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5 Different Journaling Methods and Their Benefits

Keeping a journal can be very rewarding and beneficial. Which one of these different journaling methods is right for you?

Journaling can help you organize your mind, get clear on your goals and intentions, and even boost your creativity.  Listed below are 6 different types of journaling methods and how each one can improve your life.


Life Events Journal:

This is the traditional journal where you keep a daily or weekly record of your life. It has many benefits including helping us to recall past memories and work through tough emotions. Plus it’s sometimes kept as a record for our children and grandchildren to read in the future.

Of course this type of journal can be done with pen and paper, but many people are using private blogs and email accounts now to keep a record of their life events. 

Stream of Consciousness Journal:

I first discovered this idea while reading Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down The Bones”, but Julia Cameron is also a big advocate for it in her book “The Artist’s Way”.

As soon as you wake up, grab a pen and paper, set a timer for 10 minutes, and then write down your “first thoughts” or your stream of consciousness. You are not allowed to stop moving your pen until the timer is up. Your first few thoughts will mostly likely be, “I am so tired. I have so much to do today. I don’t know what to write.” But as you continue writing, your thoughts can take a unique and sometimes profound path. 

This journaling method is simple in theory, but it can be slightly uncomfortable when you start out, so you have to stick with it until it becomes easier. 

Both Natalie and Julia claim that this practice will boost your creativity, and allows you to to free your mind from the mundane.  

different types of journaling methods

Positive Affirmations Journal Method:

Affirmations are beliefs we have about the world and ourselves. Sometimes these beliefs are positive, and sometimes they’re not. By focusing on positive affirmations, we can override our negative beliefs and replace them with positive ones.

Writing down positive affirmations everyday will improve your mood and boost your confidence. The key to making this practice feel meaningful is to develop positive affirmations that are made for you specifically. 

Gratitude Journal:

Keeping a gratitude journal trains your mind you to look for the good things that are happening in your life. If every evening you make it your goal to write down 5 specific things that you’re grateful for from that day, then you’ll automatically be looking for good things that are happening to you. Which will help you cultivate a more positive outlook on life.  

journaling methods

Goals Journal:

You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.  

Rachel Hollis the author of the book “Girl Go Wash Your Face” suggest writing your goals in the present tense form. Normally when writing a goal you would say, “I want to have $50,000 in my savings account”. Instead write down, “I have $50,000 in my savings account.”

Rachel says, “Journaling is a personal process to keep dreams and goals at the top of your mind and in focus. There is so much power in setting your intentions every day. This process gives your subconscious direction on where it’s going rather than just another to-do list.”

If you’re interested in learning more, Rachel has a podcast called RISE and in episode 72 she goes into detail about goal setting and her specific process.

If you’ve never tried journaling before, I suggest that you pick one or two of these methods and give it a try. It might be exactly what you need to help get your thoughts and life in order.

5 Different Journaling Methods


About the author

Candace Groberg

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