Journaling as a Tool to a Mindful Life

My pretty journals AKA my babies

Before I obsessively try to convince you to start journaling every day, let’s talk about what journaling even means. I used to hear all about journaling, and it always made me feel extremely overwhelmed. What are you supposed to write? Is it like one of those “Dear Diary” situations? I have notebooks dating back to 2016, where I would attempt to write, but I realized I would mainly use them only when I was feeling sad. Journaling, for me, was one of those things that would always make me feel better about whatever emotion I was going through, but I still wouldn’t take the time to add it to my daily routine.

That was until I heard Jay Shetty’s podcast, where Liz Plosser, the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health, shared her tips on how to start a journaling practice. I recommend watching the whole episode, but in short, Liz shared that journaling also felt like another hectic task to add to her already busy life, so she approached journaling differently. She tells herself to write at least two sentences, and if she doesn’t have anything else to say, she leaves it at that. This idea completely changed my perspective on journaling.

I have been consistently(somewhat) journaling since November 2021, and adding this practice to my daily routine has improved my quality of life. It may sound dramatic, but it has. To decompress after a long day or to write about three things I am grateful for, journaling has served as my checking point to tune in with my thoughts, emotions, and overall well-being. Here I wanted to share some tips and tricks that have been extremely helpful in adapting this practice into my life.

Journaling 101

Daily Summary

Every day is different for me. I start by reflecting on the day, very much like a diary. I write about what I did, what I ate, and how I felt. I tend to journal right before bed, but I started journaling first thing in the morning and before going to sleep. I recommend sticking with a time you can commit to without overwhelming yourself. I always end my journal entries with what I am grateful for. The goal is to make this time about you and to write about whatever you feel like writing. It’s okay if some days nothing comes to mind and you write “Hi and Bye” the goal is to create a space for yourself to check-in. We are so used to living on auto-pilot and letting the days get by but tuning in to what’s going on inside is essential for our mental health; it’s a way to practice mindfulness and stay present.

Journal Prompts

Many journals come with prompts. These prompts can be helpful for beginners; that way, there’s daily guidance on what to write. One I recommend is The Five Minute Journal by Intelligent Change. There are also many free blogs and websites with journal prompts for different themes. Simply grab any notebook or paper and journal away.


Just like any hobby, it’s okay to miss a day, a week, or even a month as long as you try again. The goal is not to add more stress o judgment into your life. There are a few things that I do to keep myself accountable. One of the most wholesome and effective ones for me is checking in with my friends. I started texting my friend a few emojis as a way to check in right after journaling. This technique not only reminds the other person to journal but also serves as a way to stay in touch with friends that live far away or whom I don’t see often. I recommend committing to this practice with your partner, friend, or sibling to help with accountability.

Another way to stay accountable is by setting up a reminder or an alarm. If you’re more on the techy side, maybe an app or website would work better for you. Here’s a website with some options that might help.

Final Thoughts

There is no right or wrong way to go about journaling. The purpose is to make this practice whatever your body needs at the time. It’s okay to write about sad and challenging times, but we also want to honor those happy or dull days. The biggest takeaway from this practice is that the healing journey is not linear. I’ve had a crazy year full of changes, and going back to entries from months ago has been therapeutic. I laugh or sometimes cry, but most of all, I feel empowered to see the growth and commitment.

I hope this inspires you to give journaling a try. I promise you will not regret it. If anyone is interested, here’s the link to my favorite journal notebooks.

2 thoughts on “Journaling as a Tool to a Mindful Life

  1. Yup! I think that’s why I’ve stuck to my daily journalling habit for years too—giving myself the permission to just write one crappy sentence. Now that I’ve built the habit, it’s hard to miss, and I don’t even think about it. I just do. I might just check out that podcast. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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