Journals undoubtedly serve a number of benefits: they help us identify our personal values, get through difficult times, and set meaningful goals.
If you use a journal, there are ways to maximize the benefits you receive from it. It is a great way to track your mood from time to time.
Additionally, journals can help you interpret your work-life balance if you write about your free time and work experience.
In this article, we will provide an overview of the best topics to write about and the many benefits of journaling.
4 Advantages & Benefits of Keeping a Journal
There are powerful benefits you can acquire through keeping a journaling routine.
You can keep track of your past experiences, recall fond memories, evaluate your strengths better, and even set more appropriate and realistic goals for yourself.
If you are considering starting it as a daily routine, you may be wondering about the numerous pros of doing so. Below are a few examples of ways you benefit from using a journal on a regular basis.
1. Remember the details
After some time, it is likely that some experiences will be forgotten. Even some of your fondest memories may start to fade over time. It is a true shame when such events are forgotten.
Remembering them can instantly bring a smile to your face, serve as motivation, or simply remind you that there is happiness and joy in life.
Remembering the details of past events can help you overcome a tough period of time and the task costs virtually nothing.
When you keep a journal, you can almost relive the entire experience. This is opposed to simply trying to remember the moment, which often leads to inaccurate and inauthentic recollections.
Even photos do not show you the true full picture. With a journal, you can remember and reexperience far more.
You can recall where you were, what you were doing, who you were with, what you were thinking, and how you were feeling. And, you can look back years to recall virtually any date.
2. Find old friends
If you want to find your old friends, a journal could be a useful tool. If you ever find yourself wondering who to contact or reconnect with, one of the first ideas which usually pops to mind is your old friends.
The trouble is: how do you find them? If you keep a journal and did at the time you met them, you will likely have their names mentioned in an entry.
Once you recall their names, you can search for them on Facebook or just search for their name on the web.
If you were truly best friends with someone, you might have even mentioned that individual’s cell phone number or email in your journal.
It is recommended that you do that, for you never know when you will need to reconnect with a friend.
3. Help process feelings and ideas
Feelings are delicate and difficult to understand. Because of this, any insight into your emotions is beneficial, even if it does not contain lots of precious details.
A journal can be that window into your true thoughts and feelings. When people write in a journal, they often experience a feeling of freedom and honesty.
After that, they typically write out the feelings they may not feel comfortable typically admitting they have. It is far easier to state you feel a certain way on paper than to admit this to a friend or colleague.
While both are useful, the journal acts as the first step and keeps you honest with yourself. Without a journal, you are more likely to neglect your feelings as “suffer through.”
Similarly, journals are also exceptionally useful when it comes to listing and exploring ideas. The nature of writing is unrestrained.
When you allow yourself to write a creative entry without overthinking, you may discover some new ideas you never knew you had. This is because many suppress ideas they find impossible to achieve.
Journals are generally a great way to get aquatinted with your unexplored thoughts and emotions.
4. Preserve the writer’s history
If you are a writer, or simply wish to be remembered, a journal is an excellent physical item to leave behind.
After you pass, you will not be forgotten as long as your ancestors have your journal. It keeps a record of your takes and experiences, thus providing your offspring with valuable insights into your daily life.
It also serves as a way to introduce yourself to those you may never meet.
Individuals can learn a lot about their personalities, career, relationships, and goals by reading your journal.
Thus, your great, great grandkids will still feel like they know you, even if you’ve never met.
Creative Things To Write In a Journal
Journals have numerous uses. If you want to make the most out of your journal, consider writing creatively in it.
Make a note of some bucket list ideas, recall your life milestones, or reflect upon the steps you need to take to have your dream life.
In addition, you can also perform the following creative tasks.
Reflect on a Quote
Choose a quote that resonates with you, one that is truly meaningful to you. These can be favorite movie quotes, inspirational quotes, or else.
See if the quote you chose gives any meaning to you in your current life. How is it related, and what can you learn from the quote?
Even if it is just an interesting phrase, ask yourself why it intrigued you. Does it have any real-world application or lesson behind it?
The wisest quotes will give you deep insights into your life and decisions.
However, it is also great to choose a satirical or funny quote. After all, laughter is a great way to cheer you up.
