Journal Every Day: Wellness Challenge
Write in a journal for at least 5-20 minutes every day this week
“Journaling is like having spiritual windshield wipers; once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts, nebulous worries, jitters and preoccupations on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.” – Julia Cameron
- Write in a journal for at least 5-20 minutes every day this week.
- You can follow one or more journal writing styles. See below for inspiration.
Examples of journal styles
Create a daily journal and make this writing experience your own. Use one style of journal writing or combine as many types as you want. Here are seven journal styles you can choose from:
1. Classic journal
This is a stream of consciousness style of writing and there are no guidelines. Make your classic journal into anything you want it to be. You can write one page today and five pages tomorrow. Reflect about your day, your deepest worries, or write about your desires and goals. Use this type of journaling to process, organize, decompress, ponder and celebrate.
Start by writing in a stream of consciousness format for five to ten minutes. Don’t edit or censor your thoughts and don’t correct your grammar. Just put your pen to the paper and let your mind flow.
2. Morning Pages journal
In Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and The Morning Pages Journal, she assigns the exercise, “Three Pages.” Three Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing that you complete first thing each morning.
You are to fill these pages with anything and everything that crosses your mind and there is no right or wrong way of doing it. The only rule is that you have to complete three pages today, three pages tomorrow, three pages the next morning and so forth.
3. Gratitude journal
Gratitude journal writing helps you consistently shift your focus to the positive by writing about the positive things in your life. This type of writing will help you stay focused on the good around you and can dramatically improve your happiness. When writing in a gratitude journal, focus on morning and evening prompts:
- Morning prompts give you an opportunity to set a positive tone and intention for the rest of the day. These prompts may include: Three things you are grateful for, what would make today great? and a daily affirmation (a statement of what you want in your life).
- Evening prompts help you assess and evaluate your day and help you improve your tomorrow. Evening prompts may include: Three amazing things that happened today and how could you have made today better?
4. Creativity journal
A creativity journal helps you organize your ideas, inspiration and experiments in one spot. It’s a resource that can be used to create inspiration for future creative work. It can be journal chock full of things such as observations, photos, drawings, lists, doodles, sketches, paintings, magazine/newspaper clippings, postcards, poems, quotes and anything else you want. There’s no right or wrong way to write in a creativity journal.
Make your own or buy one with prompts. You can use pen, colored pencil, marker, watercolor or all of the above. Creativity journals can be neat and tidy or wild and unruly. They are great creative outlets and can give you a boost on flat days. Creativity journals are resources you can refer back to on those days when you’re feeling uninspired or feel as if you might be losing your creativity.
5. Listography journal
This type of journal is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a journal where you create and write lists. You can make the list topics yourself or enlist in the help of a pre-made listography journal. Lists can serve as a personal time-capsule.
Making lists can enrich your life, call up memories from the past, create tasks, outline your wishes, dreams and goals, improve your memory, keep you organized, download brain thoughts and create awareness. Some ideas of list topics include:
- Habits to break
- Countries to visit
- Favorite quotes
- Good things that happened today
- Favorite movies/albums/artists
- Bucket lists
- Good deeds to perform
- Things that make you feel happy
6. Bullet journal
Writing in a bullet journal, or BuJo for short, is a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure. The bullet journal concept was created in 2013 by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer and author.
Bullet journals are designed to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future so that the writer can live an intentional and meaningful life. The official Bullet Journal website explains the all of the ins and outs of bullet journaling.
7. Travel journal
If you are currently traveling, create a travel journal. You can write in a travel journal while on vacation and when traveling for work. Write whatever you want in this type of journal. Record the details of your travel experience – where you stay, what you visit, who you see, how you feel, what the weather’s like, etc. Use it to reflect on your days, record experiences, write about the food you eat, and make itineraries and create lists of things you want to do and see.
Write in this journal however you want – entries can be in various journaling formats such as stream of consciousness, gratitude, lists and creativity styles. Include postcards, brochures, photos, tickets, printouts and magazine cutouts in this travel journal.
Helpful tips for writing in a journal
- Gather your materials. Collect or buy the materials you need to write. This may include your journal, writing/sketching implements, erasers, timer, reading light, lap desk, etc. Put them together so you have them when you are ready to write.
- Decide where you will write. Designate a writing nook. An ideal space will be one where you can focus and write without interruptions. It should be free of distractions. This may be at your desk, in bed, outside on your patio, in the library or at a coffee shop. If you are going to write at home, place your journal and writing materials near this writing area. Some people find it helpful to place a journal and pen next to their bed so writing becomes the first impulse when you wake up and the final impulse before going to sleep.
- Create a writing schedule. Turn writing into a habit. Decide when you will write in your journal and create a schedule. By scheduling the same times, journaling will become a natural and regular part of your agenda that you look forward to each day.
