How to Write a Journal: The Powerful Habit to Greater Happiness, Health & Brainpower

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.– E.L. Doctorow

Aretha Franklin, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Harry S. Truman, Marcus Aurelius, George Bernard Shaw, Maya Angelou and Snooki all kept journals.

But you don’t have to be creative, politician, scientist or a professional wrestler for this practice to be worthwhile.

Regularly putting your thoughts and experiences into writing has some tremendous benefits regardless of what you do.

How so? Let me show you. 🙂

The Benefits of Journaling

There are tons and tons of benefits to keeping a journal and many of them have been scientifically proven. To give you an idea of possible improvements, check out this non-exhaustive list of examples:

How to Write a Journal

Those are some pretty sweet benefits, I know. 🙂 So how do you get started with your own journal?

1. Start small – Don’t make a huge commitment to this thing. Simply try it out for one month. Spend 5- 10 minutes a day reflecting in your journal. When the 30 days are up go back and review what you’ve learned and the progress you’ve made. Then you can decide if you want to continue journaling.

2. Pick a time – Aim for 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to do your journaling, ideally the same time every day.

3. Create a reminder – If you want to journal before leaving work, set an alarm and spend a couple of minutes writing before heading home. If you want to write before going to sleep, put your diary and pen next to your bed.

4. Find your medium – Some people prefer regular physical books and others the electronic versions. If you with a physical book I suggest you get one you really like and a pen you enjoy writing with to help stick to the habit. If you prefer software there are plenty of versions to choose from like Penzu, Day One & RedNotebook. A regular word document or google document will do the trick as well. Go with whatever suits you best that is easy to keep.

5. Refresh and reflect – As you get down to the actual writing, give yourself a minute or two to relax and clear your mind. See what stands out that you want to capture. Then get to it.

What to Write About

What you write about is completely up to you. This is time you take for yourself and you should be to focusing on what feels right to you personally. If you’re not sure here to start here are a couple of examples of what you could write about:

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
 – Anaïs Nin (Tweet that)


    1. Expressive writing can increase working memory capacity
    2. Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing
    3. Keeping A Food Diary Doubles Diet Weight Loss, Study Suggests 
    4. Writing to heal
    5. How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves

2nd image courtesy of aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you know anyone who could benefit from this article? I’ll love you forever if you share the knowledge with him or her. 🙂