Self Love

6 Types Of Journaling Methods To Practice Self-Love (Based On Your Personality)

By Wednesday, March 03, 2021

If you’re apprehensive about journaling, I don’t blame you. Sifting through your inner-dialogues can be uncomfortable, especially for those of us who are masters of avoiding difficult feelings (like feeling guilty). The good news is that journaling can focus on a multitude of experiences: pages upon pages of your daily victories, the divulgence of your biggest insecurities and worries, or simply a record of your day. Journaling and self-love are inherently related. Small moments of putting pen to paper can strengthen your relationship with yourself, build self-esteem, and grow personal insight. All you need to begin is a little bit of curiosity. 

When I first began journaling, I was overwhelmed with where to begin and how to reap the benefits that are touted by online influencers: inner clarity, a sense of peace, amazing overall mental health – you know the schtick. Those benefits are attainable through journaling, but in varying degrees, with time and consistent practice. While the media might make journaling look easy (just put pen to paper and let the self-discovery begin!), there is something to be said for doing your research before initiating any hobby. So let this article be your introductory guide to journaling for self-love. 

Before you begin, it’s crucial to remember that no feelings are inherently “good or bad,” rather they all have an important message and it is through journaling that these messages can be deciphered. Beneath feelings such as overwhelm and irritability could be the need for rest or connection. Or, focusing on pride and gratitude can strengthen these feelings and your well-being. 

Also, you don’t have to have the mysterious-solo-coffee-drinker-in-an-extremely- aesthetic-cafe vibe to begin your journaling practice. You also don’t need to have the most expensive stationery items (but I won’t stop you). You simply need five things:

  1. A notebook or journaling app 
  2. Ten minutes (just to start)
  3. Your favorite writing tool 
  4. A calm atmosphere 
  5. A tentative plan 

Perhaps the most daunting of the five is having a tentative plan. The following types of journaling are beginner-friendly, with options for those who prefer a more structured writing experience or for those who need more flexibility. Whichever type you choose, one of my biggest tips is to set a timer and then begin writing. This makes the practice more focused and manageable. Whichever type of journaling you choose, remember the mere act of sitting down with yourself and reflecting on your life is an act of self-love. 

Prompts

For a structured and prescribed approach, following journaling prompts can be helpful for those who want a specific topic or direction. A simple Google search for “journaling prompts” begets endless websites with prompts for all topics. For example, if you want to focus on releasing feelings of stress or worry, you could use the following prompt…

Lists

Yes, list-making and planning can be a type of journaling! Particularly useful for those who lead busy lives or have scattered thoughts, making a list can soothe that inner chaos and help to prioritize the important stuff. Types of lists could be things you’re grateful for, brainstorming personal goals, or even mini-agendas. The simplicity and symmetry of this type of journaling is utterly satisfying if you ask me. 

Quick Check-Ins

A speedy but important type of journaling, check-ins serve to swifty take the temperature of your mood, emotions, and overall needs. It can be a good practice to look back on these journal entries to assess how you’re doing with boundaries, self-care, quality sleep, etc. 

Brain Dumps

This type of journaling is my personal fav, because it helps to siphon off built up emotions and encourages catharsis. Also called “stream of consciousness writing,” the key is to not overthink it and to just. write. (please enjoy my inner dialogue)…

Letters

Write a letter to yourself, to someone in your life (with the intention of them reading it or not), or even to an inanimate object. Letter-writing can be useful for those who might have unfinished business with someone, as a means to express gratitude, or as a way to practice saying something before you have a conversation. In the realm of self-love, there is nothing more cheesy and rewarding than writing a love letter to yourself…

Collages

This option requires more time and creativity but is a great outlet for inspiration. I would say that bullet-journaling and doodling also fall into this category if you are so aesthetically-inclined. I like to use the free version of Canva to create vision boards. Featured below is my most recent relaxation-themed vision board to inspire me during time off work.  Nothing fancy, but very fun!

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While there are many more types of journaling out there, consider this your starter-pack. Following your intuition is the key to building a long-lasting practice of self-love, so choose a type of journaling that feels most natural. It’s not about spelling, grammar, or a perfectly polished final entry (I’ll admit, I did try a little harder for the entries above), but rather about trusting the process and remembering that the only rule to journaling is that there are no rules. 

A final note on self-love

In today’s world, our attention is externally-focused, pulled in multiple directions with very little time for inner reprieve. By carving out time to draw your attention inward, you nurture a more authentic relationship with yourself and gain a deeper understanding of your wants and needs. It’s far too societally-accepted to sacrifice your well-being. It’s far too common to put yourself second and your responsibilities and social relationships first. As you may have noticed, I didn’t specifically define self-love in this piece because it means something different to everyone. For me, it means setting boundaries and listening to my body when I need to rest. For others, it could mean prioritizing hobbies and goals. Writing is a way to refine your definition of self-love and have accountability for making loving choices for yourself. At the end of the day the most important relationship you will have is with yourself, so take that ten minutes and get to know yourself a little better. 

Skylar is a mental health counselor who talks about self-care as the foundation of a prosperous life.

Image via Unsplash

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