Journaling has long been recognized as a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. But did you know that it also has scientifically proven benefits for mental health and creativity? In this blog post, we will explore 13 different types of journals and how journaling can positively impact your wellbeing and unleash your creative potential.
Benefits of Journaling:
Improved Mental Health
One of the most significant benefits of journaling is its positive impact on mental health. Research has shown that expressive writing, such as journaling, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, participants who engaged in expressive writing for just 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days experienced a significant decrease in anxiety and depressive symptoms compared to those who did not journal.
By putting your thoughts and emotions onto paper, you can gain clarity and perspective on your experiences. This process of externalizing your thoughts can help you process difficult emotions, identify patterns, and find solutions to problems. Journaling also provides a safe space to explore your feelings without judgment, allowing you to release pent-up emotions and alleviate psychological burdens.
Journaling has also been shown to boost creativity. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that individuals who engaged in expressive writing before completing a creative task generated more original and innovative ideas compared to those who did not journal. The act of journaling helps to clear our minds, allowing us to think more creatively and outside the box.
What are some different types of journaling?
Types of Journals
There are many types of journals to explore and find the best format that suits you and your journal writing style. Let's explore some of the options and find a style of journaling to best suit you.
1. Blank Notebooks
The most simple way to get started is with a blank notebook. The beauty of a blank notebook as a journal is that it is affordable, undated and gives you the flexibility to explore different journaling formats. You could experiment with stream of consciousness style journaling, like the morning pages technique popularised by Julia Cameron. Blank notebooks also make a great entry point into keeping a daily journal or diary. The flexibility of a blank notebook also allows you to experiment with adding to do lists, inspirational quotes, sketches and the like.
2. Gratitude Journal
As we have already touched on, keeping a Gratitude Journal can greatly increase your sense of overall wellbeing and contentment with your life. It can be as simple as a few lines about one thing you are grateful, to more longform journal entries detailing the things you are feeling gratitude for on that day. Cultivating a sense of gratitude for what you already have in your life is a powerful tool to combat feelings of comparison and the multitudes of "wants" created by modern living.
3. Bullet Journal
Bullet journaling is a personal organisation system developed by Ryder Carroll. The bullet journaling system typically uses a dot grid style notebook to log tasks, notes, to-do's and future events in a streamlined and systematised way.
Since it's inception in 2013, bullet journaling has morphed into a variety of styles that have embraced creative and elaborate decoration and illustration. Many new wave bullet journal or "bujo" lovers create decorative monthly spreads including calendars, habit trackers, goal setting, planning, list making and much more. One of the biggest attractions to bullet journaling is it's flexibility and custom personalisation. This new style of bujo does however, require a significant investment in time, but can also prove to be a wonderful creative outlet.
So whether you embrace the original, streamlined version of bullet journal notation or the more creative embellished bujo style, this popular journal system is a great way to experiment with your journal keeping style.
- Want to know more about Bullet Journals? Check out our Bullet Journal Pinterest Board for bujo ideas, inspiration and information.
4. Art Journal
You don't need to be a Picasso to keep an art journal. Art journals or "Creative Journals" are a wonderful way to record your inspirations, ideas, sketches, poems, quotes, collages, magazine clippings, colour swatches, calligraphy, illustrations and more. You can also include your impressions of art, music and design. You can record your progress as you practise a new skill or creative style, or dip back into past entries and use your art journal as a source of inspiration when working on future projects.
5. Travel Journal
A travel journal is a wonderful way to record all those moments, meetings and interactions you never want to forget (but trust me, you will if you don't keep a journal). Perfect for noting your first impressions of new towns and cities on your journey and recording those small moments that make travel so enriching. From your first bite of pasta in Italy, to a subway ride in New York, a travel journal can bring those memories rushing back, allowing you to live the moment again and again.
6. Junk Journal
Junk journals are make from found and recycled materials and are often a handmade and handbound notebook. Junk journaling is like scrapbooking on steroids! There is no such thing as a typical junk journal, as each one is completely unique. However most junk journals are highly decorative and textural will include a variety of paper types, found objects, and various ephemera assembled together in a layered, collage style. Junk journals are typically elaborate and include handmade pockets, flaps, fold out pages and a hand crafted cover.
A junk journal is a creative form of memory keeping and can include collected items from your day or week overlaid with handwritten thoughts, illustrations and inspirations. This may include items like photographs, pressed flowers, ticket stubs, coasters, napkins, menus, leaves, fabric, and more. As the name suggests, you can fill it with all sorts of valued "junk". Anything goes with a junk journal!
7. Scrapbook Journal
A Scrapbook Journal is a delightful combination of journaling and scrapbooking. It allows you to capture and preserve your memories in a visually appealing way. With a Scrapbook Journal, you can incorporate photographs, ticket stubs, postcards, and other mementos alongside your written entries. This type of journal is perfect for those who enjoy expressing themselves through art and design. Whether you're documenting a vacation, a special event, or your everyday life, a Scrapbook Journal provides a creative outlet to cherish your memories for years to come.
