Journaling for Beginners: How to Start Journaling

How to Start Journaling for Beginners

Journalling is a great way to aid self-reflection and exploration in our day-to-day lives. Many approach journaling as a trusted, therapeutic method to help cope with anxiety and painful or confusing experiences. Others put pen to paper to spark inspiration, creativity, and self-affirmation. 

We know it can boost confidence and ease stress, but do we know how to start? This article is for anyone who wants to know how to start journaling or readers after journaling ideas to prompt freedom and insight.

Journaling for Beginners: How to Start a Daily Journal 

Go for it 

To begin, begin. Ah, William Wordsworth did have a way with words. And it is true. The best way to start journaling is to grab a pen and some paper - it does not need to be a fancy rose petal pressed diary, even the back of a napkin will do - and begin. 

Set aside some time 

As with meditation, when you first start journaling, we generally require a little time and space so we can get in the zone. 

Try setting aside 5 minutes every morning - when you’re waiting for the coffee to brew or your roommate is hogging the bathroom - for writing. 

Try journaling after your yoga practice

Try journaling after your yoga practice. Before rushing off post-Savasana, stay a little while and let the words flow. This can be a really insightful way to process anything your practice may have brought up for you and continue your journey of self-discovery off the yoga mat

Find journal prompt examples (scroll down for ours)

If you’re unsure where to start or what to write about, journaling prompts are helpful mind-stimulants - scroll down for ideas!

That said, writing a few words about how you feel when you wake up can invite clarity and perspective to the rest of your day. Again, it doesn't have to be complicated or even guided. Just a free flow of thoughts onto a page for you to read back, consider and, maybe, understand yourself and your internal climate a little better.

Don’t overthink it 

One of the most significant benefits of journaling is that it helps us to make sense of the whirring thoughts clogging up our brain channels. Getting these words, images, and feelings out of our heads and onto paper frees up some brain space and helps us to make sense of what we’re dealing with.

The more aware we are of our inner workings, the easier it is to make decisions that align with who, where, and how we are from moment to moment. This enables us to live with greater compassion, connection, honesty and integrity. 

So don’t overthink it. Trust your hand, trust yourself, and all shall be revealed. You’ll be amazed by how much you were holding onto when you see it written down.

Dip below to see journaling prompt examples for beginners and seasoned writers alike. 

Journaling Prompts

Here are some journal writing samples to get you started. Remember, don’t overthink it. Just go with the flow and let your pen guide you. 

Journaling Prompts for Beginners 

  1. How do you feel right now? What familiar emotions do you recognise?
  2. Write about one thing you learned last week - maybe some advice from someone or a silver lining experienced after a tricky situation you went through. 
  3. Make a list of five things you are grateful for.
  4. Pick one of the things you are grateful for and write about why. How can you share this gratitude or this experience with someone else? 
  5. Is there anything you could eliminate or cancel this week to give yourself more time to find peace and slow down? Could you do this for the month? For the year? For life?

Top tip: Grab a pack of prompt cards!

Journaling Prompts for Self-Love

  1. Write about something that made you smile recently. 
  2. Make a “reverse bucket list”—instead of listing all the things you want to do or achieve one day, write down all the fantastic things you’ve already done. Look how incredible you are!
  3. Similarly, write about a time when you exceeded your expectations. What happened? And how did this change how you see yourself, even if just for a short while?
  4. What is your favourite quality about yourself? And why do you cherish this quality?
  5. Write a love letter to your body. 

Journaling Prompts for Healing 

  1. ​​Remember a time when someone was kind to you or helped you in some way, and write about that experience. What happened? How did they make you feel? 
  2. We can facilitate our own healing with acts of kindness towards others. Think of something kind you could do for one other person today and explore how you could make that happen.
  3. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, and how did you overcome it? 
  4. What is one thing you wish you could remember on your bad days? Is there a way you can remind yourself of this, like a little church bell reminder, when you’re feeling down?
  5. If you could go back and live any moment again in your life, where and what would it be?

Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery

  1. Write about a new skill that you’ve always aspired to learn. Why does it appeal to you?
  2. Following on from above, write down three ways you could get a little closer to learning this skill or craft. 
  3. Write about a time that you responded to a difficult situation in a way that you weren’t proud of. What have you learnt from this? 
  4. Now, write about a time when you responded to a situation in a way that you were proud of. What have you learnt from this? All situations provide opportunities to discover more about ourselves. There is always something to gain.
  5. Write about a time when you felt alive and free. Is there anything holding you back from experiencing this again? 

Journaling Prompts for Mental Health 

  1. What is one thing you could do today to make yourself feel a little more grounded?
  2. We don’t have to have our whole lives planned out - regardless of what social norms dictate. We can become so attached to future goals that we overlook the smaller steps and achievements that make up our beautiful journey. What are three simple steps you can take this week to move you toward feeling more like yourself again? 
  3. Complete this sentence: today I am hoping for… 
  4. Write about how you could bring the above to fruition.
  5. What do unconditional love and support mean to you? How can you work toward providing this for yourself? Remember, little steps. 



Sophie Heatley (she/her) is a Content Writer and Yoga Instructor based in London. She has been teaching at various studios, on retreat and online since 2018. On the side, Sophie creates online and editorial content for clients within diverse industries, from the arts, to wellness, to financial law. Discover where she's teaching and what she's writing by following her on social media @sophieheatley_