Journaling for mental health and wellness

by Alec Graves on Sunday 09 June 2024

4 min read

Have you always wanted to start journaling but don’t know where to start? The good news is that there’s no one ‘correct’ way to do it, it just helps to have some structure when you get stuck for words.

Plus, journaling is one of the most accessible and affordable ways to take care of your sense of wellness. All you need is a pad, pen and a couple of spare minutes each day to focus.

Benefits of journaling daily

Journaling can help you plan ahead

Just a couple of minutes journaling in the morning (or the evening) can be a great way to set your intentions for the day and plan. This can involve looking at how your to-dos line up with your overall goals and see how those two match up.

Journaling can help you manage stress

Journaling each day gives you the chance to develop a healthier relationship with stress. It's a moment dedicated for you to reflect and create space for you to work through aspects of your mindset that aren’t always easy to talk about with others.

Journaling can help you learn to communicate better

Writing is a great tool for achieving clarity, which is key to good communication. Taking the time to look closely at your goals, mental health, and what you’re doing each day will help you build a clearer picture of what you want from yourself and others.

Journaling can help you track your progress

Sometimes we forget just how far we’ve come. Journaling daily will soon give you a wealth of data and stories to look back on when you need a reminder of all the work you’ve put in. It can also help you spot patterns (good or bad) that might need work or extra attention.

Tips for making the journaling habit stick

Start small and build the journaling habit

Just like in the gym, it’s easy to set the bar too high at first and get discouraged. Progress takes time – so aim for a goal you can achieve any day, regardless of how tired or pressed for time you might be.

Make journaling something you want to do

Forming new habits can be hard, but you can make it easier by pairing this new habit with things you already do. Try journaling while you drink your morning coffee, or while you enjoy a healthy post-dinner snack.

Have some journaling prompts ready for when you get stuck

When you get stuck for words, it can help to have a couple of prompts ready to go. Try prompts such as:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What am I struggling with today?
  • How is today different from yesterday?
  • What do I want to achieve today?

The goal is simply to get the writing muscle moving. Once you’re writing – go with it!

Journal using a timer

Some find it helpful to set a timer for a couple minutes and focus solely on journaling until the timer goes off. This can help you build journaling into your morning routine without worrying about getting side-tracked.

Different ways you can journal every day

Reflective journaling

By far the most popular way to write journal entries, reflective journaling involves taking time to consider your emotions, experiences and maybe what you want next.

Dream journaling

Dream journaling is best done right after you wake up while your memories of your dreams are still fresh. Focus on what details you can recall, who appeared in your dreams and any reactions you have to those experiences.

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness journaling involves writing without a clear goal or prompt. It’s a form of ‘writing meditation’; you write about wherever your focus goes. If you don’t know what to write, start with ‘I don’t know what to write’ and go from there. Think of it as enjoying a slow walk - rather than chasing the destination.

Bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is helpful if you like a bit more structure. It involves setting out some key areas you want to focus on and providing short, bulleted answers. This is particularly good for to-dos, mantras, goals, and brief observations.

Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling involves making a practice of remembering what you’re grateful for in your life. It’s proven taking a few minutes to write about what you’re grateful for is an effective way to shift your perspective during challenging times.

Make time to connect with yourself at Virgin Active

Journaling can be a powerful daily practice if you stick with it and a useful tool for learning to live in the moment. If you’re interested in supporting more changes in the way you take care of your own mental health and overall wellness, explore our rest and recovery at Virgin Active. We offer classes such as Reformer RecoveryYoga, and Sound Bath that are dedicated to offering your mind and body the rest and pause it deserves.

Not a member? We would love to show you around. Book a free tour today.

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