8. Project Journal
They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, just as a big project starts with the first plans. Before embarking on your great project, grab a journal or notebook to document the ride, you'll be glad you did. A project journal provides a valuable record of
A Project Journal is a valuable tool for planning, organising, and tracking the progress of any project you undertake. Whether you're working on a personal endeavour or a professional assignment, a Project Journal helps you stay focused and accountable. You can use it to outline your goals, jot down ideas, create to-do lists, and record milestones. By maintaining a Project Journal, you can effectively manage your time, resources, and tasks, ensuring that your project stays on track and reaches successful completion.
9. Pregnancy Journal
A Pregnancy Journal is a cherished keepsake for expectant mothers. It allows you to document the incredible journey of pregnancy, from the first fluttering kicks to the anticipation of meeting your little one. In a Pregnancy Journal, you can record physical changes, emotional experiences, and milestones throughout each trimester. It's a wonderful way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, track your baby's growth, and capture precious moments. A Pregnancy Journal becomes a treasured memento that you can share with your child in the future, reminiscing about the magical time when they were growing inside you.
10. Pocket Journal
Often referred to as a commonplace book, everything journal or catchall journal, a pocket journal is just that, a small journal that fits in you pocket or bag and goes everywhere with you. This kind of journal or note keeping, serves as one place where you jot down everything of note. Ideas, appointments, recipes, quotes, inspirations, sketches, poems and more. It is easily on hand whenever inspiration or need arise. Think of it as your ultimate brain dump document.
A pocket journal can be referred to at the end of each day and any important information can be distilled into other formats. Appointments can be placed into your day planner or diary and sketches can be fleshed out on your computer or sketchpad. A pocket journal can also be kept at your bedside for those 2am ideas!
11. Baby Journal
Once your bundle of joy arrives, a Baby Journal becomes a cherished companion in documenting their early years. From their first smile to their first steps, a Baby Journal allows you to capture every precious moment. You can record developmental milestones, memorable anecdotes, and even paste adorable photographs. A Baby Journal not only serves as a beautiful keepsake for you and your child, but it also becomes a valuable resource for tracking their growth and development. It's a wonderful way to create a lasting memory of their childhood that you can share with them when they're older.
12. Line a Day Journal
A quick and easy style or journaling, a line a day journal can be a notebook or a specific journal. Line a day style journaling is the ideal way to capture the essence of a day or moment and tap directly into your emotions and memories. This style of journal keeping can be used as a personal journal or as a memory keeping book for your child as they grow up. Line a day journals can be an excellent record when starting a new business or adventure, like college or university.
13. Photo a Day Journal
Like the line a day journal, the photo a day journal is a wonderful to capture moments. Well suited to those who have a love for photography, a photo a day journal will become a treasured keepsake in an age where everything has gone digital and photos are often taken, but rarely viewed again. This one takes commitment, but your future self will thank you for it!
How to start Journaling
So, how can you incorporate journaling into your daily routine? Start by setting aside a specific time each day to write in your journal. It could be in the morning as a way to set intentions for the day ahead, or in the evening as a means of reflection.
Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus and let your thoughts flow freely.
I like to journal at both times of day, but find that journaling of an evening is a great way to process the events of the day, practice gratitude and make a to do list for the following day, allowing your mind to rest easy before bed.
Morning journaling is something I have found a little harder to maintain consistently. But when I have implemented a morning journaling routine, I have seen the benefits. Through morning journaling I have experienced greater clarity when addressing challenges of the day, enhanced productivity with a laser like focus on tasks, and a more mindful presence by journaling intentions for that day. Sounds like three pretty compelling reasons to maintain a morning journal habit. I think I have just convinced myself!
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to journal. You can write about your thoughts, feelings, dreams, goals, or anything else that comes to mind. You can draw, scrapbook or doodle. The key is to be consistent and make journaling a habit. Over time, you will begin to reap the mental health and creativity benefits that journaling has to offer.
So let's recap,
Here are 13 Types of Journals you could try;
- Blank Notebook Journal
- Gratitude Journal
- Bullet Journal or Bujo
- Art Journal
- Travel Journal
- Junk Journal
- Scrapbook Journal
- Project Journal
- Pregnancy Journal
- Pocket Journal or Commonplace Book
- Baby Journal
- Line a Day Journal
- Photo a Day Journal
By incorporating one or more of these different journals into your life, you can tap into your creativity, improve your mental health, and cultivate a deeper sense of self. Why not experiment with different journaling practices and discover what works best for you.
What kind of journal do you keep? Which of the 13 types of journal above, would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346.
2. Gino, F., & Ariely, D. (2011). The dark side of creativity: Original thinkers can be more dishonest. Psychological Science, 22(5), 589-594.