Journaling improves your mood, according to studies, which is why it’s associated with mental and emotional wellbeing and is considered an excellent self-care practice. In this blog post we’ll look at how journaling improves your mood, what to write when getting started with journaling, and journal writing prompts to get you started.
Personally, journaling has helped me navigate difficulties in life, business, and relationships. I’ve used journal writing to sort through overwhelming emotions, let go of past hurts, and to keep myself motivated to reach my goals. There are many benefits to journaling.
The University of Rochester Medical Center notes that “keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos.” It also suggests that journaling “helps you get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings.”
Journaling improves your mood by helping you:
- Discover your emotions and concerns
- Become aware of recurring thought patterns
- Figure out what is at the core of your feelings and problems
- Cultivate space for self-reflection
How often should you be journaling?
A 2018 study suggests that writing for fifteen minutes a day, three days a week for twelve weeks, yielded positive results. Positive journaling (which focuses on positive emotions and the good part of life) was associated with easing depressive symptoms and anxiety, lowering stress levels, and boosting resilience. (Source)
Sometimes it can be hard to get started because you don’t know what to write. If you go blank when your pen hits the page, you’re likely trying too hard. There’s no right or wrong way to journal. You can write about literally anything; your day, feelings, what made you happy, what made you sad/mad, or something random.
The power of journaling is in letting the words flow unfiltered from your mind to the paper. Stream of conscious writing is simply writing out your thoughts as they occur. It’s a reflective process. Even if the thoughts are, “I don’t know what to write,” write that, and keep the pen moving.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way begins her journaling with a description of the current weather as she looks out her window. Just put pen to paper and let the words come. It might take a little practice, but before you know it, thoughts will show up, and you’ll have plenty of words and sentences to fill the page.
My favorite method of journaling writing is to use journal prompts. Using prompts helps you avoid the frustration of staring at a blank page and not knowing what to write. Sometimes all I need is one journal prompt to get me going for several pages nonstop.
To start journaling, pick a prompt from below for inspiration then watch how it improves your mood.
- What was the best thing that happened recently?
- How would you like the day to unfold today?
- If failure were not an option, what would you tackle in the next 30 days?
- What would your ideal day look like?
- How can you bring elements of that into your day today?
- What three aspirations do you have for your life?
- How would you like your life to be five years from now?
- How would you like your life to be ninety days from now?
- What’s one thing you know you should be doing but are not doing?
- What is something you would like others to know about you?
- What has been your biggest challenge this year?
- What has that challenge taught you about yourself?
- What three accomplishments (big or small) are you most proud of and why?
- What is your favorite way to pull yourself out of a slump?
- What aspects of your life are you most grateful for?
The sooner you get into the habit of journaling the sooner you’ll experience how it can improve your mood. I know it sounds too good to be true. But it really is that simple. Also, the more you journal, the more you’ll benefit from doing it.
If you want to experiment with how journaling improves your mood, try writing consistently over time, say ten or fifteen minutes a day several times a week for at least thirty days. But most importantly, have fun with it!
If you’re looking for other ways to benefit from a new journaling routine, you may enjoy my new workbook: Journal Your Dream Life Workbook. Grab your free copy HERE.
More Journaling posts:
Hello, I’m Patti! I’m a Christian Life & Money Coach, Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach, Health Coach, writer, and former retirement planner. I’m also an award-winning co-author of She Writes for Him: Stories of Resilient Faith (Redemption Press), and prayer warrior, serving on the prayer team at my local church.
My mission is to provide inspiration, coaching, tools, and resources to help you claim all the goodness and abundance God has for you.