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How to Start Journaling Daily:
7 Unbreakable Rules for Building a Journaling Habit

Journaling may reveal your hidden desires, personality sides and strengths. Find out how to start journaling and to make it a solid daily habit.
a girl sitting in the armchair with a notebook in her hands and thinking how to start journaling
Do you ever wonder how people these days find the time to keep a diary? Have you kept one yourself? If you wrote in a diary as a child, you may have kept it protected under lock and key because it contained your personal, secret thoughts. Perhaps one of the most famous diaries in history belonged to Anne Frank. Here are some of her entries about why she valued her diary:
"The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise, I'd suffocate."

"Because paper has more patience than people."

"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."

Why you need journaling in your life

Keeping a diary may seem old-fashioned, but the practice is still quite common, and nowadays, it's often known also as journaling. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and personal sentiments can be very cathartic and has been found to positively impact your mental health.

Why and how to start journaling for anxiety

Journaling can help you sort out your anxious thoughts and feelings. If you want to learn how to start journaling for anxiety, the simplest way is to allow yourself to freely write about what is going on in your mind. This can prevent spiraling thoughts and rumination. Self-examination can prevent anxiety from taking over by allowing you to shift from worrying to problem-solving.

Why and how to start journaling for stress relief

An overabundance of unpleasant emotions can lead to stress. Journaling about these painful emotions can help decrease their intensity by symbolically releasing them onto paper. You will feel calmer and more focused. Learning how to start journaling for stress relief can be easy. Just write honestly, without censoring yourself, about what is causing you distress and how it is affecting you. Think of it as throwing all the negativity away.
a girl writing in her journal as an illustration of how to start journaling

Why and how to start journaling for self-discovery

When you get in the habit of writing about what you think and feel, about what is going on in your life, you will get to know more about yourself and discern important aspects of your emotional and mental wellbeing. You will also be able to think more clearly about situations and people that matter to you. Figuring out how to start journaling for self-discovery might begin with using prompts. There is a wide range of topics that you can ask yourself. Examples include:

  • What is your biggest regret?
  • How would other people describe you?
  • What scares you the most in life?

7 unbreakable rules for building a journaling habit

1. Choose your journaling method

If you're looking for how to start journaling, there are several ways to do it depending on your needs, time, and personality. Here are several practices to explore. See what works for you as there is no best way to journal.

Gratitude journal
Some people prefer to focus on the more positive aspects of their life. To create a gratitude journal, you can list three or more things that you are grateful for every day. By keeping a record of the many great things that happen in your life, you develop a deeper appreciation for life. Plus, you can always go back and read them when you are feeling down.

Emotional release
When you release the tension that comes with overwhelming emotions, you are also able to reframe your mind and process what is going on in your life. Journaling about positive emotions magnifies them and writing about negative emotions can buffer against further stress.

Bullet journal
Bullet journaling is essentially keeping a personal planning journal. This is a great way to organize what you need to do for the day, week, month, or year. It also helps you declutter your mind and track important details or events by coming up with schedules and a list of things you don't want to forget.

Unsent letter
You know how it feels to harbor unexpressed pent-up thoughts and feelings toward someone. Just like it sounds, a journal entry consisting of an unsent letter is never meant to be sent. Instead, it's just written for catharsis. It is a powerful tool to purge unwanted thoughts and feelings to help you get closure, forgiveness, and peace of mind.

Reflection journal
This method allows you to look back on your day or certain events and helps you analyze what and why things happened. You can also write about how you reacted and what you might have done differently. This is a good way to develop insights that can propel you to change for the better.

2. Schedule your journaling routine

Only you can determine the schedule that works for you. You can choose to write in the morning, at the end of the day, or when you have breaks. You don't need to write daily if you feel burdened by it. There are lots of methods for how to start journaling for beginners, and one good option is to choose a theme for a day, week, or month.

3. Set a timer

The idea is to devote about 15 to 20 minutes a day to journal writing. For free-flowing journal entries, try to continuously write from your stream of consciousness for 10 minutes according to what comes into your mind. However, when you are just beginning to learn how to journal daily, you can set any time you want. Over time, you will have developed your routine and organized your time.

4. Stay realistic

Your journal is your private, personal space, so it doesn't have to follow any structure. Use your journal as you see fit. You can set whatever goals and routines work for you.
a girl sitting on the couch and writing her journal showing how to start journaling

5. Track your journaling habit

Looking for patterns in your journaling habit can help you find which practices are working for you and which aren't helping and can be abandoned. Your journaling should help you create order when your world is in chaos. Look forward to your journaling session as a time to compose yourself and relax.

6. Don't expect to write error-free text

No one will critique your journal, so you don't need to worry about grammar, punctuation, spelling, or any other rules that might block you from the benefits of the experience of journaling.

7. Keep your journal near you

Make it easy for yourself. Keep a pen and notebook with you all the time so you can write whatever comes to your mind.


Psychotherapy can help clients talk about and sort out their thoughts and feelings. In the same way, journaling can help you write about your worries, communicate your thoughts, and feel heard. You gain valuable self-knowledge, clearer perspectives, and solutions to your problems by being able to clarify your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is a safe place where you can be yourself.
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