Writing is a powerful tool that can guide us on the path of self-discovery and understanding. The practice of journaling and writing can contribute immensely to health and emotional well-being. I have used journals throughout my life as a means of escape and therapy. I still have many journals as far back as high school. Occasionally, I like to review some of my old excerpts; they are intriguing, to say the least. Sometimes I am amazed, amused, and concerned for my past-self. But honestly, that is what journaling is all about. Your notebook should be a space free from judgement and ridicule, allowing you to be unhinged, vulnerable, and free. Your journal is your home.
In either case, journaling is a versatile practice. It's all about finding a style that best suits you and your goals. You may be like me and have a journal for EVERYTHING. Nevertheless, here are 5 styles of journaling that you can start today.
1. Gratitude Journal
My grandfather had a saying, "Thank God for the blessings". I look back and see how he truly embodied that saying not giving two hoots about negativity in the world, choosing to approach life with a sense of thankfulness and gratitude.
Gratitude journaling helps you to focus on the powerful yet subtle moments and small gestures with grand impact. Thankfulness gives recognition to the positive people that surround you, the serenity of nature, delicious food, and good laughs. It is about the things that have influenced you and brought light and life to your soul.
Tips for Gratitude Journaling
2.Every moment matters- Do not discredit or dismiss the things that bring you joy
3. Let it soak in- Writing a gratitude journal can become repetitive. Instead of just jotting it down, truly allow yourself to experience the sensation; and recapture that moment of joy.
2. Prayer Journal
Prayer is a divine connection that allows us to be seen, heard, and embraced. Prayer is an intentional practice of trust, humility, surrender, joy, and acceptance. This style of journaling is not just for writing down the things you want but it is a space to declare, express adoration, confess, and to heal. Writing down your prayers visually commemorates the blessings, the provision, protection and the wisdom of God throughout your journey.
One of my favorite devotional practices is the "Daily Examen" by St. Ignatius
3. Free Writing
Listen... this journal is your journal and you can write whatever you want. Ultimately, it should be a safe space for your thoughts and ideas. Often, we carry our thoughts and worries, never finding time to release them. I implore you to set aside time so that you don't lose that great idea or allow the thoughts to fester and become burdens.
4. Bullet Journal
This is a great option for people who need a flexible space to organize their thoughts and tasks. Contrary to belief you don’t need to be creative to do it. Bullet journaling is a great way to organize your thoughts by creating logs, lists, tasks, and goals. The fun part is using different pens, colors, and symbols to make your notes pop!
5. Dream Journal
The mechanism of how our brain works is quite fascinating, especially during our sleep when creating both invigorating and frightening dreams. Freud believed that dreams reveal hidden emotions and desires. Logging dreams can help you identify patterns, track emotions, and lead to a deeper understanding of yourself.
Tips for dream journaling
1. Track your sleeping pattern
2. Write in present-tense- It helps you to remember more details from your dream
3. Log people, place, smells, symbols, and feelings
I hope these five styles of journaling were helpful. Stay tuned for more tips on journaling.