- Wake up earlier. To make sure you will have time to write, wake up 10-30 minutes earlier. If you live with others, wake up before everyone else in the house. Waking up before others guarantees that you will be able to write without noises and distractions.
- Make a commitment. Commit to writing in your journal every day. Life won’t always be smooth, but it is important that you don’t skip any days of this one week challenge. Write when you are happy, sad and mad. Write no matter how you feel, even when you feel tired or depressed, have a headache, feel lazy, have an early morning tomorrow, or just had an argument with a family member. Just do it.
- Meditate. Journal entries can benefit from moments of reflection before you write. Before you sit down with your journal, find a quiet place and do a short meditation session. Focus on your breath for a few minutes – this will clear your mind and settle your thoughts.
- Set a timer. Decide how long you will write each day. Setting a length of time will help you stay focused. Aim for at least 5-20 minutes. Miracle Timecubes, smartphones, digital watches, stop watches and digital kitchen timers all track time well.
- Date your journal entries. Dating your journal entries help for when you want to review your journal. A great exercise is to look back on your journal entries to see how you were feeling at different points in your life.
- Write naturally. You don’t have to follow form or structure. Do what comes naturally. Let your thoughts flow and see what kind of writing, sketching or doodling follows.
- Write honestly. This journal is for you, so be honest and don’t lie to yourself. Make your journal an honest representation of yourself and life. Be real with your emotions, thoughts, wants and opinions.
Why Is This Practice Important?
Writing can be viewed as an important tool everyone can and should use. Even if you consider yourself a terrible writer, you can benefit from daily writing. The process of writing has several benefits. Writing in a journal can create positive change. As you connect with the innermost part of who you are on a regular basis, you give yourself permission to grow and focus on what’s important. This writing practice allows you to be creative, helps you deal with stress and makes you healthier. Here’s a closer look at these benefits:
- Journaling is a powerful tool to clear the mind. When talking about his daily morning routine of writing in a journal, Tim Ferriss says, “I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my day… Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.”
- Journaling gives you the chance to declutter your mind and start from a fresh perspective each day. It provides an outlet for your thoughts, worries, concerns, brainstorms, celebrations, gratitude, problems, stresses and anxieties. It’s a useful routine that creates focus and clarity and makes you more productive, efficient and effective in life. Unexpressed thoughts, whether positive or negative, tend to block our forward progress.
- Journal writing develops gratitude and boosts your happiness. Gratitude writing strengthens your immune system, develops compassion, increases self-esteem, improves sleep, raises energy levels, helps with relaxation, boosts productivity, makes you more optimistic and improves your decision-making skills. It also creates less feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness. Writing about positivity also boosts endorphins and makes you happier.
- Writing in a journal is healthy for the brain. Neurologist Judy Willis states, “The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection and, when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”
- Journaling boosts creativity. The wellness practice of uncensored writing liberates your mind. The simple act of releasing your thoughts and emotions onto paper gives you the freedom to take back your mind and create new connections and opportunities. It can ignite imagination and analytical thinking which makes you more creative with everything you do in life. You do not need to be a creator, artist, teacher or writer to benefit. Everyone benefits from writing. It’s an important component to improving your health and performance.
Journals that spark creativity
The following journals challenge “readers” to become artists and authors through clever prompts and challenges. If you want some guidance with journal writing, check out these kickass resources:
- The Steal Like an Artist Journal by Austin Kleon
- The Artist’s Way Workbook by Julia Cameron
- The Five-Minute Journal by Intelligent Change
- The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday
- Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel
- The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
- Bullet Journal Notebook by Leuchtturm1917
- Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith
- This is Not a Book by Keri Smith
- Art Journal– Art Journey by Nicole Rae
- 1 Page at a Time by Adam J. Kurtz
- Listography: Your Life in Lists by Lisa Nola
- Start Now!: The Creativity Journal by Kate Neckel
- Improvisation For the Spirit by Katie Goodman
- 642 Things to Write About by San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
Join me in this “Journal Every Day” wellness challenge!
Join this wellness challenge by committing to writing in a journal for at least 5-20 minutes each day this week. This writing wellness challenge may actually change your life. Please share your thoughts and writing experiences with the BambooCore community. Your comments may help others improve their health and wellness.
- What do you think about this writing challenge? Will it be easy or difficult for you?
- If difficult, what obstacles are in your way? What can you do to overcome these challenges?
- What’s your favorite method of journaling?
- Do you have a favorite guided creativity journal, notebook or writing implement? What are they?
- Is this a wellness practice that you will stick with after this week? Why or why not?
Past wellness challenges
If you like this week’s wellness lifestyle challenge, please share this post, Write In a Journal: Wellness Challenge, with your friends and family. Thanks!
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When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.