15 Journaling Ideas for Self-Discovery, Healing, and Fun

15 Journaling Ideas for Self-Discovery, Healing, and Fun

We’ve heard it a million times: the most important relationship in our life is the one with ourselves. Yet, in our busy lives, we typically don’t have (or make) the time to connect with our inner self, check in and give it some love.

Ever since I was a teenager, I found solace and healing in journaling. By using images along with writing, I was able to access and work through deeper personal information. Getting to know myself and tapping into my own inner wisdom that way helped me like myself more. I became more at ease with myself. Additionally, setting time aside to journal and be with myself was (and is) empowering on its own.

It didn’t come easy, to be honest. I used to feel very self-conscious about my artistic skills. I stumbled upon many inner excuses to avoid picking up a Sharpie or to pick up the scissors. I worried about “wasting” materials. “If I am not a master artist, why would I waste art materials?” was a limiting belief I encountered and worked through within myself. How do master artists get there? By “wasting” materials as they practice! Plus, I wasn’t trying to be a master artist; I just needed a tool to deepen my connection with myself and have fun at the same time. As I kept at it and stopped judging (attaching value) my journal pages, I began having fun with it. Joy is like a soothing, healing balm for our inner wounds. It is the way our souls recharge.

You will find ideas for integrating imagery into your journaling process in the list below. Get a big journal, print this list and glue it on the first two pages. As you feel called by your inner self for some ICT (Intimate Connection Time), grab your journal and let these prompts inspire you. Use them as a gateway into your core being and as a kindle to ignite your creative power.

Here we go!

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1. Journal about things that gave you immense joy as a child.

Use a copy of a favorite picture from your childhood to represent yourself and embellish the page according to his/her desire. (Hint: You can use this prompt as a welcome ceremony to your inner child).

2. Find an image in a magazine that reflects your current emotional status.

Then cut it out, and paste it on a blank journal page. Intently, be with this image for a few minutes and then let words flow onto the page without editing them. You can write two sentences or two pages. Just let it out. Let the image speak to you. You may be surprised at how much lighter you will feel.
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3. Pick a favorite inspirational quote and design a journal page around it.

Write about the wisdom this quote awakens in you and how applies to your life. Why is it important for you at this time?

4. Think about someone who inspires you.

What characteristics of that person make him/her so inspirational? Do you see any overlapping qualities between you and this person? Use those characteristics to inspire your journal page.

5. Journal about a high school heartbreak you had.

Make it fun, colorful and creative to celebrate a right-of-passage experience you had. Note how this relationship helped you grow.

6. Take your journal to a park and document what you see.

Write it, draw it, or paint it. Enjoy being the non-reactive observer.

7. If you had one superpower what would it be?

Journal about what kind of things you would do this power, or why you think you are drawn to it.

8. Rituals are a huge part of our lives.

Some people like to take a hot bath before going to bed, some like to light a candle and sip wine after a long day’s work, and some read poetry on the way home from work on the bus. Journal about some of your favorite rituals in life.

9. Find the lyrics to a song that is attached to a good memory in your life.

Create a page about it. Revisit the memory. Dwell in the positive feelings this memory awakens in you.

10. Journal about your unhealthy habits.

Use your blank journal page as an accepting, unconditionally loving space holder for who you are—even with these habits. Use this exercise to release the guilt you might feel for having them. Acknowledge your humanness. Write yourself a permission slip that lets you continue these habits until you are ready to trade them in for an upgrade.

11. Take ten minutes to sit with the thought, “What am I most looking forward to in my life?”

Then journal about it. Don’t try to make it realistic according to where you are in life right now. Use it to add a little more juice to your manifesting.

12. Fill your art journal page with all the negative things a caregiver or a parent said to you.

Such as, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be anybody special.” Then paint over the words (cover them in a way that you desire) until they’re not visible. Then write what is true about you instead.

13. Journal about a secret you have with yourself (that you have not told anyone).

Write or journal about it visually. This will help reduce its charge over you and gain some insights into it.

14. Imagine a perfect date with a romantic partner (that you have or wish to have).

Write it in detail. See if there are elements in this fantasy date that can give you clues as to what your inner being desires and how else you might get these needs met. For example, if going camping and skinny dipping at a secluded beach is a part of your fantasy date, it might inspire you to plan a mini camping trip with a friend. Or you might realize that you haven’t done anything adventurous in a long time.

15. Open up a fresh page and write,”My favorite things in life.”

This last one is especially helpful if you are going through a rough, somewhat hopeless and dry period in your life.This will be a running list that you keep adding to. So leave 2–3 pages following that one blank—even if you start another entry soon after. You may feel uninspired at first but trust me on this one: it will become a fun exercise.

There you have it! Feel free to add to this list as you feel inspired. If you are having a hard time getting started, invite a few close friends over for a potluck and integrate visual journaling into your hangout time.

