How to Journal

How to Journal

[♪♩INTRO] Oh! Excuse me! I was just writing down a few things about
my day here in my journal. You see, anyone can journal. Journaling can be a wonderful tool for all
kinds of things, whether it’s documenting your thoughts, tracking a health issue, processing
trauma or just writing all about your crush on that cute barista at your favorite coffee
shop. Writing down your thoughts and then reading
them later gives you an opportunity to see how your own thought process works. And since it’s private, a journal can be
the place to express thoughts and feelings that you don’t feel comfortable sharing
with others. Given how much personal privacy we often give
away in this day and age, it can be really rewarding to find a place where you can express
the thoughts that aren’t appropriate for, say, a Facebook status update. So! Let’s get started. What you’re journaling is up to you! Journaling is used in all kinds of contexts,
including keeping track of a new workout routine, or working through a life crisis, or recording
mental health updates. Some people write about their creative process
in making art or music. Some people keep “work diaries” recording
mistakes and successes in their job. And a lot of people also just grab a journal
and write about whatever random thought they have or thing that happened in their day! Regardless of what you choose to write about,
the benefits of journaling are well-documented when it comes to mental health and achieving
goals. Journaling is effective because it prompts
you to process your emotions as you convey them into written sentences. Think of journaling as, like, a juicer for
your feelings. You put a bunch of feelings in at one end
and run it through the mill and then you get a wonderful distillation and clarity at the
other end. Uh, let’s not overthink that metaphor. Moving on! When you sit down to write a journal entry,
try to reflect on how your actions affected your feelings and vice versa. So instead of, for example, writing, “Dear
Diary: I felt stressed today. I ate too many doughnuts.” Instead, try something like, “Dear Diary:
Today I felt stressed out at work because of an upcoming deadline. I think that’s why I ate too many doughnuts.” It might not seem like a big difference, but
it will really help you make logical connections from your thoughts to your actions. Or, as Susan Sontag once wrote, a tad more
eloquently, “In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could do
to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood.” Deciding what material to use for your journal
can be really important, because it should be something tactile that you enjoy. Maybe that’s a 99-cent college-ruled notebook
and a sparkly gel pen. Or maybe it’s a fancy leather-bound journal
from a bookstore. I suggest going the old-fashioned pen and
paper route because it’s much less distracting than trying to write on your phone or laptop. Notebooks also run much less risk of getting
hacked into, if you have concerns about internet privacy. But if you’d like to go digital with your
journal, there are some great online options. Evernote is a streamlined note-taking app
with desktop and mobile versions. Ommwriter is a writing app specifically designed
to reduce distractions by offering a full-screen mode and soothing backgrounds and ambient
sounds. Journaling can be a really nice thing to do
at night before you go to bed, as a way to clear out all your thoughts and sleep easier. But hey, some people’s brains work better
at different times, and maybe it works better for you to spend a few minutes journaling
in the morning while you drink a cup of coffee. Mess around with it and see what fits best
into your day. Write as much as you want to! But even a little bit can go a long way. One UK study found that just 15-20 minutes
of journaling on three to five occasions can help you process a difficult or traumatic
event better than if you hadn’t journaled about your feelings. A great thing about journaling is that it’s
completely a thing you do for yourself, and you get to decide how much journaling benefits
you. Good luck with it! Be sure to let us know in the comments if
you’ve tried journaling and what other tips might be useful. And as always, thanks for joining us here
at How to Adult. To see more of Hank and me, visit,
and subscribe! Uh… poop. There really isn’t a big diff— [laughter] Sorry, I could see your face smiling in the background. [off screen, laughing]
Oh no! Pss— And— [laughter] Thing that happened in their day— There’s even a center— [mouth stretches]
Alalalalala Sorry. [mouth stretches]
Alalalalala Logical ne—k—no. Bop. But hey, some people’s brains work better— But hey, some people’s works—bleh Nope. Not mine. Hmm?

6 thoughts on “How to Journal

  1. oh man i love journalling. whenever im like stressed about stuff or not feeling great i just write it all down and get it out of my head and it's great. i think it helps me let thoughts go because i know i can go back and read them if i really want to. also i write down all my ideas.

    i switched to bullet journalling like a year and a half ago and it's kind of great bc now i have a planner i actually write in and keep track of (tho tbh im still a little lazy with like actually migrating my tasks and things a lot lol).

    also something to consider if you start a journal: maybe write down not just the date, but the day of the week and the time. i tend to write more than once throughout the day, and it can be nice to know if i wrote something at 11 am as opposed to 2 am.
    also don't be afraid of changing your format a lil. it can sometimes take a bit to figure out what works for you.

    also ive definitely had like bad mental states that sprung from rereading some old entry where maybe i talked about doing something i wasnt proud of or like past me wrote something that current me finds totally unacceptable, and if that ever happens to you it's important to remember that you are not necessarily the same person then that you are now, and that it's okay if past you was kind of gross or mean or whatever else. living is a process. we're all always learning and growing and figuring things out.

    okay this was all very rambly and longwinded but i hope you enjoyed reading

    have a nice day, everyone, and good luck journalling 🙂

  2. I never used a diary because it seemed cliche or kind of dumb.
    One of my English professor made maintaining a journal part of our grade where we could write whatever we wanted and be as creative as we wanted as long as we were engaged. After being a little hesitant at first, I later became addicted to writing more frequently and now love journaling. 🙂

  3. I really want to start journaling. The problem with it is that I have such a packed schedule being a Medical student. Any pointers on how to remain committed?

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