Types of Journaling

What are the different types of journaling and which method would work best for you? What is journaling exactly and why squeeze journaling into your already, perhaps over-crowded schedule?

One key reason to journal is it’s a high return-on-investment wellness tool that gives you back a greater reward than the time and effort you put in.

Journaling is more than just, writing down lists. Writing down lists is great to stay organised, yet taking things a step further and writing, doodling, drawing diagrams about thoughts, feelings, goals, dreams, delivers scientifically proven added benefits such as clarity, focus, improved goal achievement, mental wellness – and more.

6 Practical Journaling Methods to try right now that give a high return on time invested.

I suggest keeping it simple, there’s no right or wrong. The time you spend is up to you – whether you decide to spend 5 or 20 minutes every day writing lists, ideas, feelings, dreams and goals; whether you write, draw, doodle, it’s your choice. You will benefit.

Here are 6 effective journaling methods you can use to gain the benefits:

1. Gratitude journaling is a great way to start journaling because it quickly changes your mindset from, for example, being hard on yourself and being in a state of worry – to more upbeat. List 3-5 things you’re grateful for every day. This quickly produces a positive mindset change. When you do this regularly and build the habit, gratitude journaling is something you can fall back on every time things don’t go your way, when you’re feeling down and to maintain a can-do attitude to spring into action .

How to get the maximum benefits from Gratitude journaling?

As you list your 5 thank you’s, write about how you feel about the items on your list. If you say thank you for                  your morning coffee, why are you grateful for it? How does it make you feel? Relaxed, buzzed, happy? Do you                absolutely love the smell of coffee, the taste? Do you appreciate the fact that coffee-time is one of the few me-                time moments you give yourself during the day?

Recapturing your sensations as you list what you’re grateful for, delivers you the feel-good factor


Another way to learn from and benefit from writing gratitude lists is to notice patterns in your lists. Then do more of these things regularly so you feel great. Build key happy-habits into your life.


https://waywordsjournals.com/product/gratitude-your-master-key-to-mindset-change-book-diary-journal/ is a guided journal to help you build your gratitude habit and gain the benefits.


2. A journaling method to help you sleep better:

If you would benefit from better sleep, writing down what’s bothering you for a few minutes before you go to bed – and how you feel about it, takes it from your brain and clears your head. Follow this with 3-5 thank you’s, build the habit and improve your sleep. This works best as the habit builds, so do this regularly. Be sure to write down your options and potential solutions too so you move from ruminating about your problems to knowing there are possibilities to resolve them.

3. Expressive writing: 

This is a method of journaling which has been proven to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Opening Up by Writing it down, James Pennebaker is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the science behind journaling and the mental and physical health benefits.

Write down your worries and challenges, and how you feel about them. Write for 20 minutes a day for 4 days. In scientific studies, many people who did this made sense of their thoughts & emotions, experienced reduced stress and anxiety, improved clarity and focus – and improved mental health.

All you need for this journaling method, is paper and a pen.

4. Journaling, writing down positive affirmations:

This works great for Imposter Syndrome. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on journaling and you want a high return on time invested – try this method and also, gratitude journaling, for great outcomes. For example, if you have put off or given up on your goals and dreams, write in your journal every morning, something like ‘I am fearless in the pursuit of my dreams’. If you suffer from low self-worth, write down daily ‘I am worthy and lovable’. Choose the positive sentence (affirmation) that works for you. Continue to do this every day so you begin to believe it. From that new place of positive self-belief, you’ll then become more capable of taking action towards your goals and dreams.

5. Reflective Journaling

This means writing down whatever’s on your mind and how you feel about it. Write about what’s important to you, what bugs you, writing down something that you’d like to change but haven’t yet. Write down absolutely all your options so you can then choose one solution. Reflective writing helps you accept your situation, consider all options, crystalise a plan and take decisions. You can write regularly, or just whenever you need to. Reflective writing is also a wonderful way to explore your life, become more self aware so you’re clear on how exactly to go for your dreams.

6. Guided Journaling

Guided journals include questions, quotes and prompts, as well as exercises that you can work through to help with reflection, problem solving and goal achievement. If you’re new to journaling and not quite sure where to start, guided journals are designed to create a structure for your writing, leading you towards your chosen outcomes.


Your journal is like a friend without an agenda. It’s wonderful to have friends with whom you can share stories. Have you ever really opened up to someone, perhaps a little too much, then regretted it later? When you write about your problem in your journal, how you feel about it, what’s the worst that can happen, how likely it is to happen, what your options are – your thoughts are clearer. You may still open up to a trusted confidante, yet the conversation may be different/better/control…


  • Write during a natural break in your day — early morning, before bed or last thing before you leave your desk. Choose the time that suits you best.
  • Keep your journal with you at all times so you have a place to jot down your thoughts and ideas as they happen.
  • Review your journal from time to time to remind yourself what you’ve been doing, the problems you’ve been facing and the path you’re on, as well as brainwaves you have had.
  • For best outcomes, write down your options and solutions.
  • Keep a themed journal such as recording your dreams, health and fitness habits, a food diary. Poetry, travel, hobby and productivity journals are popular themes.
  • Use a journal to doodle and draw.
  • Share a memory or happiness themed journal with your children. All you need is a notebook and pen to create something meaningful.


  • Paper and pen compels your brain to slow down; drawing thoughts out so you can consider them more clearly.
  • Paper allows you to browse through your writing, reminding you of valuable thoughts and ideas you may have forgotten.
  • The physical act of writing generates new neural connections, especially if you spend hours each day working at a screen.
  • A digital app or a google doc is always with you, as most people always carry a phone these days. You can use your phone to jot down words and thoughts, then elaborate in your journal when you want.