When was the last time that you wrote a diary? They’re often passed off as something that only pre-teen girls write in, to gush about their school crushes or complain about their homework in glittery pink gel pen. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but it barely scratches the surface of what journaling is and what it can do for people. In this article, I’m going to explain to you how to write a happiness journal and why this is good for your self-development.
In recent years, the concept of happiness journaling has become ever more prevalent, along with other techniques like mindfulness meditation. Thankfully, self-care has now become a trend, and more people than ever are realizing the benefits of taking time out to reflect on themselves. I firmly believe that everybody should be journaling or keeping a diary in some shape or form, myself included.
In this blog, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at what happiness journals are, and why you should consider starting your own. I will also be taking a look at the general benefits of journaling, and how this beautiful, creative outlet could help you revolutionize your life.
What is a happiness journal?
First things first, what actually is a happiness journal? As this great guide from No Side Bar points out, a happiness journal is a private space where you can express your private thoughts, emotions, and experiences. The overall aim of a happiness journal is (surprise, surprise) to improve your happiness and quality of life overall.
There isn’t a particular way to keep a happiness journal, either- it’s an entirely personal experience. You could have it online, in the format of a blog, or as a word document on your laptop. A traditional diary is fairly common and handy to carry around, but you could also have a normal notebook- it doesn’t have to be fancy at all. Sketchbooks are also quite common if you’re an artistically inclined person.
Generally, happiness journals will feature a lot of the same subject matters but they will be presented in different lights. Of course, people use them to write about their day and reflect on how their journey is going so far. The happiness journal can also be used as a tool for gratitude journaling, where you write down things that you’re thankful for. A good technique to try is habitually writing something down each day that you’re grateful for in particular.
Happiness journals can also feature a number of other subject matters, of course- it’s whatever you wish to write about and whatever makes you happy. If you are struggling for things to write about or journaling ideas, I would recommend looking into something like Pinterest or Tumblr, as there are always lots of great ideas on there to get inspired by.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Now that we’ve seen what a happiness journal is and what it can contain, let’s take a quick look at how it can benefit you to start one and write in it. Most of these benefits also apply to regular journaling too- in general, anything that involves self-reflection, creativity and writing is a great thing to have in your daily routine.
It’s a creative outlet
To start out, one of the main benefits of keeping a happiness journal is that it’s a very creative hobby to have. I firmly believe that everyone is creative in some manner; whether that’s in traditional ways like painting or sewing, or other ways like problem-solving or coding. Almost anything is an art form if you consider it with enough thought, and journaling is no exception in this case.
Having a creative hobby is a great way to relieve stress, focus your mind and sharpen your artistic abilities. This is also a very calming creative hobby to have, so if you’re somebody who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks, this could be a useful tool for you to have.
Journaling can help you become self-reflective
Keeping a journal of any sort can be incredibly useful for building your self-reflection and analysis skills. After all, if you can’t understand your own mind then how will anyone else? Keeping a daily note of what’s on your mind and what’s making you happy is a fantastic use of a happiness journal, and will help you become a much more reflective person. People often use their journals for mood trackers, which is an idea that I personally love.
Journals are great for expressing difficult thoughts
Sometimes, the key to being happy is facing your difficult thoughts and feelings head on, instead of pretending that they don’t exist. This can be tricky, though, especially if your difficult thoughts revolve around a subject that you don’t feel comfortable talking to people about.
This is where happiness journals come in. As I said earlier, happiness journals are an entirely personal endeavor. You can tell your journal everything that you need to get off of your chest, without worrying about being judged or criticized. If you do this, I’m sure you will feel much more in control of your emotions and even happier as well.
Having a journal can help you plan
One of the most widely praised benefits of keeping a journal is that it’s great for helping you plan and organize your life. This is mainly said about a type of journal known as bullet journals, but it’s still true in the case of happiness journals.
Having a dedicated space to write down all of your goals – whether that’s daily tasks or lifetime goals – is a wonderful way to make sure that you’re on track to get to where you want to be. This is why so many people use their journals for checklists and schedules; they’re simply so handy to have with you at all times for writing in. Many people use them as diaries or calendars too. Again, it’s a very personal way of working so it depends on what it is in particular that you would like to be doing with your own journal.
It’s a wonderful memento to have
On more of a personal note, having a daily happiness journal means that you’re constantly being creative and writing down your innermost thoughts. This means that, over time, you’re going to end up with a beautiful piece of art. Journals are always wonderful keepsakes to have in your life, as they can show you how you’ve developed and grown over time. I personally struggle to throw away any sort of sketchbook or diary, and I’m sure that if you keep one of these journals you’ll feel the same!
They’re fun to do
This point is much more simple, but still very important. Keeping a happiness journal can be a lot of fun. It’s an incredibly arty and personal project and can be very enjoyable to put together. As I said earlier, it’s also very calming so it could be very handy if you’re going through a tough situation right now.
If you’re not enjoying doing your happiness journal, I’d take a step back and look at what you’re doing. Try changing your approach, or making it even more personal. It does not have to be perfect by any means- it’s all about making yourself happy.
If you do struggle with motivation or doing your journal every day, I’d suggest looking into the online communities that exist for journaling. They are always very supportive and welcoming, especially if you’re new to the community altogether. Reach out to some fellow creatives, and see if they can help you to stay inspired.
Journaling can help encourage healthy habits
Another great thing about keeping a happiness journal is that it can help you build healthy habits naturally over time. One of these habits is one that we’ve already mentioned- being self-reflective. This is hugely important to have as a skill, as it allows you to progress further as a human and also learn how to regulate your emotions more.
Another habit that happiness journaling can help encourage is healthy eating. Many people use their happiness journals to track food and cooking. Having a visual guide to what you’ve eaten in your week can be very beneficial for keeping yourself on track with your health, and it can be a much easier way to monitor your food if you’re currently on a diet of any kind.
Happiness journals are also very useful for things like water intake. As you probably know, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated to stay happy and healthy. Many people actually use their journals for monitoring their water intake, to keep on top of their hydration. I’m personally a huge fan of how creative this particular use of journaling as a tool is.
Of course, you can use your journal to monitor any habit that you like. Perhaps you’re trying to give up smoking? Maybe you want to go on more runs and walks? Whatever it is, happiness journaling will help you stay on top of it.
Journaling can build creative skills
A final point to look at is that happiness journaling can be very beneficial for building creative skills and artistic abilities. No matter if you’re new to drawing and doodling, or if you’re a seasoned pro, simply dedicating the time to doing something like this on the daily is a perfect way to improve upon your skills over time. It does take time to improve upon skills like these, but seeing as happiness journals are meant to be a daily activity, I’m sure you’ll see the results that you want in no time at all.
If you do struggle with the creative side of journaling, don’t worry too much. It’s meant to be personal, not perfect. There are plenty of helpful resources available online e.g. typography tutorials on Pinterest or watercolor illustration tutorials on YouTube. I’d suggest looking into these regardless- even if you’ve done them before, they are a lot of fun to look at.
To sum up, happiness journals are beneficial for a wide number of reasons. They’re great for helping people express themselves, plan their days and reflect on their personal successes. This style of journaling is wonderfully positive, and I’m sure that you’ll see the benefits of it in no time if you do decide to pick it up.
If you’re still unsure about whether this hobby is something for you, I’d suggest having a look at social media to see what other people are doing with theirs. The creativity shown in the community right now is utterly inspiring, and I’m sure you’ll get motivated by the beautiful journals that other people are creating currently.