Beginners Guide to 


+ prompts

I’ll be honest, I was SO hesitant on diving into the world of journaling. I thought it was full of “fru-fru” junk that wouldn’t provide any life value- but I was wrong. Journaling has helped me open up with myself and truly start to heal the many wounds that have been weighing me down for…way too long. And let me tell you- it is SO freeing. I feel so much lighter afterward. I’ll dive more into what this could look like for you down below, but seriously. If you take anything from this post, please let it be to start regularly brain dumping. There are so many ways to get started but personally I got started by brain dumping and it’s led to discovering some of the awesome benefits of journaling.

Can Journaling Help Your Mental Health?


How journaling helps your mental health

I could go on all day about how I have seen journaling help improve my own mental health as well as my friend’s mental health, but let’s leave this to the experts. The University of Rochester Medical Center stated in a post titled “Journaling for Mental Health” that: ” Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by: – Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns – Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them – Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors” (University of Rochester Medical Center) I think those few bullet points really describe how journaling ultimately helps your mental health by allowing a healthy way to work through your complicated emotions, thoughts, and fears.

Other Benefits of Journaling

– Clarity – Processing emotions/events/traumas – Improves memory – Boosts mood + confidence – Helps you track your progress/evaluate various moods/cycles – Learn your triggers – Reduces stress – Organize your thoughts – Helps you understand yourself – Helps you make decisions

Beginners Guide to Journaling


1. Decide Paper or Digital

Deciding on how you are going to journal can seem like an overwhelming decision to make but my best suggestion is to just go with something and see what happens. One of the many benefits of journaling is that it can help your mental health no matter which way you go about it. I’ve tried journaling apps, notes in my phone, google docs, as well as colorful bullet journaling. I’ve landed on my bullet journal for my morning affirmations & such, then an app called “Daylio” for evening journaling which essentially is a great tool for tracking my mood (which we’ll dive into in a bit).

2. Start with Simple Braindumps

I think there are a few different ways to go about “brain dumping”, but I’ll share what has worked well for me. Essentially, all I do is open up whatever form of journal I am using and I starting dumping out everything on my mind. Like I said earlier, I don’t focus on punctuation, spelling, or honestly making much sense at all. I genuinely just pour out my thoughts into the journal. Now the ultimate act of brain dumping offers some incredible benefits in and of itself, like leaving you feeling much lighter with a less cluttered mind. But the real benefits of journaling through brain dumping come from after you step away. After you pour your soul into your journal, I want you to close it and drink some water, watch tv, or even close your journaling tool for the day. BUT THEN I want you to come back to it later on (30 minutes, a few hours, or the next day) and read through it.

2. Start with Simple Braindumps

Do your best to try to make sense of it and start making an action plan for yourself. To give you an example, I use brain dumping as a form of taking notes after therapy. Usually after therapy (at least for the first six months after my divorce) I would feel fatigued and like my brain was about to explode with all of the new thoughts I had that either therapy brought up or I took away from what my therapist said. SO I started taking about 15-30 minutes after my weekly sessions to dump out all of my thoughts and feelings & let me tell you, not only did it help me process those emotions a lot more efficiently, but being able to look back and see how far I have come is an incredible feeling. Seriously, just try!

3. Use Prompts

After brain dumping, my favorite way to journal is by using journal prompts. When you look up things like “how journaling helps your mental health” odds are you’ll be met with a ton of journal prompts meant for just that. There are so many places to find journaling prompts, from books to Pinterest to popular journaling Instagram accounts to apps.  Honestly, they’re everywhere! Personally, my favorite place to find journal prompts is on Pinterest. I have a board here full of different ideas and when I’m in the journaling mood or need a good mental reset, I’ll pick from my collection and let my mind wander.

Journaling Prompt Ideas


1. Five things I like about myself 2. Five things I am thankful for 3. Five things I want to work on 4. What am I most proud of? 5. I am grateful for… 6. What would I tell my teenage self? (younger self) 7. What would I tell my future self? 8. What are my strengths? 9. What do I wat to accomplish in the next year or five years 10. What makes me happy?

1. What do I enjoy most about the day? 2. What is my ideal day? 3. Who is my person? 4. What am I thinking right now? 5. What are all of my worries? 6. What do I feel strongly about? 7. What is a happy memory? 8. What is a favorite trip/experience from my past? 9. What makes me special? 10. What is my best personality trait?