When it comes to daily journaling, there are hardly any rules — whether you want to begin each entry with "Dear Diary" or completely riff and ramble, the key is to express your thoughts, emotions, and experiences without judgment or constraint. In fact, there are tons of different journaling techniques that you can try out in order to get the words flowing and — more importantly, figure out what feels best and most natural. By using different journaling styles based on your personal goals and writing habits, you can help unlock an even deeper level of self-discovery, self-awareness and make this important daily habit that much more impactful.
So what do we mean by different journaling styles? Well first things first, go grab that cute notebook you’ve been saving for a special occasion (we all hoard cute notebooks — here's a reminder that it's okay to actually write in them), and let’s dive in:
A Stream-of-Consciousness Journal
Ready to let your inner thoughts run wild? Then a Stream-of-Consciousness Journal might be worth a try. Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 5-10 minutes first thing in the morning, jot down the date, and then go to town writing down whatever comes to mind without censoring or editing — typos and tangents ignored, just keep writing until the timer goes off. This style of journaling can be especially helpful when you're feeling overwhelmed or have writer’s block.
By letting your thoughts flow freely onto the page without any filters, you’ll clear all of those mental roadblocks and maybe even find solutions to your most heavy problems. In fact, doing this sort of brain-dump exercise can be a cathartic outlet for releasing pent-up emotions, stress or anxiety. Just the act of putting your thoughts onto paper itself can provide a sense of relief from those overwhelming emotions that have been swirling around in your mind all week. In fact, you might be surprised at what pours out, which is a great way to discover suppressed thoughts or repeated concerns that appear day after day.
A Junk Journal
What on earth is a junk journal you ask? Well, imagine a scrapbook on steroids, basically just a personal mishmash of random odds and ends. It could include old receipts, colorful magazine clippings, random quotes, ticket stubs, and even dried flowers — all which come together to form a collection of personal expression and memories. A junk journal lives somewhere on the spectrum between chaos and art, with each page telling a different story.
Junk journals are an excellent excuse to hoard stuff without feeling guilty. Those quirky patches, a scrap of wrapping paper, or that collection of cheesy postcards you secretly adore — now they all have a purpose and a place! Junk journals are great for bringing out your crafty side, so grab that pair of scissors and a glue stick and let's get junk journaling!
A Self-Reflection Journal
Here’s the newest addition to your nightly routine: Before you go to bed, spend a couple of minutes writing down your thoughts on the day — both the good and the bad. It's that simple!
By carving out a few minutes to reflect each evening, you'll be able to unwind from the day's hustle and bustle and identify any concerns or stressors that you might be able to avoid tomorrow. It’s a great way to release those thoughts that might keep you up all night worrying, so you can have a more peaceful and uninterrupted slumber. Plus, you’ll have headstart on figuring out what you want to focus on and improve in the morning. If you’re feeling a bit of writer’s block, we’ve got a few journaling prompt workbooks here to help you get started!
By having these friendly conversations with yourself, you’ll act like your own personal therapist. So grab your favorite notebook, cozy up in bed and let the benefits of self-reflection journaling flow. It's a wonderful practice that is sure to bring zen to your nighttime routine, allow you to rest and recharge and have renewed energy in the morning for the day ahead.
A Wildest Dreams Journal
This style of journal is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Self-Reflection Journal, because now, we’re shifting our thoughts into the future. The best way to start one of these journals is to pick a date — it could be December 31 of the current year, 365 days from now — whatever feels right. Next, ask yourself in your wildest dreams, how do you envision life looking on this date? Really let your imagination run wild!
It’s a great idea to re-read this style of journal often, so that you don’t lose sight of your goals. It’s totally fine if they shift and change over time, but by reviewing those things you so passionately wanted one week, one month or one year ago, you’ll be reminded of your long-term vision and not get thrown off track by short-term interruptions or distractions. It’s sort of like a manifestation journal — where your attention goes, your energy flows!
A Creativity Journal
Creative Journaling is a fantastic way to bring out your inner child and explore your thoughts and emotions through art, painting, crafts or any other creative outlet you fancy. Grab a completely blank unlined notebook, hit up your local craft store for some paint or glitter, and go crazy! Try your hand at drawing, painting, making collages, composing poetry, or just letting your thoughts flow freely on the page. Don't worry if you're not a professional artist — this is for your eyes only.
But by tapping into your inner artist, poet, painter or scrapbook professional, you’re bound to unlock some deep-rooted feelings and emotions you may not have stumbled across just with plain old words. Creative journaling is a great way to find that burst of inspiration and who knows, maybe even discover a new hidden talent!
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Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to journaling. Experimenting with these different journaling ideas, and even mixing and matching them to suit your preferences will allow your journal to become a trusted companion on your self-awareness journey. So grab that journal (Pssst.. we’ve got a few cute notebooks right here!) and let your thoughts flow. With these different journaling ideas, you'll be able to gain a deeper understanding of yourself, untangle your thoughts, celebrate your achievements, and navigate life’s challenges with greater clarity.
Read Next: The Top Five Benefits of Daily Journaling
Thanks for checking out The Deep Clean, Tidy Plan's blog full of tips and advice to help you declutter your mind and build good habits. We're all about self-care, productivity, organization, and are here to assist you on your personal growth journey to become your best self!