Writing in my journal has become one my favourite evening activities. In fact, it has become part of my night time ritual.  Each night, I write in my journal, before I settle in, I rate my day in my Passion Planner, and then, I read until it is time to sleep.  Today,  I want to share why you should start a journal, the benefits of keeping a journal and share 31 journal prompts to help get you going.

I remember the very first journal that I ever got.  I was nine years old and it was a parting gift from two friends who were returning to the USA. Their parents were missionaries and they had been in my class since grade three and they left Jamaica when we were in grade five. The journal was amazing, it had prompts that encouraged creativity and happy thoughts and areas to doodle and sketch. Somehow I managed to keep that little book until I was 12 years old.

And then, I began writing in a diary each day. It was one of those cute book with a little lock and key that did not actually work, it would not stay locked. Every evening, sometimes multiple times per day, I would share my thoughts, fears, dreams and worries in my diary. I would write every thought out and simply let it go. I wrote what I was afraid to say out loud.  I wrote what I dare not utter to anyone.

Throughout my teens and into my early 20s  I kept journals and notebooks.  Until into my early 20s when someone found my journals and read through them. That feeling was one of the worse moments.  I felt as if I was exposed and I felt violated.  I am sharing this story to pass on one simple nugget of personal wisdom.  Do not allow anyone to let you feel wronged by your private, intimate thoughts. Anyone who reads someone else’s journal or diary is in the wrong.  They are invading your privacy and if this person cannot see that is this is wrong, please evaluate your relationship with this individual. This may be a toxic person or a toxic relationship that you need to free yourself from.

This is the end my little soapbox moment. Let’s talk about journals and the wonderful benefits to keeping them.

So after almost a decade of keeping my thoughts, dreams and fears locked away in my head for safe keeping I am once again enjoying the calming sensation of writing in my journal.  And letting it all out on paper is amazing and freeing.

So Why Should You Start A Journal 

There are some proven benefits to keeping a journal to write out your thoughts and process your feelings. Trust me and Google the benefits of journal writing and read a few psychology articles on the science behind it all.  But here are my recommendations based on my experiences on why you should start a journal.

  1. It is a tool of mindfulness. When I kept a journal as a child, teen and young adult I was always very aware of what was happened in my life.  I was conscious of what I was thinking about because I would write all my preoccupations in detail. Mindfulness is a big buzz word right now and it one of the My Jamaican Vignettes themes for 2017 and one of my personal development and life goals. Writing out what is happening brings about positive awareness of what our thoughts are, where we are focusing our energies. And if for whatever reason our thoughts are trained on the “bad things” we can use our writing sessions to redirect our thoughts.
  2. Reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes after writing down a problem, it becomes easier to work through the solutions. Also, your journal is supposed to be your safe place, so write it out. Share the frustrations, fears and anxieties and then purge it from your life.
  3. Create and manifest goals. I do not only write what happens on a day to day basic, my journal serves as my space to really become clear about my dreams and goals in life. I write about my plans, the little steps that I take to get closer to living my best life. I track my progress in my journal, notebook and my planner.
The Types of Journals To Consider 

 If you want to journal but you may not to certain where to start, there are many types of journals to choose from. Here are a few to consider:

  • Gratitude Journal 
  • Art Journal
  • Bullet Journal (also an organisation tool and planner system)
  • Food Journal (for meal tracking and fitness)
  • Travel Journal
  • Dream Journal
Journal Prompts 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to get started.  And for me getting started meant having some guidance.  After years of refusing to put pen to paper and write my thoughts I felt unsure of what to write and I found  that journal prompts were useful.

You may be ready  to free write in your new journal, here are 31 journal prompts to get you started.

Click to Download the Journal Prompts for the next 31 days

You can choose to buy a fancy notebook or a dedicated brand journal or even use a simple composition book.  Just start writing, thinking and letting it all out and the relief will come.

Also you may find these other resources helpful when setting up a new journal and the benefits of keeping a journal.

Did you journal or keep a diary as  child?  Do you have a journal now? Do you use journal prompts? Or do you free write? What do you consider as the main benefits of keeping a journal?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and discussions section. Let’s chat about the benefits of journals. Please share the journal prompts with family and friends, sometimes we just need a little nudge to get going.

Have a happy, joy-filled week.