Discover the joys of journaling

If you haven’t discovered the many benefits of journaling this article explains how you can get started. If you have, then there are tips on how you can use it for personal growth.

The online journal in the HappierMe app offers guided questions and a space to reflect and share what is happening in your mind. It could be to document what you have done that day, or notice what is happening right now, or plan what you need to do tomorrow, or as a vehicle for personal growth where you can question yourself and make sense of what you are thinking and feeling.


The act of putting your thoughts down on paper, or in an online journal quietens the mind and engages a different part of your brain. As you sit and pause, wondering what to write next, there is a space of not knowing, where the mind quietens and something unexpected emerges. Scientists say the right brain is activated when we journal - that is our more creative side. There are no rules on what to write, or how often. Try and keep it private. Online journals offer that extra degree of password protection. The online journal in the HappierMe app is private to you, password protected and encrypted, so only you can see its contents.

Here are #8 tips to make the most out of your journaling journey.

#1 The secret is to begin

Just as the secret to swimming is to begin swimming, the secret to journaling is to begin. We always feel we don’t have enough time but setting 30 minutes aside for yourself is nourishing and an important vehicle for personal growth. You could journal daily, or once a week, but consistency is the key. Think of it as ‘you’ time.

#2 Journaling calms the mind

When you are feeling stressed or anxious or angry it is helpful to get things out of your head into your journal. Don’t try and make sense of it, just get it down. As you write you will notice your mind begins to calm down. It's like venting to a friend, but the journal has one advantage - it does not interrupt, get bored, offer advice, or judge you. Your journal is your friend.

#3 Don’t judge yourself

We have 70,000 thoughts in a day. We are not aware of most of them, but they can shape our desires, our fears, how we feel and what we do. We are embarrassed by some of them, for example if we told a lie, we can be critical of ourselves. Don’t be. Every thought and feeling you have is part of being human and worth examining. Getting that thought out of your mind and letting it breathe and see the light of day decreases its power over you. You can then examine it, learn from it and decide what you do next.

#4 Be honest with yourself. It is the first step to personal growth.

Our mind often plays tricks and hides the truth from ourselves. We can convince ourselves that we are loving for example, when we are actually self-absorbed, or that we are successful when we are not. It is easy to deceive ourselves. A journal is a space where you are invited to be honest with yourself. Self-awareness allows self-correction and it is in journaling that we can have the courage to be honest about what we think or feel. It is the first step on our personal growth journey.

Being honest also keeps us grounded in life, dealing with the facts, rather than believing a story we have spun ourselves. We can waste so many years of our life in self-deception, for example believing we don’t have a problem around alcohol when we do, or believing our relationship is okay when it is not.

#5 Ask good questions

The first step in journaling is to write it all down. Write about your day, your surroundings, and what you notice happening in your own mind. The next step is to ask a good question.

Open questions are best:

‘What is going on in my mind to make me feel this way’

‘Where do my opinions come from, and why am I attached to them’

‘Why do my desires repeat is predictable patterns’

‘Is there a different, more positive way of seeing this situation’

Explore the Guided Questions section in the app. There is a library of questions on different topics that can help you understand yourself better.

#6 Write about the Now

You can write about anything in your journal, the past or the future, but it is in writing about what is actually happening now that can make the mind go quiet and feel at peace. Begin with your surroundings. Notice what all your senses are picking up - the quietest sound, or a faint smell, or notice something your eye often overlooks - like the blade of grass dancing in the breeze.

Move on to noticing your body, how you are sitting, if you are feeling hungry or thirsty. Then write about every thought or feeling that comes into your mind, however insignificant. The more you notice about what is happening now, the quieter your mind will become.

#7 Self-reflection can bring transformation. Information does not.

All through the app you will find reflection screens which ask you a question about that particular topic. It is in asking ourselves that question and noticing what is happening in our own mind that helps us learn about ourselves and it is in that process that an inner transformation can occur.

For example if someone said you are conditioned by all your past influences and not aware of that process you may agree but that will not bring any change. But if you are asked a particular question - like - ‘How has your conditioning shaped your political beliefs’ that you can reflect on that and realise your beliefs are not originally yours anyway and allow you to question them for yourself.

#8 Make better decisions

Sometimes we are confused about what to do. We have to make a decision and there may be many different ways of looking at the situation, with pros and cons on either side. Write down all the thoughts you have in regard to the decision you need to make. It could be which college to go to, or whether to take up a job offer, or whom to marry.

Once all your thoughts are in the journal you can assign points out of 5 to each thought, based on how important that is to you. For example when thinking of a future partner if looks are important you could give that a 5/5, or integrity is important you can mark that highly. You can then add up the points in each column and that gives you some clarity.

You can have further clarity by asking questions like:

Is there another way to think about this?

Does this align with my values?

What role is my fear and conditioning playing in making that decision, and so on.

Explore the module on Making Better Decisions here.

Explore the Online Journal in the HappierMe app here.

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved