Journaling is one of the most important tools we can use to be a happier, calmer Mom. For me, it’s as important as meditation, exercise, and eating right. It makes a huge impact on my attitude.
There are so many different ways to journal. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most popular (and impactful!) ways so you can pick a style that works for you.
Below is the podcast version of this article for you. If you’d like to listen on your favorite podcast app, just type “Balanced Working Moms” in the search and you can listen and subscribe.
Journaling is Powerful
If I hadn’t experienced first-hand the effects of journaling, I never would have believed how powerfully it could help.
Journaling is powerful.
It’s so powerful, numerous studies have shown that certain types of journaling can even improve your physical health. The first time I read that, I didn’t believe it. I figured the author must be embellishing the facts. But after I read the scientific journal showing the results of the study, I was convinced.
Expressive journaling (the type of journaling where you writing down your emotions or thoughts about stressful events) can improve your immune system functioning, improve your lung functioning, reduce your blood pressure, and even help you spend fewer days in the hospital.
And you can guess that if it’s that good for your physical health, your emotional health may benefit even more.
For me personally, I find that when I journal about an emotionally charged issue, it allows the issue to dissipate quickly. I get a new perspective on things, too.
But what about Happier?
I know that you understand that journaling can help you with your emotional health. But happier?
Alex Ikonn and Uj Ramdas, the authors of the 5-Minute Journal write that journaling is “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.”
Studies show that expressive journaling can help people improve their moods and also reduce stress for those who do it regularly.
It’s possible that in the short run, journaling may make you more upset, that’s understandable if you’re writing about negative experiences.
However, in the long run, studies show that negative emotions are decreased. Isn’t that amazing news? Journaling helps you process whatever’s going on. It helps you make sense of whatever you’re experiencing.
I find this is absolutely true for me. When I do expressive journaling, as I write down the thoughts that come to me, it truly helps me process anything going on. So, of course, it makes me happier, especially in the long-term!!
When I was doing research for the podcast, I found a ton of research showing that writing about things you’re grateful for, or even about your future goals and dreams, also brings you more joy. It makes sense that when you focus on the good things in your life, you naturally feel happier.
How to Journal
I’m old school. I’ve journaled on my computer and I’ve journaled on paper.
For me, paper wins without question. I process my thoughts in a different way when I use paper. It has a bigger impact on me and helps me think of better solutions.
But if you’d like to journal via computer, there are a ton of resources.
There are apps and programs made especially for journaling. I’ve heard good things about https://penzu.com/
I’ve also heard of people using Evernote. Even just a word processing program would work fine. You don’t need anything fancy.
Types of Journaling: Morning Pages
“Morning Pages” came from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The purpose of them was to help artists break through negativity and get back to creating.
But this concept has taken off and it’s no longer just for artists or creatives. If you haven’t heard of Morning Pages yet, trust me, after you listen to this concept, you’ll hear them mentioned everywhere. It’s very powerful.
Essentially, she has you writing a stream of consciousness for 3 pages. You just write your thoughts without editing them or stopping.
As a busy Mom, you may not have time to do 3 pages. I do 2 pages and just those 2 pages help clear my mind and release problems that are bothering me subconsciously.
The biggest rule of morning pages is that no one can read them. If you feel that others will read them, it’ll lose the purpose since you won’t be able really to write what you truly feel.
Types of Journaling: Gratitude Journaling
Gratitude journaling is way up high on the list of the type of journaling that increases people’s happiness. If you need a shot of joy, definitely consider gratitude journaling!!
Just like with the morning pages, there are no rules. I use a pretty planner for my gratitude journal made by Katie Daisy. It makes my heart happy every time I use it. It has a little space for each day and it’s the perfect amount for me to jot down just a few things I’m grateful for each day.
Studies show that gratitude journaling can make you happier because you’re focusing on the good. And you know, what you focus on expands. I’ve found that my simple gratitude journal has over time helped me feel much happier.
Types of Journaling: Journal Prompts
Using Journal Prompts is an especially great way to start journaling if you’ve never done it before.
Journal prompts are thought-provoking questions, lists, ideas, even topics. A prompt could be literally anything. The purpose is to get you started writing. It’s anything that can be a starting point for you.
Below I have a free download with 77 journal prompts, for all different areas of your life. Click here for the password to download the file.
Types of Journaling: Ready Made Journals
I love so many of the journals on the market right now. We’re lucky because there are so many to choose from.
I usually have to resist buying them because they’d be fun to just collect. There are dozens on the market. I haven’t bought many because I usually stick with other types of journaling, but there are some lovely journals available.
Choose one that speaks to you. That feels beautiful. That inspires and uplifts you.
I don’t want to recommend any in particular since there are so many and you are unique.
I’m going to suggest you buy one that feels right to you. If you have very little time, find one that can be filled out quickly.
If you have more time, get one that lets you be more introspective and write more.
You can’t go wrong.
These journals are so much fun!!
I notice when I use my ready-made journal, I usually have a better day. I’m more positive, happier. It really does make a difference.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
I want to leave you with a final thought. One of the best things about journaling is that my kids see me doing it.
And kids learn by watching.
I’ve noticed that when they’re upset, they sometimes use journaling as a tool and it really helps them. And isn’t that the best?
Wishing you lots of joy in your journaling,