The Art of Journaling

July 1, 2020

If you haven’t mastered the art of journaling, consider starting a daily practice. There are many benefits to keeping a journal and is considered an act of self-care, one that allows you to reflect on the day or jot down random thoughts. It can be cathartic. Journaling is considered to be right up there with meditation and is a fantastic mindfulness practice which can force you to take notice of your feelings and thoughts on any given day.

This week, our team of experts offer some tips on journaling and how to best start your own daily practice. A practice kids and teens can start too!

Kasey Cain, Licensed Professional Counselor

I have always loved the idea of journaling and know from schooling and readings that there are a multitude of benefits associated with keeping a journal. In fact, has a post explaining 83 Benefits of Journaling.

Over the years I have bought notebooks with beautiful or inspirational covers or made my own notebook with collaged covers all in the hopes of making journaling a daily habit. The results are a bunch of partially filled notebooks – journals with prompts, open ended journals, gratitude journals, self motivation journals, quote books, etc. At first, I was disappointed by the realization that I never fulfilled my goal of writing every day. However, upon reflection and re-reading some of these entries, I realize that these partially filled books are gifts. They are glimpses into my thoughts, feelings, and memories. I was driven to journal when I needed a way to express myself and I am drawn to read and muse on these writings at other times.

If you are thinking of journaling, I hope you can learn from my experience and recognize early on that there is no right or wrong way to journal. It is not a “must do” or “should do” but instead it is a “want to do.” Through journaling you will have a safe space to share, respect, and preserve your hopes, dreams, fears, celebrations, frustrations, etc.

Dorri C. Scott, MSW, Resident Family Therapist and Parent Coach 

I’ve written in a journal since my elementary school years. I love it.

A gift I give myself, journal writing offers a sacred place where I share treasures, goals, events of a day and thoughtsfor next steps. As a writer, I have always found writing to be like a great escape; sort of like finding a “good read” hoping it will never end. It is personal. Too it holds years of beautiful moments, times shared and secrets kept deep within.

I have always named my journals.

Secret Shalom, “Peace” as I call my journals are a collection in varied sizes, colors and papers acquired for years.
From journals with Italian papers purchased in Florence, Italy to loose paper bought while visiting Japan or a quick pick up journal in a local used book store, I have never held a journal I do not like.

Perhaps it is the cracking of a new page or the anticipation of where thoughts on paper will take me.  Some days, I write a full page. Other days, one word is enough.

Perfect grammar is NOT the goal and punctuation learned in English class is not the point.

Journaling is about freedom.

It requires nothing of YOU, just your thoughts and a writing instrument.

Dare to share or not, it is yours for the keeping. Try it, you might like it. As for me, journaling is a gift I recommend you give yourself. Happy Writing!

Rebecca Staines, Licensed Professional Counselor

Journaling can be a great way to release stress and reconnect with your inner voice. So much of our time gets clouded by exterior circumstances such as work, kids, school, and family commitments that it is hard to truly tap into how we are feeling. Journaling doesn’t have to feel like a chore either. It can be done at the beginning or end of the day and serve as quiet time for you to just be still and practice some mindfulness.

I often encourage my clients to write letters in a journal when in conflict with a peer or family member. This letter doesn’t even have to be given to the other person but can just be a healthy way to dispel anger or sadness over a situation. Journaling can also serve to redirect negative self-talk. Writing down a negative thought you have about yourself helps you to notice how often you are putting yourself down, and what specifically you are putting yourself down about. Once you have this awareness, you can then choose to be the author of your own story and rewrite how you want to view yourself. In other words, journaling can be an opportunity to offer yourself some self-compassion by writing down things you like about yourself and acknowledging what you have accomplished and been through successfully over the course of a day, week, or even year.

The more you incorporate journaling into your routine, the more natural and helpful it will become.

Happy Journaling, Wise Families! Until next time, Be Wise!