Ideas for Journaling

3 Tips on Ideas for Journaling

Are you struggling to come up with ideas for journaling? Journaling can be a big, scary word for many people. There are lots of reasons for that.

One reason is that we think it requires a huge time commitment. Who needs another one of those in their lives? Not me!

The idea of having your thoughts written down on paper can elicit a lot of fear also. As a psychotherapist, I have had many clients with traumatic experiences of their journals being read when they were children and some even as adults, so I recommend finding a good place to hide it.

Ideas for Journaling and the Number One Rule for Journaling

So, here are the rules for journaling. The NUMBER ONE RULE for journaling is that there are NO RULES for journaling. Now, let that sink in for a minute.

That means that you can journal for two minutes or however long you want. That can allow you to let go of that fear that journaling has to be a huge time commitment!

You can create some rules after you’ve been journaling for quite some time, but then it can become a chore. I know I don’t like chores, so I don’t want to create anything to feel like a chore. Not only that, but I also just don’t like rules and have rarely followed them throughout my life.

At the same time, I know not everybody is like me. You may find that some rules or guidelines are beneficial for you. I just strongly recommend not making any rules until you have gotten into the swing of things with journaling for at least a few months.

If you are struggling with ideas for journaling, you are not alone. Just sitting down and writing whatever comes to your mind can be daunting. That’s probably why there are so many prompts for journaling out there.

Mindful Journaling

Mindful journaling can seem like a great idea, but you just might not have a clue what that would even entail. Reminder number two: there are no rules for journaling, this includes mindful journaling!

Just the word mindfulness can elicit lots of different feelings. For many, mindfulness might sound like a great idea.

However, at the same time, you might struggle to determine how to do be mindful. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to what you are doing, focusing on that task.

So, if the task is journaling, then you are participating in mindful journaling. You don’t even have to use proper punctuation or grammar.

That can be exciting for me. As much as I like all that proper stuff in speaking and writing, free writing is more my style when doing mindfulness journaling.

When I’m doing that, I can just let my mind go to town. Whatever pops into my head, I just write it down. My husband edits all of these posts that you are reading.

If you asked him, he would probably tell you that, before he edits my posts, it often looks like I’m practicing mindfulness journaling. (Husband says that he wishes he could edit even more, but Wife doesn’t want him making these posts as formal as his writing style would inevitably make them.)

I am passionate about what I write. So, my Type B personality can really benefit me in mindful journaling. I just start writing until I’ve written all that I have in my head, although that’s not the greatest thing when others are going to read it. Thankfully, my husband jumps in so that you can actually follow what I’m writing!

3 Ideas for Journaling that are Easy

If you’re the opposite of me and your personality falls more under Type A, I’ll give you some ideas for journaling. It’s important to understand that journaling does not always have to be about deep thoughts. You can sit and write about anything.

  1. Colors are a good place to start if you are new to journaling. Just write down a list of all of your favorite colors and your favorite things that are those colors. If you want, you can do the same for colors you don’t like.
  2. Laughter can be so healing. So, why not add that to your journaling? Click here to read my post about Healing with Laughter to see how that can benefit you. For you to apply laughter to journaling, simply start jotting down all the things that make you laugh.
  3. Let’s use colors again for journaling. Write down a list of all the main people in your life. Once you have that list, write down whatever color you might associate with each person. Don’t spin your wheels for long thinking about each person and color. Go with your instinct. Whatever color pops into your head. Go with that!

Reflective Journaling

If you have followed the steps above then you now have material to use for some reflective journaling. Go back to your list of colors and your favorite things for each color.

Let your mind flow and write about why you like each color. How does that color make you feel? How is that color used in your life?

What memories do you have attached to that color? Are they positive or negative and why?

Look at your laughter list. Write about memories you have from each item in your list. I enjoy doing this because it really shifts my energy if I’m feeling down.

Sometimes, this even brings me a good ‘ol belly laugh and warms my heart. It can do the same for you!

