Last Monday was a general introduction to journaling. This week we’re heading into the various types of journals that people keep. Some are more popular than others. And the great thing is – you don’t have to keep just one type!
This one sounds like a pretty boring type. It’s not. It’s actually a very exciting journal if you are struggling with weight, relationship to food, allergies, trying to be more mindful of eating, or you’re an aspiring cook. A food journal is not only a way to keep track of what you eat, but it is also a place to write about how you feel about each meal, or your feeling about food that day. My food journal held not only my daily points (I do weight watchers), but when I was struggling with body image, feeling disgusted with my habits, overjoyed with newfound discipline, had a craving, wanted to celebrate my pounds lost, etc, it went in the journal. I also put recipes I wanted to try in there. Then when I made that dish I’d write out if I liked it, what I’d want to change for next time, and all of that. I kept track of my weight in it, too. I wrote out my reasons for wanting to change my habits, and why I was worth loving myself. This is a very underrated and undervalued tool! WebMD has a good article on the research behind keeping a food journal and why it’s a good idea.
Budding writer? Poet? Just want a way to organize your stories or experience writing out by hand on something other than a legal pad? Writer’s Journals offer that opportunity. These can be anything from a three ring binder with tabs for each story, a small journal with pages you enjoy the feel of, to a traditional lined book. Decorate it, sketch characters, write out bios, workout plots, themes, and arches. Composition books are a cheap and easy way to keep a writer’s journal. Here’s part of my personal collection.
Prayer or Spiritual Journey Journal
This is my favorite type of journal because it encompasses so much of our lives and our expression as humans. These journals can be simple or you can get super creative with it.
My mother keeps a prayer journal. I keep a spiritual journal. What’s the difference? A prayer journal is just what it sounds like. It’s for writing out prayers. I used my Bible for YEARS as my prayer journal. It went all over the world with me. It finally wore out to the point the pages began to disintegrated. My prayers were written in the margins, on sticky notes, pages taped in, etc. I finally buried it out of respect. Now days there are actual bibles created just for journaling. Mom uses a traditional journal currently because she filled up her last journaling Bible. My grandmother used steno pads. Some creatives are using actual Bibles and drawing out passages, their feelings and prayers via art. There’s an entire culture springing up on social media. They are beautiful expressions of faith. Journaling Bibles are very popular currently, and there is a reason why. Some even have coloring pages built in for those who do not draw.
Currently, I’m keeping a spiritual journey journal. What’s the difference? A prayer journal is about prayer. A Spiritual journey journal is more about exploring the inner landscape and doing inner work. Jung called this the shadow self, traditional Judaism calls it harnessing the animal self, and Socrates summed it up best when he said ” to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. This journal is about exploring our subconscious and learning how to harness the power of our hidden personality traits to creating a healthier inner world and relationships. It asks tough questions about fear, anger, past attachments, world views, and finding out your core beliefs. This is the journal that holds a mirror up to your face, and sometimes you really don’t like what you see. But then again – that’s what personal development is all about! I typically get a journal from Nepal for this type of journal. I like the handmade paper and hand binding. Below is a photo of my current journal and two past ones. My current reading list is included because the material makes interesting prompts.
Nature journals are the diary for outdoor lovers. They are beautiful. Pressed flowers and leaves, notes and drawings of animals, plants, ecosystems and everything else literally under the nature sun goes into these journals. Observations, questions, patterns, migrations, and weather in the region are recorded in a nature journal. Not only are they interesting, but they give a clear picture over time of the greater world while connecting the writer to something larger.
Wellness/Self Care Journal
These journals are similar to a spiritual journey journal. However, they focus more on subjects such as depression, anxiety, emotional stress, and self love. They are invaluable tools in becoming more resilient and healing wounds. Some people draw and paint in their journals. Some cut out magazine photos and use stickers. Inspiring quotes, struggles, reminders of self worth, and expression of self love go into these masterpieces of raw life. These are intensely private journals. I’ve kept a portion of each spiritual journal dedicated to self love and quotes for years. Just having even a small section dedicated to Wellness has been so helpful. If you are engaging in the journey of mental and emotional wellness, this might be a great journal to keep, and to keep you.
Finally, there is the bullet journal. This has taken YouTube and Pinterest by storm. It’s a great system for planning and executing your day, keeping track of habits, reading lists, or any other kind of list. If you’re a planner and list keeper this is YOUR journal jam. It can even be used in self care. This is a journal you can keep on your phone.
There are more types of journals. These are common categories and themes. Next week we get into the meat (or impossible burger) of journaling for self care. So, please join me next week for a HOW to journal for growth.
Until next time,
I hope you feel the embrace of kindness and Love,
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