How a Daily Journaling Ritual Could Make You Happier

Writing in a diary or journal just for yourself is therapeutic both on a mental and physical level. Regardless of an individual’s writing skills, some interesting research suggests that regularly putting pen to paper as an emotional outlet that not only reduces stress, but also boosts the immune system.

Journaling can benefit practically anyone (with the exception of those who may be triggered by past traumatic experiences). You don’t need to be a good writer, you don’t need to have some sort of significant life event to write about and you don’t even need to fret over spelling or grammar to make it count.

Don’t know what to journal about? Writer’s block doesn’t have any place in journaling. Here are some good techniques to help you get the words flowing out of you like a river.

Spill your guts and just write.

Personally, this is the number one technique I use. Experts estimate that the average human being has 70,000 thoughts a day, and you can bet that this figure probably increases significantly during times of emotional distress.

As soon as the ink of your pen touches that fresh page of your journal or notebook, don’t think about what you want to write—just write out whatever that voice is saying inside your head. You might assume that you can’t write fast enough to keep up with all the crazy thoughts buzzing through your mind, but trust me, if you do this and do it regularly (like every day) then that little voice inside you and the hand that holds your pen will sync up so that each performs together at the same speed that just feels right.

Start with just one sentence.

If you’re not used to writing much at all, it can sometimes feel like a daunting and overwhelming task to sit down and just get started. This is especially true when you’re short on time and don’t think you can really dedicate a half hour or so to just write for yourself.

When you’re feeling stuck with simply getting started, just try to get one sentence out. Use the “spill your guts” technique mentioned above to write the first thought that clearly comes to mind. Writing down one sentence is enough to get the momentum going, and if you have to quit after that because you’ve got other things to do, aim to write two sentences the next day with plans to keep increasing it over time.

Do it in the morning to set your intentions.

Most of us live in reactive mode all day, and then at the end of the day we wonder where all our time went and why we didn’t get all the things we wanted to get done. Simply writing about how you want your day to unfold first thing in the morning, sort of like an elaborate and emotionally charged to-do list, can help you pound those intentions into your mind so that you’re more likely to make the right decisions when time is of the essence and other people’s problems are calling for your attention.

While writing about your perfect, ideal day may seem scary because you anticipate that you won’t actually get to do everything, just write it out anyway, and be okay with potentially not getting to do everything you wrote down. Be okay with not having control of everything. Be okay with mistakes. When you do this, you might be surprised to find out just how much you actually accomplished at the end of the day despite unexpected obstacles or setbacks you had to face.

Do it in the evening to reflect back on your day.

Fantasizing and writing about having the best day ever can be a lot of fun when you’re in the moment, but 12 hours or so later, taking the time to journal about your progress is where the real lessons are learned. These lessons can help you move forward and improve yourself.

Self-reflective journaling at night will test your ability to be honest with yourself about what really happened during the day and what you know needs to change. We all know how yucky it can feel to go to bed and realize how dissatisfied we are with ourselves for handling the day in a bad way, and doing this type of nighttime journaling can help minimize that in the future by bringing your thoughts and emotions into clearer awareness.

Do it for no other reason than to be grateful for what you have.

Gratitude attracts abundance. If you just don’t want to spill your guts onto paper, or set your intentions in the morning, or write about what happened over the past 12 to 24 hours, then at least write about what you currently have in life from a place of love.

When you become aware of all the positive things and experiences you’ve received and continue receive from everything and everyone in your life, you become naturally driven to give more back. Writing about it brings all these things into your awareness so you can mindfully express your gratitude and put yourself on a clearer path toward giving more so you may receive more.

Do yourself a huge favor and start journaling. The goal should never be perfection—it should simply be to learn more about yourself.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

84 comments

Bailey R
Bailey R9 months ago

thanks

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Paul Meyer
Paul Meyerabout a year ago

Journaling is good stuff.

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Nina S.
Nina Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

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LF F
LF Fabout a year ago

In this day and age of lack of privacy or respect for privacy. I would be careful what I wrote on journals, emails, or pictures that I sent to anyone anywhere. It could hurt feelings and it could come back to 'bite' you.

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Sheri K.
Sheri Kabout a year ago

Thank you for a great read!

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Pablo B.
.about a year ago

tyfs

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Angela K.
Angela Kabout a year ago

thanks

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Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietschabout a year ago

thanks

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