How to Gain The Benefits From Journalling

Why journal and what type of journal to use?

For as long as I can remember I have written a journal. When I was smaller it was called a diary. Looking back on those early diaries I always smile. Arguments with friends, boys I fancied are all written down. Lately, journalling has become an important part of my adult life. It has been my best friend through the most difficult times.

Journalling will improve anyone’s mental health. It provides a download for your brain. The unconscious writing can pour from your brain. Those worries, when seen in black and white, finally become manageable.

There are many types of journals. I will include a full list at the end of this post. The five I am going to concentrate on, are the five that have had the biggest impact on my life.

Bullet Journal

I am new to this process and have since been converted. There are several methods of bullet journals. The best option is to design a system that works for you. Bullet journaling is the process of recording your life in a minimal way. Some people use a series of codes and pictures.

Estee Janssens

Bullet Journals are ideal for people who write a lot of lists. You can choose to have these ideas for articles. Some use markers to create bullet points on a calendar. Depending on artistic you are this can be as decorative as you wish.

Estee Janssens

Personally, I have no artistic skills so mine is a simple list of events that have happened during the day. Every day I write one line to describe the day I have had. A simple sentence.

Junk Journal

When you are feeling low and your mood is not at it’s greatest you download your feelings into your journal. A junk journal serves as a way to get the negative feelings out of your brain. This is your release, a way to write your fears down. Once you have taken the time to get these feelings out of your head you can face life again.

“white ruled notebook on blue denim textile” by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

When things are bad in my life I download my brain onto the paper. I don’t worry about grammar and spelling I just spill my brain onto the page. Months later when I look back these can seem trivial. At the time it helps my brain focus and removes the negative.

Reading Journal

Bookworms love to keep lists. Especially if those lists consist of the books they have read. Goodreads provides an electronic way of doing this, I prefer a more traditional method. As you read a book, readers can write down their thoughts on chapters. Quotes that resonate with them and characters that interest them. These provide a record that you can look back on for years to come. You can either adapt your own format or buy specific book journals from Amazon.

“man writing in front of books” by RU Recovery Ministries on Unsplash

My book journal includes quotes that I like as well as my first line obsession. I then document what the book was about. Spoilers and all, this book is only for me. When I wake at night thinking to myself what was that book? I now have a method to look back and find the titles as well as familiarise myself with the book.

Gratitude Journal

Oprah Winfrey has openly admitted to keeping this type of journal. This type of journal is the opposite of a junk journal. Here is where you record what you are grateful for. Some try to find three things, someone. This is your journal design it as you want. It is said when you are thankful for what you have, you open up your heart for more love. It is also a good resource when you are feeling down, you can look back on what to be grateful for. This can take many forms, from paragraphs to writing lists.

“black ballpoint pen” by rawpixel on Unsplash

My gratitude journal is combined with my other journals. My bullet list includes something positive about the day. I always try to end my junk journal on a positive note.

General Journal

This is a time capsule for events that have happened. This can also include clippings of events that have happened in the media. If you are travelling this can be a permanent record of where you visited and what happened. How you felt when you visited certain places.

“gray and black fountain pen and book” by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Last week I found a journal I wrote during 9/11. What I had felt and a timeline as the events unfolded. This will always be a record of that day.

Other types of Journals

  • Dream Journals — to record your dreams
  • Travel Journal — document travel and holidays
  • Art Journal — drawings rather than words
  • Writing Journal — rough article ideas which help end writers’ block
  • Food Journal — what you have eaten, new recipes
  • Prayer Journal — record your personal prayer
  • Project Journal — DIY projects, writing projects, art projects etc.
  • Garden Journal — what you have planted what worked, what didn’t
  • Pocket Journal — for that quick idea whilst you are out
  • Workout Journal — exercise, workouts, success and failure
  • Pregnancy Journal — record you big life event
  • Poetry Journal — poems and attractive lines


Remember you will never create the perfect journal. Journals should be worn with scribbles and ticket stubs. They are personal to you, they should show your flaws and imperfections.

You don’t need to journal every day.

This is your writing for only you.

Make it personal and do it your way.

Do you write a journal, if so which types?

Published by Sam H Arnold

Sam H Arnold is a writer of True Crime, Parenting and Writing Tips articles. If you have enjoyed her work you might consider donating her a coffee on Ko-Fi. Links to this and all her other work can be found on the about me page.

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