Skip to Content

3 Ways to Start — and Stick With — a Journaling Practice

How to Start Journaling

Click to play audio. Listening time: 2 minutes

Study after study shows that writing down your thoughts and feelings can improve both your mental and physical health. If you’ve never tried journaling before — or you’ve tried and have had trouble keeping at it — here are some tips for making this beneficial practice part of your routine.

  • Make Your Journal a Judgment-Free Zone

    Sometimes, what you’re thinking and feeling can seem overwhelming. But getting everything down on paper — or on your computer — is what helps you understand the full range of your needs and figure out how to begin having them met. So let your thoughts flow and write it all down.

  • Choose a Method That Works for You

    If the idea of having to write every day makes you feel anxious, consider journaling just once a week or taking the weekends off. If words don’t come easily, or if you find yourself confined by lines on a page, a visual journal of unlined pages where you sketch or doodle is a great alternative. You can also speak your thoughts out loud and record them on a cell phone or recording device.

  • Review Your Thoughts Every So Often

    One of the great things about keeping a journal is that, over time, you can see how much you grow as a person. You see how your thoughts evolve and gain new perspectives on situations that may be causing you stress. Best of all, you develop a more in-depth understanding of yourself that may help you cope more easily when times are tough.

Get Started

woman journalingNow that you know the best way to approach keeping a journal, you’re ready to begin. Not sure what to say? Try the journaling prompts below to get started.

  • If someone described me, what would they say?
  • What’s the best compliment you’ve received?
  • What new activities would you like to try?
  • What does “good health” mean to you?
  • What does friendship mean to you?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The point of this practice is to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings so you can learn and grow.

Why Friends Are Important

Friends can help us when we’re down, encourage us to learn new things, and keep us on track to meet our goals.

Learn More

Find Help

Search our directory to find programs and services near you.

Get Help

Sign Up for Email

Join us to receive helpful tips and information on building social connections.

Sign Up
Back to top
Share via

Please click "Continue" to leave the Connect2Affect website.

Thank you for your interest in Connect2Affect. You clicked on a link to an organization that is not affiliated with AARP Foundation. If you do not wish to leave this website, please click the cancel button.