Keeping A Mindfulness Journal: How To Become More Aware Of Your Thoughts, Feelings, And Actions

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Being more mindful in everyday life can bring some serious benefits. Too often, we’re caught up in intrusive thoughts, distracted by external events, or thinking about the future. Mindfulness teaches us to focus a little more on the present moment.

The principles of mindfulness include non-judgment, concentration, and enhanced awareness, as well as present-moment attention. These values can be embraced through meditation — but there are some other, more accessible ways of practicing mindfulness.

One of these is journaling, a dynamic form of mindfulness practice that can allow us to identify and process our own emotions, thoughts, and experiences by writing them down.

Putting pen to paper can have a super positive impact on our mental and emotional well-being. It’s this subject that we’ll be focusing on in today’s article, with an emphasis on these key areas:

  • What Is A Mindfulness Journal?
  • The Benefits of Keeping A Mindfulness Journal
  • Mindfulness Journal Prompts

Let’s explore how mindfulness journaling can help you process daily events and gain a little more perspective on life.

woman keeping a mindfulness journal

What Is A Mindfulness Journal?

Mindfulness journaling is a phenomenon that has become pretty popular in recent years.

This is largely due to its simplicity, low cost, and the fact that it’s one of the more easy ways to implement mindfulness in your daily life. But what exactly does this exercise entail?

Mindfulness journaling is about reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, and experiences using the process of writing. It can be done just about anywhere, and it doesn’t take too much effort.

Journaling exercises encourage people to note down their experiences of present-moment attention and contemplation and become more mindful and aware as a result.

This process embodies the fundamental principles of mindfulness, which is all about bringing our attention to what we’re doing in the moment, and how we can improve our experiences of life and the interactions we have with people around us.

Mindfulness journaling is often structured around prompts and patterns which allow you to make mindful notes each day or each week and see what changes occur in your life.

This can give you a permanent record of your attitudes, goals, and intentions, thereby helping you grow as an individual. Let’s explore the benefits of mindfulness journaling in some more detail.

The Benefits of Mindfulness Journaling

Much like other applications of mindfulness such as mindful breathing, journaling can have a wide range of mental and physical health benefits.

Keeping track of daily events and your responses to them can be great for relieving stress and anxiety, and there are a ton of other benefits too.

Let’s look through a few of the key benefits of keeping a mindfulness journal.

#1. Sharpened Focus

Keeping a mindfulness journal can help you zoom in on specific thoughts and feelings and think more deeply about how they are affecting you. This can sharpen your focus and allow you to identify different mental occurrences with greater clarity.

#2. More Positive Thinking

Noting negative thoughts and feelings can give you room to understand and process them. This creates space for the generation of more positivity. Learning to accept negative experiences for what they are can help you develop a more balanced, equanimous outlook.

woman keeping a mindfulness journal snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea

#3. Greater Sense Of Reflection

Writing down the things that are on your mind can help you consider your problems and experiences in more detail, blocking out external circumstances and focusing on what’s inside you. This enhanced sense of inward attention is fundamental to a mindful attitude.

#4. Ability To Track Progress

Shortly, we’ll look into the practicalities of mindfulness journaling, and you’ll find out more about this benefit. Journaling gives you a chance to track your personal and psychological development by making regular notes and seeing how your experiences develop over time.

This practice is great for showing you a full overview of where your head’s at. And it’s super accessible, too — all you need to practice mindfulness journaling is a pen, a notebook, a quiet place to reflect and consider, and 5-10 minutes of your time.

There are various different types of journals you could keep. Depending on your individual needs and journey, you could benefit from keeping a daily diary, a travel journal, or something else entirely. Let’s spend some time considering a few popular exercises.

man keeping a mindfulness journal on the beach at sunset

Mindfulness Journal Prompts

Journaling is all about developing your skills of acceptance. By noting and becoming more aware of your emotional triggers and learning how to process thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, you can learn how to be comfortable and happy with the way you are.

