Open journal and pen with a grip in front of sun and stack of notebooks

The Joy of Journaling

After being diagnosed with a serious autoimmune condition at the age of 12, my neurologist suggested I keep a journal to express my emotions and fears. My parents gave me a beautiful monogrammed red leather journal.

Initially I used it more like a diary and logged my day. Eventually I wrote about more personal feelings and goals. I have journaled regularly ever since.

What are the benefits?

Journaling can alleviate your mood, manage symptoms, and prioritize goals. It allows an opportunity for positive self-talk and can help track day-to-day thoughts. Basically, journaling is a method of helping manage your life.1

Different types

A journal cam be kept for many purposes. Among the most common types of written journals are:

  • Gratitude logs - lists of 3 to 5 things for which you are grateful. Some  people like to do this in the morning and evening
  • Travel journals - about places you have been and where you might like to go
  • Memoirs and diaries - an account of your past or a daily log
  • Inspirational quotes or affirmations to guide your future goals

I tend to combine most of the above in one book - devoting a page to whatever I choose to write - and always include a gratitude page and a quote.

Getting started

Keep it private. A successful journal should be honest ... tell yourself the truth. Date your entry. Write spontaneously without too much forethought. Time yourself - this will help avoid giving up or getting bored (10 minutes is enough).

Don’t fear the blank page. Begin with a simple phrase ... "I want", "I feel", and "I think" are good opening prompts. There are also several suggestions online to help you focus.

One word prompts

Making a list of one word prompts can be adapted for many uses. I write my prompts on slips of paper and put them in a jar, and draw a slip at random.

You may prefer a list to choose a specific topic. Any words can be prompts. A few of my examples are: happiness, garden, love, and fire. It is completely up to you. No limits!

Use a prompt to explore the emotions it evokes. Use the prompts to find quotes you find meaningful. Create a book of quotes for inspiration.

Gratitude questions

There is always something to be grateful for. Often a gratitude journal is a brief list of what you are grateful for. However, if you wish to expand your entry, try asking a question that will prompt you.

Some examples might be: What skill am I glad I have?, 3 things that made me smile today, An experience that gave me confidence was ... ?

Inspirational prompts

I recently came across a book Scripting the Life You Want: Manifest Your Dreams with Just Pen and Paper, by Royce Christyn which is available at Amazon. The author describes the scripting method and why it works.

Begin by writing down your deepest desires, keeping them constantly in mind and don't share with anyone. The next steps are to write a detailed description of your idealized day every morning.2

At the end of the day, write how the day actually went, addressing each item. As you continue this process the morning and evening entries will begin to converge until your desires are manifested. The Law of Attraction can be powerful.2


This article is entitled The Joy of Journaling because there is a deep satisfaction in becoming self-aware. If you haven’t kept a journal before I encourage you to give it a try.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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