'Journaling Isn’t Just For The Spiritually Inclined; Here’s How To Get Started '

I must admit there was a time in my life when journaling fell firmly into the “woo-woo” bucket in my mind, along with sage burning, crystal healing and other speculative activities reserved for those far more enlightened and open-minded than me.

I also admit, however, that I later took a deep dive into that woo-woo bucket and emerged singing the praises of said activities for the depth and development they brought into my life.

For the sceptics among us, science has done a lot of catching up of late and there’s now so much empirical support for the benefits of things like writing therapy and meditation for managing emotions, stress and even symptoms of things like anxiety or depression (so they barely even make the woo-woo cut these days).

For “corporate Sarah” who conceived of wellness as eating broccoli and going to spin class at 5am before a 20-hour day at work (and who inevitably suffered a gigantic physical and emotional breakdown as a result), it was putting pen to paper that turned that breakdown into a breakthrough and started the journey of “seizing the yay”. 

Journaling regularly has become such a crucial part of my wellbeing regime – like a valuable tool in my toolkit that I whip out whenever I feel the need. The best part is that there’s no right or wrong way to write in a journal – it’s the mental version of any physical exercise you do in that we all find different things enjoyable or more effective and you just find what works best for you.



So, while it can seem a bit overwhelming or intimidating the first time you sit down to a blank page for some quiet time with your thoughts, all you really need to do is start writing and BAM, you’re journaling. There are so many reasons why I think everyone should have a journal on hand, but a few things I love most are:

  • It’s like emptying the trash but for your brain – sometimes all you’re doing is taking a knotty web of thoughts out of your brain, putting them on paper to unscramble them with the clarity of distance, then putting them all back in neatly. Once something is written down outside of your brain (hence, “brain dump”), you don’t have to hold onto it so tightly inside your brain, so it frees up space for other things at a time when we’re already overloaded with information every moment of the day. If you get stuck starting, try starting with “a highlight of today was…” or “something I am grateful for today was…” and see what happens.
  • You don’t have to have an audience – nobody is watching nor does anyone else ever have to read what you’ve written, so you can explore how you feel or what you really think in a safe place. Sometimes, it’s only in writing something down that you even know you feel that way. I’ll be honest, the first time you sit down to journal, you can feel a bit silly playing “dear diary” like a teenage girl but remember there’s no audience so there can be no judgment or response from anyone unless and until you’re ready to share beyond its pages.
  • You can do it anywhere, anytime, for free – if you have a pen and paper, you can conduct a little writing therapy session for yourself anywhere. I ALWAYS carry a journal in my bag in case I have an idea or an emotion I want to capture.
  • You can change your style whenever you like – some days, all I write is three words being the three things I’m grateful for. The power of even small reflections of gratitude over your mood and outlook for the day always blows me away. Other days, I write full stream of consciousness accounts of my feelings or even blow-by-blow accounts of a particular event or day. It can be useful even to record symptoms of something you want to keep track of – particularly with anxiety, when it can be hard to remember how you actually felt in a particular moment and if you’ve improved or not. I’d go as far as to say drawing also counts!
  • It’s like a moving meditation – writing in a journal is fairly mutually exclusive with any other activity, so you have to stop multitasking and put down your devices while devoting time exclusively to your thoughts. Even if you don’t meditate or want to meditate, there are endless benefits to giving your brain a moment of single focus blocking out the noise of every other activity. In that sense, it’s like a vacation for your mind from the daily grind and the endless to-do list!



If you’re having writer’s block, I find it also helps to set yourself up comfortably and build some other wellbeing rituals around journaling time. I’ll move away from my working area and sometimes light a candle or brew a fresh pot of tea to get in the mood.

I also often journal after meal time when I’m feeling most nourished and happy, and have given my brain a little time to settle before I start. As someone leading quite a busy schedule these meals are often pre-prepared thanks to the plant-based saviours at Soulara, who also happen to have built a platform that revolves around gratitude and mindfulness too. Fuelling yourself, body and mind, is so crucial for your overall well being and satisfaction in life.

Sometimes, giving something like journaling a name makes it sound technical and intimidating but you’re really just writing things down on paper. It’s far simpler than we make it seem and I’d encourage you to just give it a go and see what happens! And there are some beautiful journals around to bring some luxury to the experience if you feel like treating yo-self (but I’ve journaled on a serviette before so, again, there’s really no excuse to give it a go). So, get writing and let me know how you go…

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