Journaling: A Ritual Worth the Time
Journaling can boost your productivity and well-being in just a few minutes a day. Write down your thoughts or record what happened during the day—it’s a simple way to manage stress, reduce anxiety, enhance creativity, increase happiness, and improve your health.
I’m a big fan of journaling, but this wasn’t always the case. I remember coming across a plethora of posts about the benefits of journaling, and while I wanted to give it a try, I couldn’t bring myself to write in a notebook. I had such a difficult time. Journaling was like pulling teeth. I’d open my notebook, and my mind would draw a blank. I either felt pressured to write something polished, or I was scared - probably a bit of both. Let’s be honest; keeping a journal isn’t easy; it takes dedication and a willingness to open up, and that’s hard. I struggled for a couple of weeks, and then one day, I opened my notebook, and the words started flowing out. It felt so good to get all my thoughts and feelings out – it's a very therapeutic process that calms the nerves. So how did I overcome my journaling block? With the help of technology. It sounds crazy, right?!
If you’re new to journaling and struggle with the actual writing process, I have great news for you; there are apps that will help you figure this out and establish a daily writing routine. I personally tested them out and found them to be super helpful. As with any new habit you want to adopt, it’s all about starting. It doesn’t matter if you don’t accomplish what you set out to on the first day or week. It’s more important that you start. When I was working on developing my morning rituals, I knew that I wanted journaling to be a part of it. I set simple journaling goals for my morning routine – write to free my mind, manifest hygge vibes, make lists, and express my gratitude because I want to start my days focused and on a positive note.
There are a lot of journaling apps. The best apps for keeping a journal have a few things in common – easy entry, minimalist interface, reminders, affordability (journaling shouldn’t be expensive), and password protection. I’m going to discuss 2 apps that I like for beginners to journaling – Dabble Me and Daylio. These apps offer a lot more than pen and paper. They give you more context on what you’ve written and logged. They also let you include photos to make the journaling experience more rewarding. Add in reminders and the ability to search your journal entries, and digital journaling is almost too convenient.
Dabble Me works entirely over email. The basic version is free - it uses simple text entry (no bold, italics, or lists), doesn’t allow you to edit, delete or search entries, and sends email prompts only every other Sunday (it doesn’t let you change this setting). This isn’t a deal breaker for me because they provide a custom email address for you to send entries. Since it’s part of my morning rituals, I don’t need the reminders, but if I wanted, I could set them up on my phone. After you send over your journal entry, you’ll receive an email of what you just wrote (you can turn off this feature in the settings). Dabble Me Pro, the paid version ($3/month or $30/year), will email you once a day, reminding you it’s time to journal. You also can see the complete archive of your journals on the website, which also offers search, a calendar view, and even a page for reviewing and listening to any Spotify links you’ve included in your entries. I like Dabble Me a lot because I’m so used to writing emails that it makes the journaling process very natural.
Daylio is a great journaling app if you prefer to communicate in visuals. A journal entry in Daylio captures your mood and activities for each day. Pick your mood by selecting 1 of 5 smiley face icons. You can also choose icons representing what you did that day (for example, seeing friends, exercising, gaming, reading, and relaxing). There is absolutely no typing unless you want to add notes. While it only takes a few seconds to complete each entry, the details add up to form a well-rounded picture of what your day was like. As a bonus, it offers a detailed dashboard aggregating a monthly mood chart, your mood and activity counts, and average daily mood. It can also surface patterns in the Often together section, showing how you usually feel when you do certain activities (for example, when your mood is “good,” you typically read and spend time with family). Daylio doesn’t offer a traditional journaling experience, but the free plan is an impressive way to track how you feel in only a few seconds each day. The premium version ($24/year) offers many more features like unlimited moods, infinite reminders, extra color themes, custom colors, and unlimited goals. I like to use Daylio in addition to traditional journaling.
There are no rules when it comes to journaling. Do it whenever you want for however long you want to. Remember, journaling is just for you – it’s a private experience. Make it a judgment-free zone for reflection, relaxing, and clearing.
Are you ready to start your journaling process? They say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. It took me a couple of weeks to feel comfortable with putting my thoughts down on paper. The time it takes you may look different but what’s important is starting.
Before I leave you – I want to share 3 of my favorite journaling prompts which may inspire your next journaling session!
- It’s hard to live simply when your mind is also full of clutter. What are four things you can do to create more simplicity in your mind?
- Have you ever been so happy to do something that may seem trivial to others? Perhaps you made yourself a healthy breakfast or took 15 minutes last night to use a face sheet mask. These little milestones are important to celebrate because they’re important to you. Take some time to list all the things worth celebrating.
- Everyone’s idea of comfort is different. No matter what you find comforting, it’s important to take note of what they are so that you can call upon them when you are in need. Take the time to record your comforts, both big and small.
In addition to prompts, I also find that having a notebook I love and a writing tool that is comfortable to use great motivations to write. Here are some of my personal favorite tried and true products.
Pilot Ultra-Fine Point Marker Stick Pens
Paper Mate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencils (I love writing with pencils)I’m sending you hygge vibes. I want you to know that I support you in this process. I’d love to hear about your journaling journey! Please share your story in the comments section below.