Answer a Question
If collecting quotes seems like too much work for you, try answering some questions. You can choose a random question by looking at popular quiz websites, such as Buzzfeed.
They may not be particularly insightful, but you will still get a laugh out of the activity. Consider trying to think about the question more deeply, though.
What has been bothering you recently? Write about the question that created this worry.
Or, consider the larger purpose of your life and career. Write about why you do what you do, or what makes you love your significant other.
Take a look back on your entire life. Surely, there will be some moments that stand out as particularly exciting or fulfilling.
Remembering these times can help you remind yourself that life, regardless of the hardships you are currently facing, is still beautiful. It could motivate you or give you a boost in confidence.
When you create this journal entry, think about the birth of your children, your marriage, major career success, or fun adventures.
Think about the times you risked an immense amount, and whether that paid off.
Remind yourself that you can achieve your ultimate goal by acknowledging your past successes.
Self-care is necessary if you wish to be mentally and physically healthy in the long run. With a journal, you can record details on what makes you feel the best.
Thus, your self-care strategy can improve. In fact, just writing about what makes you feel good typically results in increased positive feelings.
Remembering and looking forward to fun events can boost your excitement and get you in a happier mood.
For example, if you have a vacation planned in a few weeks, write about how excited you are for that and what events you will partake in.
You will likely be more thrilled about it after this reflection.
Describe Your Challenges
If you keep writing a daily journal entry, looking back, you may see they are a mix of positive and negative. This is perfectly fine and encouraged.
If you only write about the greatest moments in your life, you may feel less confident looking back on these moments during a tough time.
It is much better to look back at a time you truly struggled, yet overcame this challenge. Describe a time that you were truly stressed or facing a difficult circumstance.
Then, once you overcome it, describe the strategy you used and how you felt at that moment.
Write About the Things and People You are Grateful For
Gratefulness is not just important during the Thanksgiving season. We unfortunately often forget the importance of acknowledging the people we are truly appreciative of.
Every day, write down a few things that occurred throughout the day and why these moments made you grateful. Remember to state who or what you are thankful for.
After you write about those you are thankful for, you will be more inclined to tell them face-to-face how much they mean to you.
This is important for keeping strong relationships and staying mentally healthy. Gratitude is a topic that is beneficial to write about, no matter who you are.
Writing about those you appreciate can surprisingly boost your own confidence as an added bonus.
What to Write About in a Journal for School
As a student, you may overlook the importance of journal-keeping. You have many tests to study for, games to practice for, and homework to complete.
Nonetheless, failing to take care of yourself and reap the incredible benefits of a journal can cost you in the long run.
If you want to be more grateful, satisfied, happy, motivated, and potentially perform better in school, try journaling.
Below are the best topics to write about, categorized by your current academic position.
High School Journal
If you just entered high school, there are likely many adjustments you made.
Maybe your friend group has changed, or you could be adjusting to a new schedule or just starting to comprehend the next stages of your career.
Write about how you handled the news changes you just experienced. Is high school overwhelming when it comes to friends and school? What are your relationships (both romantic and friendly) like? What do you think of your teachers?
These are all relatively lighthearted topics that are somewhat easy to write about. They are a great way to start journaling.
Once you get used to journaling, you are more likely to be ready for deeper topics. For instance, think about how you see your future.
Do you know what the next 5, 10, or 15 years look like for you? In an ideal world, do you know what you would be doing for a career?
If you do, write about that. Envision your future self. If not, then write about your passions.
In general, what do you believe an ideal future would look like? What tasks are “must-haves” for your future career?
Also, consider thinking about college. Write about the colleges you are interested in and why.
Describe your feelings about this major change and how you feel about entering adulthood and potentially being away from your parents long-term for the first time.
As a university student, you are probably experiencing many new moments. You may have never had as much freedom as you do now. Yet, many university students still feel unfulfilled or confused.
Consider writing about the times where you feel a general lack of motivation, and why this is so. Then, describe the times in your university career when you were truly elated.
Who were you with? What were you doing, and why?
Recall why you came to this specific university and why you majored in the field you chose. What makes you passionate about it? Why were you attracted to this university?
These journal writing prompts can get you more motivated and help you adopt a more positive mindset.
Consider writing about your experiences as an independent adult. What do you like about this new freedom? Is there anything you miss about being a child?
