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Journaling has been on the rise in recent years, and Apple’s introduction of its new journaling app is boosting its popularity even further. With the announcement of iOS 17 this summer, Apple revealed its plans to make the iPhone more “personal and intuitive.” Part of that mission includes a new app called Journal that seems likely to reinforce the increasing popularity of self-reflection and mindfulness habits. 

According to Apple, Journal’s prompts are “intelligently curated from recent activity, including photos, people, places, workouts, and more.” Journaling prompts can be scheduled, and the app can be locked so no one can see what you’ve written. 

While some are excited about Journal, others are rejecting its use of AI and “on-device machine learning.” Either way, the widespread interest makes it clear that the vast majority are in agreement on the habit’s benefits. Journaling has the capability to promote mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. It provides an outlet for expressing emotions and processing thoughts, therefore reducing stress. Regular journaling can help improve cognitive clarity and self-awareness, leading to improved emotional regulation and coping skills.

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By writing about experiences, challenges, and goals, you can better understand yourself and your aspirations, inevitably fostering personal growth and self-improvement. Many also trace regular journaling to improvements in their sense of gratitude. By recording positive moments, daily blessings, or even just taking time to unpack in-the-moment thoughts, journaling can cultivate a more positive outlook and help you appreciate the present.

The mental health benefits of journaling can have long-term impacts. For some, journaling serves as a therapeutic tool, complementing formal therapy or counseling. It is also an outlet for processing trauma, and can aid in healing from emotional wounds and working through complex emotions. Additionally, journaling provides a private escape from the demands of daily life, offering a space for self-expression without judgment.

Journaling can also benefit your mind beyond your emotional state. Keeping a journal stimulates creativity by encouraging you to explore your imagination, cultivate ideas, and experiment with your writing style. Writers, artists, and creatives often use journals as a tool for inspiration and brainstorming. Below, we break down the many uses that people have for journaling, as well as some of the most popular journaling resources that are out there right now.

Types of Journaling 

Journaling is a versatile practice. There are five basic types of journaling, and each one speaks to different preferences and needs. 

Personal journaling is the most common form of journaling, and it’s as simple as writing about your daily experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It serves as a private space to express feelings and reflections without fear of judgment.

Gratitude journaling involves documenting things that you’re grateful for, which is proven to help foster a more positive mindset and can improve overall well-being. Whether it’s through writing, drawing, or using digital tools, the act of recording gratitude helps make positive experiences and emotions more tangible to us.

Bullet journaling is a highly customizable form of journaling that combines writing with symbols, bullet points, and short notes to track goals, tasks, events, and habits. This type of journaling is perfect for people who enjoy crafts because color schemes and the appearance of your journal can be tailored to you. 

Stream-of-consciousness journaling is commonly known as “brain dumping.” It involves writing continuously without filtering or organizing your thoughts, allowing for free, unfiltered expression that often leaves you feeling lighter when you’re done.

Reflective journaling might is the habit’s most “formal” type. Often used in professional settings, reflective journaling involves thinking critically and analyzing certain experiences to help you gain insight, enhance learning, and better your performance.

Remember, there are no strict rules or limitations to journaling. People often mix and match these types according to their own personal interests and the way they prefer to express themselves – the goal is simply to journal in a way that most benefits you.

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Journaling Resources 

Due to the popularity of journaling, there are many resources available to help people find the most effective journaling method.

The Five Minute Journal is one of the most long-standing paper journal options. It boasts simple journaling that requires as little as five minutes a day and specifies tangible mental health benefits. The physical and app versions are both wildly popular, and it even comes in a variety of colors.

Zen As F*ck: a Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t is a much less traditional journaling option created by Monica Sweeney. If you’re hoping for some humor in your journaling, this paper option is likely to speak to you. 

Wreck This Journal is another less-than-traditional option. Written by author and illustrator Keri Smith, this journal is for people who are notorious for not being able to finish a journal. The subversive challenges introduce readers to a whole new method of journaling, hopefully overcoming any fear of blank journaling pages. 

Day One Journal: Private Diary has been one of the most popular journaling apps since it was released in 2011. It has a huge range of features, including journaling templates, the addition of metadata, optional prompts, and the option to add visuals. 

Daylio Journal – Daily Diary is an easy-to-use diary and mood-tracking app. This app is perfect for non-writers because the journaling can be short and sweet, even though you can add notes when you like. Daylio also allows you to track certain things in your life, like activities, sleep, food, and chores. 

Penzu is a straightforward journaling app. It has a simple interface, and it keeps all your journal entries together in one place. It offers unlimited journaling, locks and encryptions, and free syncing across the Penzu cloud.

Journaling is an increasingly popular addition to people’s daily routines, and many who journal regularly advocate for its mental health and wellness benefits. iOS 17 won’t be launched until September, but there’s no better time than now to get in the habit before the app makes it even more popular.

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