Why should I journal?
In recent years, research has clearly established that effective journaling reduces stress, lowers anxiety, improves cognitive retention (memory), is effective in helping with weight loss, pain management, along with a host of other measurable health factors. There are also early measurable indicators, along with many testimonials, that journaling helps with long-term personal growth. People contribute that effective journaling is instrumental in their lives for; financial gain, job and career advancement, personal relationships, enhanced sexual activity, increased health, and improvement in overall happiness. For more details refer to our recommended links.
Will this work for me?
Studies have shown effective journaling works across all educational, social, and financial barriers. Proficiency in writing is NOT a criteria. In fact, being a very good writer can be a detriment, as good writers may be concerned about the quality of their writing instead of just freely expressing themselves. Attributes such as spelling and grammar need to be disregarded for journaling to be effective. Journaling is free and can be practiced regardless of age or physical condition.
Do I need a course or a book to learn journaling?
The answer to this question is the reason we developed the Journal For Life website. Many well-intentioned, nice, and very sincere people who journal will tell you all you need to do is start writing. We are here to tell you they are nice people who are sincerely wrong. Considered by most as the original authority on this subject was Ira Progoff, Ph.D. He designed and developed the first major study about how to journal and get positive results. There have since been many other professionals who have carried on his research and study of journaling. All meaningful research shows there is a basic methodology; a process to achieving effective journaling. You can obtain a basic understanding of our process of effective journaling by carefully reading and following the steps outlined on our Getting Started page. Following your review, we encourage you to contact one of our advisors who is best-suited to match your journaling needs.
Does keeping a journal on a computer make a difference?
Once again, we differ here from conventional advice. Most people will tell you NOT to keep your journal on a computer. We can assure you that using a computer to write your journal may work equally as well, or even better, depending upon the person. However, be careful in making your decision. Medical MRI studies clearly show that writing by hand stimulates different areas of the brain than does typing. The stroke of a keyboard key has very little stimuli difference from key to key. On the other hand, the activity required to hold, move, and control a pen at the same time as activating conscious thought is much more engaging. There is also psychological difference in how people feel comparing something as personal, private and intimately prepared by hand—such as a ‘thank you’—compared to an email.
From a practical point of view, a digitized journal makes so much sense, but the practical aspect is not what counts. What matters is what works. If you are unsure which way to proceed, we encourage you to at least spend your first six months using a hand-written journal. Learn the process, identify and prove to yourself that journaling is working for you. Then if you wish to try keeping a digital journal, go for it.
Finally, for those who have grown up on a keyboard, who do not have a relationship with the hand-written word, who simply cannot fathom why anyone would keep a hand-written journal, you should start with a digital journal.
No journal, hand-written or digital, will be effective if you do not learn the basics. You should refer to our pages on getting started, as well as review our advisors page on Keeping a Digital Journal.
How Much Does It Cost?
How does FREE sound?! Journaling can be done with tools that you already possess and available to you now. There is no need to purchase a special journal book or a fancy pen. If you are computer-inclined, you probably have at your disposal the means to keep a journal without having to purchase a special journal program: a word processor or text editor. There are many free journal sites available on the internet but I strongly suggest you stay away from them until after you have six months of experience. The structure of the software program will force you to proceed in a certain manner and that may not be your natural style.
One caution for keeping a hand-written journal: Try to use good quality paper, the heavier the better. School scribblers and notepads work, but they don’t last. Try to keep your journal in physically good shape on the outside. Inside, anything goes, so long as you can read back what you have written, or can identify each created image and purpose of your sketch or doodle.
I tried journaling, but I gave it up. How do I stay motivated?
Many people have had this experience and it goes back to what we call effective journaling. No one in their right mind will continue to put time energy and effort into something if they do not receive reward worthy of their effort. From our process, you will learn how to receive value from your journal. So much value that you soon find your journal to be one of your most important possessions. See getting started.
How Much Time Does It Take?
To learn effective journaling you must be prepared to invest a minimum of 15 minutes per day, for six days each week. This will be in addition to one 25-minute activity each week and one 45-minute activity each month. To be fully effective, you must keep this activity level for 12 weeks.
What if I miss a day?
Missing a day here or there is not the end of the world, but if you are not prepared to seriously keep to the above described scheduling your chances of becoming an effective journaler drop exponentially.
Do I Need Someone to Help Me?
Most of the people who started journaling on their own will tell you they did it and so can you. For everyone who somehow managed to stumble onto an effective journaling method on their own, we can show you a thousand who started a journal and then quit. We have learned that having a good advisor is vital in improving and developing an effective journaling technique. We greatly encourage you to carefully select an advisor to work with until you are confident in your journaling process. There is no fee for this personalized service. Please review our gifting policy.
Is there a difference between keeping a diary from keeping a journal?
In many aspects they are one and the same. Technically, a diary is a simple daily account of one’s activities. Where you go, who you meet, what you do. A journal usually includes the same diary entries, but is expanded to include your emotions, thoughts, and ideas regarding those events. In addition, a journal should contain your dreams, goals, and desires. More simply put, a journal captures your soul—and this is what opens the door to effective journaling.