Many individuals feel homesick during this time. They may especially miss their parents or younger siblings. So, write about why you are grateful for them.
After that, consider giving them a call and sharing what you wrote (if you are comfortable doing so).
If you remember a specific moment that makes you nostalgic for your past life, explore that moment. What made that moment mean to you? Who were you with, and what were you doing?
Detail the feelings you have associated with that moment. Then, you could try to replicate that moment if possible.
7 Journal Writing Examples
Some believe that a journal entry is a journal entry, and that is the furthest specification out of journaling. There are many different types of journals out there, though.
Each of them serves a unique purpose. They are also structurally different. To make the most out of journaling, try to get familiar with each of these writing types.
They all benefit you by helping you deal with emotions, recall past successes, express gratitude, and so on.
Writing about gratitude may not seem very important, but it serves numerous key benefits. We often forget to acknowledge the individuals we truly care about on a day-to-day basis.
Remember, you never know how long you will have your loved ones. So, writing about them helps keep them in your memory.
Additionally, you are more motivated to give them a call or tell them you love them after writing about them in a journal.
The final benefit of gratitude journaling is a more personal one. You become more positive and fulfilled.
Project journals can be a great creative journaling experience. They ensure that you keep track of the things you learned. These topics can be a wide range of items.
For instance, if you learned a new fighting strategy in your karate class, this would count as a project and memory in the project journal.
If you learned to write a check or perform another crucial task, this could also be listed here. Try to list the tasks as the most meaningful tasks to you.
For example, if you spent years learning Spanish and ordered food in Spanish for the first time, that has deep emotional meaning. It should be remembered and written about in this journal.
Self-help books, an adult coloring book, and a therapy journal are all useful when it comes to relaxing yourself.
However, do not make the mistake of substituting professional advice with self-help. That said, therapy journals are effective in helping you become less tense.
They are a great place to privately reflect on your thoughts and positive and negative feelings. If you are not ready to share them with someone else, it is at least better to be aware of them.
Once you do schedule a therapy appointment, sharing your journal is a great way to develop an open relationship with a therapist.
Many people are told to “dream big.” Yet, very few actually keep track of these goals and dreams. Without a clear understanding of your dreams, you are unlikely to achieve them.
The solution is surprisingly quite simple: keeping a dream journal. Write down your goals and aspirations and see if they change over time.
If they do not, this is a clear indicator that you are passionate about that goal and should pursue it.
Another way to use the dream journal is more literal: try interpreting the dreams you have at night.
Write down the thoughts you have at night and try making connections to the real world. You may uncover some important insights.
When you think of a journal, this is the type that is most commonly referred to. This everyday journaling simply involves detailing the daily events.
While this is not the most insightful or emotionally explorative journal type, it does benefit you.
It is, above all, versatile, for you can write about anything that happened throughout the day, regardless of how important it was.
A personal journal can also serve as a record of your tasks. With this journal, you can recall fond memories, search for old friends, or even give your children an overview of what life used to be like.
It is best used as a reflection tool or for keeping track of events.
This is likely the second most broad category of a journal. In a collection journal, you simply detail collections that are meaningful to you.
This can include making a list of books you enjoyed reading, recalling your favorite quotes, writing about your favorite music, and so on.
If you want these collections to be a bit deeper, consider writing about ideas that interest you or writing about relationship goals/financial goals.
Generally speaking, the collection journal helps you remember the activities and items you appreciate. It also encourages you to explore ideas and monthly goals.
The community journal takes a more group-oriented approach to journaling.
Instead of focusing on what one person learns and feels throughout the day, these reflections are based on a group’s experiences.
When writing a group journal, come together with your friends or colleagues and share the experiences you had throughout the day.
If anything stood out as particularly exciting, insightful, interesting, or funny, write that down in your shared journal.
This way, you can share your best and worst moments with your friends, thus strengthening your relationship with them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Journaling
What things to write in a journal when you are bored?
One of the most meaningful topics you can journal about is who and what you are grateful for.
On a more lighthearted note, you can also reflect back on your favorite books, music, quotes, or anything fun that happened throughout the day.
Recalling the most exciting moments of your childhood and remembering your old friends can also help cure your boredom.