However, it can be difficult to think of exactly how to start your mindfulness journaling practice. For that reason, we’ve collected a few useful prompts to help you start off.

In this section of the article, we’ll explore those writing prompts and demonstrate how bringing the reflective power of mindfulness into your everyday life can help you become more accepting of your current circumstances.

Daily Mindfulness Prompts

It can be useful to do some mindfulness journaling every day, just for a few minutes. Establishing this sense of regularity can make your practice much more effective. Here are a few mindfulness journal prompts you can use at different points in the day.

At the start of your day:

  • What am I looking forward to today?
  • What challenges could I face today?
  • If I feel stressed or anxious today, what could I do?
woman keeping a mindfulness journal on the sofa listening to music

At the end of your day:

  • What good things happened to you today?
  • Did anything go wrong today?
  • What could I do differently tomorrow?

Recapping The Day

Here are a few more mindfulness journaling prompts that focus on recapping and reflecting on your day at the end of it:

  • What was your happiest moment today?
  • Were there any moments that scared you, and how did you respond to them?
  • Think about any urges that you resisted today.
  • Think about the productive or useful things you did today.
  • What did you learn today?

Recapping the day using mindfulness journaling can help settle your mind in the evening and allow you to process your experiences and get some proper rest.

For more guidance on how to get a good night’s sleep, read our article on how sleep meditation can improve your life.

woman writing a mindfulness journal

Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling can be a really effective exercise for boosting your sense of positivity and appreciation of the world around you. This practice involves considering things that we are thankful and/or grateful for in our lives, both big and small.

Think back over the last week and write down five things you’re grateful for. Here are a few examples:

1. I am healthy and well.

2. I met a friend and had an amazing time.

3. I watched a film that I loved.

4. I finished reading a book that I really enjoyed.

5. I reached some key targets at work.

For more guidance on this type of journaling, check out our article on 50 gratitude journal prompts

a stack of beautifully coloured journals

Monthly themes

Assigning a monthly theme for your mindfulness journaling practice can help you identify and track your key aims and hopes. Focusing on one core theme per month can lead to really positive results in that area.

Throughout the month, you can assess how things are going, and when the month ends, you can consider whether certain targets were reached, and think about what could be done better next time.

Here are some examples of monthly themes:

  • January – Physical Health
  • February – Expressing Love And Honesty
  • March – Mindful Behavior At Work
  • April – Checking In With Loved Ones
  • May – Practicing Mindful Communication

And so on… You can assign different themes to different months depending on your preferences and what you feel is most important at different points in life.

a woman keeping a mindfulness journal in her kitchen

Gaining Inspiration

Another way to practice mindfulness journaling could be to pick out and develop your own quotes, statements, and phrases that you find inspiring or influential.

Each day, find an inspirational quote you feel applies to you, and write it down, reflecting on ways it means something to you.

Check out our article on 92 inspirational yoga quotes for a few ideas on this.

Start Journaling For A More Rounded View Of Your Life

You should now have a strong idea of the different kinds of mindfulness journaling you can practice, and an array of prompts to help you on your way.

As you’ve seen, there are many different ways of keeping a mindfulness journal. You could write daily or weekly, you could stick to certain themes over certain periods of time, or you could write for a specific purpose, like becoming more grateful or confident.

Regardless of your motivations and what you want to get out of journaling, the most important thing is that you take the necessary time to journal regularly, effectively, and meaningfully. This is true of most forms of mindfulness practice.

Taking on board this article’s mindfulness journal prompts to build a consistent practice is a great everyday method for experiencing the benefits of mindfulness. So what are you waiting for? Give mindfulness journaling a try today.

If you want to find out more about exactly what the practice of mindfulness entails, you should check out our article on the differences between mindfulness and meditation.

Photo of author
Fred is a London-based writer who works for several health, wellness and fitness sites, with much of his work focusing on mindfulness.

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