021). Making your own calendar can allow you to have as much space as you need to write out what you would like to get done in a day or throughout a week. This journaling does not just have to consist of the little things you need to get done in a day, but you can also write down the bigger goals you have in mind (GoodWall, 2021). Writing down what you need to accomplish can help motivate you to get them done and hold yourself accountable. It is important to note that we should try not to push ourselves too hard to burn ourselves out. We just need a little push to get ourselves motivated enough to accomplish our tasks.
To-do list journaling is when you physically write down what you want to accomplish during the day (Kaiser Permanente, 2020). This allows you to be able to cross things off once you complete them, and being able to visually see all the things you are accomplishing throughout the day can help you feel more productive.
Bullet journaling is one that probably everyone has heard of as it became trendy a few years ago; maybe you have even tried bullet journaling. This journaling type combines many other types of journaling in a precise and organized manner. You can process your feelings, write to-do lists, track your goals, use it as a diary, etc. (SkillShare Blog, 2021). The journal consists of a dotted grid instead of your regular lined paper, which is the crucial part that makes it different from regular journaling (SkillShare Blog, 2021). People who write bullet journals tend to make each page very decorative and creative, from adding stickers to doodles, pictures/magazine cutouts etc. An important tip is not to put too much stress on yourself to create the perfect page. Just be free with it and go easy on yourself; no two bullet journals are the same (GoodWall, 2021).
Read "20 Types of Journalling: Part Two" to learn about 10 more types of journalling!