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The Power of Journaling

Generosity of Mind

‘Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic’

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. One of my earliest memories is of a tiny little diary with a golden padlock and miniature key that I would hide under my pillow. I would write and write, filling up book after book. I did this throughout my childhood and teenage years, until I had a box full of journals and diaries.

I took a GAP year to travel before University and before I left to backpack through Europe, I had a huge clear out. Eighteen-year-old me, found my childhood and teenage diaries and journals and shuddered at their very existence. I remember delving into the pages of a few and wincing at myself – I threw them all out. Every last one. I can’t remember what was written in those pages but I can imagine tales of school crushes, teenage dramas with friends and family fall outs … I am sure written with a lot of passion and teenage angst!!! Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t thrown them all away and I could read them again now as a thirty (and a smidge!) year old- embarrassing or not- they were a part of me.

While the box of old journals is long gone. My love of writing and journaling has never stopped. I have gone through countless journals since. Sometimes, I write every day and sometimes it drifts to every now and then. When I started this blog, part of my motivation was to become more disciplined and write with more regularity. I always dreamed of calling myself a writer, and I don’t think I am there yet – or if I ever will be? But one thing I am not in doubt of is; I love words, I love writing and I love journaling.

My journals are full of thoughts, dreams, wishes, pain, and little pieces of me that I have often hidden from the world, and even myself. Looking back, I have always used writing to help me process- even within those childhood and teenage diaries! Writing helps me make sense of, and organise the thoughts in my mind. I write to no one and to everyone, and when I think I don’t have the answer to something, it will form, like magic, on the page in front of me.

‘Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic’

Journals, like books really give our minds the chance to be totally free. We can explore our thoughts and feelings and create a totally safe and unjudgmental space of our own. Journaling has taught me how to slow down, and how to take a deep breath. It can be done anywhere by anyone, and that’s what makes it so powerful.

If you look around your house, right now, this second… could you find an untouched notebook or journal? I know I could (but that is mostly because I have a slight addiction!).

But, now is the time to put that untouched and unopened journal to good use… so go and get it! Inspired by Happiful Magazine and their promotion of journaling as a way of improving your mental health, I want to introduce you to five different ways of journaling, and then it is up to you to experiment with an empty notebook to find out what works best for you. It’s time to put pen to paper and discover if journaling maybe the creative and emotional outlet you have been missing.

Five Types of Journaling

  • Bullet Journal

I have written about Bullet Journaling in a previous blog (link below) and I have found it to be an amazing way to encourage productivity, organisation and motivation.

Bullet journaling is a form of organisation that was invented by Ryder Carroll in 2013. Instead of having separate lists of things all over the house or on your phone- a bullet journal collates all this information in one notebook in an organised way. It is effectively a planner, a to-do list, and a diary all in one. You can document anything at all; daily task lists, weekly food shopping, books you want to read, exercise goals, meetings etc etc. It is a very practical journal, but you can let your creative mind run free when creating your pages, so it has the potential of bringing together both sides of your mind. For endless inspiration, search #bujo and #bulletjournals on Instagram and do not get intimidated by the ‘perfect’ journals and instead see the possibilities this method could offer you.

  • Junk Journal

A junk journal is the perfect place to keep all those small bits and pieces that you’re keeping stashed around your home – such as tickets, receipts, photos, labels, and other memories. If an item is double-sided or something that you might want to pull out and look at, simply glue an envelope into your junk journal and place the item inside the envelope for safe keeping. This journal is great if you need to declutter and curate a book of memories. It also works nicely as a gift for friends and families to mark a memorable day or event, like a wedding!

  • Vision Journal

Vision boards are fairly common, but have you ever heard of a vision book? Our dreams and desires can change throughout our lives, and sometimes we have more than one vision at one time. It is so easy when you are feeling stressed or deflated to focus on things you haven’t achieved, and then become low and despondent with what is lacking in our lives. Vision journaling can help focus these thoughts in a creative and positive way. Pulling together our dreams, wishes, and ambitions with photos, pictures, articles, mind maps and stories in a vision book can be enough to inspire and make you feel grounded again.

  • Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal can be a great way to encourage positive and helpful thoughts, particularly when struggling with low mood or anxiety. An easy way to start, is to write down one thing each day that you are grateful for. It can be big or small. A gratitude journal encourages you to write down a daily note expressing positivity, putting any intrusive and negative thoughts to one side. A really useful gratitude exercise is writing the letters of the alphabet, and then writing something that you are grateful for beginning with each letter.

  • Guided Journal

Guided journals are fantastic, especially for journaling beginners. Guided journals do just as the name suggests and guide you through your writing. They do this with questions and prompts, colouring, exercises, activities and inspiration. Two of my favourite guided journals this year have been Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and The Wellbeing Journal by Mind Charity.


There are many ways to use journaling in a positive and helpful way, you just have to find the way that works for you. From writing lists to doodling, keeping a daily journal, to bullet journaling, the next time you come across an empty notebook, pick it up and dive in – you might be surprised at what you discover about yourself!


love Em-Gem xxx

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1 Comment

  1. Thumbs up. Intriguing.

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