Journaling

The beginner's guide to journaling: The Do's and Don'ts

Nowadays, self-care is promoted on almost every corner. But no face mask or hair oil will make you happier if you feel sad deep down inside. Real self-care means taking responsibility for the way your body and mind feel. That begins with eating well, getting enough sleep, and making time for yourself and your needs. 

One of the best ways to practice self-care is to journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is surprisingly healing. If your day-to-day life is full of anxiety and stress, then making journaling a habit could significantly improve your well-being and help manage your emotions. 

Our Cloudberry team has experienced firsthand how powerful journaling can be. That’s why we’d like to inspire you to do the same!

The basics of journaling

You’ve probably experienced a moment where you’ve felt your thoughts have taken over you. If daily life is full of responsibilities and stress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in your own head. When that happens, journaling is the easiest way to make yourself feel better. In fact, research shows that it’s an effective solution for reducing stress. 

Simply put, journaling is a process of getting your thoughts from your head onto paper. Some people prefer bullet journals, others write in their diaries, while some – on their computers or note-taking apps. Where you do, it doesn’t really matter. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try journaling in different ways. Observe how each method makes you feel. If you’re a visual person and find it difficult to operate with words, you can even do daily sketches.

The valuable process, nowadays, is associated with several different practices. Each has a specific purpose, so you can figure out which one you prefer better.

Practicing gratitude

We all have those days when it seems like nothing goes our way. During these miserable moments, a gratitude journal can be a real lifesaver. The idea is quite simple – you write down at least one thing you feel grateful for daily. In this process, you are forced to focus on the positives in your life. 

A delicious cup of coffee. A new season for your favorite show. Your loved one’s smile. You can be thankful for even the ‘tiniest’ things. Spoiler alert – they are often what matters the most.

Lists

There’s a reason so many people swear by to-do lists – they can really do wonders when it comes to organizing tasks and ideas. What’s great, you can make a list on anything – hobbies, relationships, dreams, you name it! In Cloudberry’s planner, you’ll find a list (you see, we use them too) of ideas for your next lists.

Morning pages

The way you start your day greatly impacts how the rest of it goes. That’s why this journaling practice is focused on mornings. Once you open your eyes, you should fill a couple of pages with your thoughts. Don’t think about it too much – let the words flow onto the paper. It doesn’t have to make sense – the goal is to clear your mind from unnecessary thoughts. As a result, you’ll be more productive and creative.

To get more insight into the useful practice, we suggest reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.

Art journal

Artistic souls could greatly benefit from an art journal. Fill it with sketches, photos, collages, and anything else you wish. Forget about boundaries – think of the journal as a safe place for your creativity to shine. Remember – there are no rules. You can draw, cut, color, and do so much more.

Free writing

Another great journaling exercise is free writing. To try it, you have to set a timer for a specific time (for instance, five or ten minutes). During the process, write down whatever comes to your mind. You can do it by focusing on a specific topic (this is great for finding solutions for existing challenges) or seeing where your thoughts take you.

Reading journal

If you are a passionate reader, consider creating a reading diary, which will help you remember all the spectacular books you’ve read. Within it, include your favorite quotes, reflect on the story, and add any other insights you feel are important.

Reflection journal

How often do you take the time to evaluate yourself? Our guess is – not too often. Self-reflection is a great way to get a perspective on your life. Thanks to the process, you can learn, grow, understand, and find solutions to problems that, at first, seem unresolvable. 

A reflection journal is similar to a diary. To enjoy the benefits it can bring, you must be as honest as possible, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. If you aren’t sure where to start, in our Cloudberry planner, you’ll find many different questions that will spark your thought process. 

Another great source to find inspiration is this TEDx talk by Julmar Carcedo. In his emotional story, Julmar reveals how journaling changed his life.

End notes

When you first open your new journal, the white page in front of you could seem intimidating, but don’t let that discourage you. Start with an inspirational quote or even a sketch of your favorite flower. Your journal should represent you – perfectly imperfect, so don’t be afraid to make it messy. 

So, put our guide to use and see where your writing takes you. It’s guaranteed to be a fun adventure!