Consistent connection with our inner self allows life to flow more freely. When we are not emotionally or creatively congested, we are more able to hear the intuitive guidance we receive and act on our soul’s instructions as we hear them. That’s when living becomes more fun.

Happy journaling!

Featured photo credit: 2/365 Days Pen and Paper by Athena via flickr.com

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When we talk about journaling here, we’re talking about one of those old-school journals made of paper in which you write with a pen, pencil, or assortment of coloured markers. Many of us have grown accustomed to communicating solely through text, but keeping a paper-based journal is actually very nurturing to the soul, and can be a long-term record of your thoughts and emotions far after your computer has died and your Cloud storage has been compromised.

There are numerous benefits to journaling that go far beyond greater hand-eye coordination and improved penmanship. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

1. Stress Release

In our hectic daily lives, it seems as though we’re constantly in motion. From the moment we wake to the moment we fall asleep, life is a huge flurry of activity: personal care, commuting to work, dealing with the job, commuting home, cooking, cleaning, family time, lather/rinse/repeat.

Dedicating a few minutes each day to sitting down and writing in your journal—even if it’s just half a page or so—allows you to be entirely in the moment as you collect your thoughts and commit them to paper. When you write something out by hand, your breathing automatically slows and regulates itself, you’re forced to be quite still so your pen doesn’t skid all over the place, and your thoughts aren’t allowed to wander away from the task at hand. You might be amazed at what a few minutes of stillness can do to alleviate your stress levels and help your overall sense of well-being.

2. Idea Catcher and Inspiration Notebook

Brilliant ideas and moments of inspiration tend to come out of nowhere, and if we don’t write them down when they arise, we run the risk of forgetting about them. If you keep a journal with you at all times, you can jot down these ideas as they spring up—even if it’s just a sentence or drawing that captures the essence of what popped into your head.

Keeping the journal by your bed at night is also perfect for the ideas or images that may appear in your dreams. Socrates, Hildegard von Bingen, Michelangelo, Dali, and Charlotte Bronte are just a few famous people whose works were inspired by dreams; who knows what yours might manifest as if you manage to keep track of them?
3. It’s a Judgment-Free Zone

You can write whatever you like, and no-one is going to judge you for it. This is a sacred space for you to pour our your deepest, darkest secrets, woes, fears, joys, and more, safe in the knowledge that it’s all absolutely okay. Getting it all out on paper might even bring some clarity and focus to things that have been bothering you, thus allowing you to work through them. You might come to major epiphanies, or even just gather the strength to approach others with things that may need to be acknowledged aloud.

4. You Can “Scream” in Text, and Nobody Needs to Hear You

A journal can be the ideal place to vent all the frustrations that you’re forced to hold back from yelling about for the sake of others. Is your boss driving you insane? Write down the idiotic things they did to irk you today, and then slam the book shut. Did your kids do something truly reprehensible, but you had to play the part of the tolerant, patient parent and not rip their hair out? Write it all down: it’ll be great material to remind them of when they have kids of their own.

Putting all of this down on paper is immensely cathartic, as it gives you the opportunity to let out all of your negative, and thus let it go.

5. Uninhibited Creativity

Remember that a journal doesn’t have to be solely comprised of words written on paper: a journal can also include collages, drawings, mini paintings, and more. Instead of a standard paper-based journal, you can use a heavy-duty scrapbook and add in all manner of things that you find interesting.

Photo by Frances, via Flickr
6. It Can Help You Achieve a Goal

Do you have a project or goal that you’d like to pursue, but are having trouble moving towards it? A journal can be an invaluable friend that can help motivate you and keep you on track. Whether your goal is to change careers, redecorate your house, run a half marathon, or write a novel, dedicate a large notebook to it and write in it whenever the whim strikes you. Write down your moments of doubt as well as your mini successes: did you manage to write a thousand words today? Excellent! Make note of how you managed to focus, and how great you felt. Did you strike out with sending out resumes and letters of inquiry? Reassure yourself that things will be better tomorrow, and that the only way to fail is not to try at all.

You can even skip ahead several pages and write random notes of encouragement to yourself—it might boost your spirits when you’re having an off day and you open a page that begins with “I believe in ME”, or a similar affirmation.

7. Appreciation of Silence, and Authenticity

When you write in your journal, make sure that you’re doing so without distractions such as TV, radio, Netflix, or some raging death metal MP3s in the background. Many people are uncomfortable in silence, but it’s in silent stillness that we’re forced to be truly honest with ourselves… and in turn, our journaling will be more authentic as a result.

Before you put pen to paper, take a few deep breaths and just sit in the silence. Then, let your thoughts move freely from mind to journal: you may be surprised at what forms there.

Write more because: 5 Benefits of Writing: Why You Should Write Every Day

Featured photo credit: beautiful young woman with note at outdoor via Shutterstock
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Lana Winter-Hébert
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15 Journaling Ideas for Self-Discovery, Healing, and Fun

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