Relationships supply us with endless journaling opportunities. We all have struggles with relationships with others. Hopefully, we also have a few people with whom we have good relationships.

There’s a reason the relationships suggestion was last. The word “relationships” can trigger a lot of people, both good and not so good.

That’s because it is one of the most important things in our lives. Having connections with others is an innate human need. Not only that, it’s impossible to avoid relationships.

Once you have your journaling of the relationships in your life and the colors associated with each person, you now have tons of reflective journaling you can do. Take one person and his or her color.

Just start writing any thoughts or feelings connected to that. If you need a little more guidance to begin, write about why you chose that color for that person.

Mindfulness Journaling

Here’s reminder number three: there are no rules for journaling. Since there are no rules, there is no way you can do it wrong. So, you can put aside your Not Good Enough Stuff.

 Rest easily knowing that you are good enough to journal because there’s no right way, better way or good enough way to do it! If you’re curious about what I mean by Not Good Enough Stuff, click here to read about it.

If you just pick up a pen, pencil, crayon or whatever you choose to write with and you write ANYTHING, you are practicing mindfulness journaling. Also, you need to know that there are no dumb ideas for journaling. If you want to write about it, then it’s important to you.

There’s a reason it’s on your mind, so just let it come out. Judging what you journal about is pointless. Are you already thinking, “Here she comes again with another reminder?”

Well, you are correct! Reminder number four: there are no rules for journaling. So, you can tell that inner critic to sit down because there is only one available chair in journaling, and you are occupying it!

Logistics of Journaling

Research shows that there are some advantages to actually writing versus typing when journaling. Research bores me, so feel free to google some articles on that if you’re interested. However, in the technology-driven world we live in, we always have access to some device that we could use for journaling.

Not only that, but there are apps out there that could allow you to protect your journaling if you relate to what I mentioned at the beginning and have a fear that somebody might stumble across your journal.

For those of you who prefer to write with a pen or whatever, there are still ways to keep others from reading it. You can use technology to scan or take pictures of your journaling, then use an app with a password to hide it. Here’s an app that I like that protects your journaling adventures, Diary with Password. 

One of my favorite things to do with journaling is to introduce the beautiful element of fire. As a psychotherapist, I have often gone outside with a client as we safely burn what they have written.

There’s just something magical about burning your writing. Journaling doesn’t have to be about keeping the journal. We just need to get the stuff out of our heads! So, if this appeals to you, find a safe way to do it.

As you watch it burn, think about what was written and that you are releasing that to go above and out of your mind and body. For me, there’s something healing about burning. It’s a physical action to release my thoughts, fears, emotions or whatever I wrote about.

Mindful Journaling

Now, to bring back that word “mindful” again. If you burn your journal writings, that is a mindful practice. You are obviously paying attention to the fire for safety reasons, which means you are being mindful by paying attention to the task you are performing.

Taking it a step further, your mindfulness practice can go deeper by thinking about the words you wrote and how the fire is releasing them as I mentioned. If you do this, then guess what! You now have another experience about which you can journal.

I want to bring technology back again for a minute. Most of us are attached to our phones throughout the day. We all have a way to record voice memos. Use this to your advantage to record ideas for journaling that pop up throughout your day.

For example, if you are walking to your car after work and you see something that brings up some feelings, take 10 seconds to record what you saw. If you saw a redbird and it made you think of your grandfather who loved redbirds, record that. You can simply say, “Redbirds and grandpa.”

So, the next time you sit down to journal, you can listen to voice memos and have a plethora of ideas for journaling. This can be about positive things or things that are not as positive, as both are beneficial to journal.

Wrapping up this post, I hope you feel a little more at ease when considering journaling. Hopefully, you found the ideas for journaling helpful. Just in case you’ve forgotten the number one rule in journaling, I’ll close with that. Reminder number five: THERE ARE NO RULES FOR JOURNALING!

As always, comment your thoughts, questions, ideas or experiences with journaling. You just might inspire somebody else with your own ideas for journaling!


This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.

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