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Find the Most Positive, Helpful Journal for Your Personality

“Dear Diary” isn’t for everyone. Choose a journal that meets you where you are on your healing journey.

Keeping a journal
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’ve kept a journal for most of my life, from the Hello Kitty and Ramona Quimby diaries of my childhood to college spiral-bound notebooks I filled with my daily journey into adulthood, to beautiful books that sit by my bedside for a quick download before bed.

Journaling is an essentially positive practice. It gives us someplace safe to put our thoughts and feelings—the privacy sometimes guaranteed by a sweet little lock. Our journals never judge or reject us. And, journals invite us to visit our past selves, review our thought processes, decisions and attitudes, and notice opportunities for growth and change in life.

A blank book waiting for your “Dear Diary” isn’t nearly the only option for those who want to benefit from a journaling practice. Bookstores are rich with choices that will meet you where you are and support you no matter what your goal is in journaling.

If you are starting a journaling practice to reflect on a particular aspect of your emotional life, to explore how you came to have habits you’re trying to change or to process something difficult that happened to you, look for a journal that prompts you to ask yourself questions that will encourage reflection and gentle self-probing.

Any book can be a gratitude journal, but many journals offer gratitude-specific prompts like “A happy memory I am thankful for is…,” “A simple pleasure I am grateful for today is…,” or “Looking out my window, I am grateful to see….”

With so much to keep track of, sometimes the most meaningful way to journal is to combine a daily planner with a space for reflection, creativity and goal-setting. “Bullet Journal” is one brand that offers what it calls “purpose-powered productivity,” but there are many journals that use list-making and visual cues to keep you on track in both your schedules and emotional growth.

Sometimes what we need most is a kind word…from ourselves. While a journal can be a tempting place to jot self-judgmental anxieties, it can also be a refuge from a challenging world, a place where you can find self-love and support. A daily record of kind observations, gentle encouragement and restorative space can shore up your inner reserves when you need it most.

What type of journal suits your personality?

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