What Is Journal Therapy and How Can It Change Your Life?

what is journal therapy and how can it change your life

Journal therapy, also known as therapeutic journaling, is a form of self-care that involves writing down thoughts and feelings in a personal journal. 

This practice has been used for centuries to help individuals understand and process their emotions, improve mental health, and gain self-awareness. 

Journaling is a simple yet powerful tool that can change your life. From improving mental health to reducing stress, journaling offers many benefits. 

In this article, we will explore the history and origins of journal therapy, its current uses and benefits, the different ways it can help, and how you can use journaling to lead your best life.

When did journaling begin? 

The journaling practice can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians and Greeks, who wrote in personal diaries and scrolls.

However, the earliest known example of therapeutic journaling can be found in the works of Saint Augustine, a Christian theologian who wrote about his spiritual journey in the 4th century AD.

Where did journaling come from? 

In ancient Egypt, individuals wrote in personal diaries and scrolls, while philosophers such as Socrates and Plato kept personal journals in ancient Greece. 

The tradition of journaling also has roots in Eastern cultures, with practices such as Zen Buddhism and Taoism emphasizing the importance of self-reflection and introspection.

Who invented and created journaling? 

It’s difficult to pinpoint who exactly “invented” journaling, as many cultures and civilizations have used it throughout history. 

However, some notable figures in the history of journaling include Saint Augustine, who wrote about his spiritual journey in the 4th century AD, and Leonardo da Vinci, who kept detailed journals of his thoughts, observations, and sketches.

Here is an example from Saint Augustine’s journal: 

“I have begun, O Lord, to love you, and now I feel that I am too weak for so great a love. I am not yet equal to it, and I pray that you will give me strength to love you as I ought.”

– Confessions, Saint Augustine.

Another example is from Leonardo da Vinci’s journal: 

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

– Leonardo da Vinci’s journal.

Note that it’s not certain that Saint Augustine and Leonardo da Vinci wrote exactly these quotes in their journals, but they are considered to be examples of their thoughts and reflections.

When did the tradition of journaling start? 

The tradition of journaling can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Greeks. However, therapeutic journaling as a form of self-care and personal growth began to gain popularity in the 20th century with the advent of humanistic psychology and the self-help movement.

Where is journaling used? 

Journaling is used in various settings, including therapy, education, and personal development. 

Some examples are:

  • Dream journals: Keeping a dream journal is a way to record and reflect on your dreams. It can help you understand your subconscious thoughts and emotions and provide insight into your waking life.
  • Tarot journals: A tarot journal can record your readings and reflect on the cards’ meanings. It can also be used to track your journey and growth with tarot.
  • Shamanic journey journals: A shamanic journey journal documents the experiences and insights gained during a shamanic journey. It can be used to reflect on the journey and integrate the insights gained into daily life.
  • Morning journals: A morning journal starts the day by reflecting on your thoughts and emotions. It can be used to set intentions for the day, make plans, or reflect on the present moment.
  • Gratitude journals: A gratitude journal is used to document things one is thankful for, focus on the positive things in life, and improve overall well-being.
  • Bullet journals: A bullet journal is a method of journaling that uses a flexible and efficient system of rapid logging to record notes, tasks, and events.
  • Travel journals: A travel journal is used to document the experiences and memories from a trip. It can record observations, thoughts, emotions, and practical information such as travel itineraries and expenses.

These are just a few examples of how journaling can be used differently. 

Ultimately, the way you choose to use your journal is up to you and your personal preferences.

Individuals also widely use journaling as a form of self-care and personal growth.

Who uses journaling? 

Anyone can use journaling as a tool for self-care and personal growth. 

It is commonly used by individuals dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and those looking to improve overall well-being. 

Journaling is also used by therapists, educators, and other professionals to help clients or students process emotions and gain self-awareness.

Why did people write journals? 

People have written journals for a variety of reasons throughout history. For example, in ancient civilizations, individuals wrote in personal diaries and scrolls to record events and personal thoughts. 

In recent times, journaling has been used as a tool for self-reflection, self-discovery, and personal growth. 

Additionally, journaling has been used in therapy to help individuals process emotions and gain self-awareness.

 Is journaling good for you? 

Journaling is a form of self-care that can significantly positively impact your mental and emotional well-being. 

Studies have shown that journaling can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and increase self-awareness.

Why is journaling so essential and powerful? 

Journaling allows you to process your thoughts and emotions in a safe and private space. 

It helps you gain insight into your feelings and behavior and can be used to set goals and plan for the future. 

Additionally, journaling provides a sense of control over your thoughts and emotions and can be used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth.

What are the benefits of journaling?

Journaling can provide a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased ability to cope with difficult emotions
  • A greater understanding of oneself
  • Improved relationships
  • Increased creativity

Does journaling really help? 

Research has shown that journaling can be an effective tool for improving mental and emotional well-being. 

It can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and increase self-awareness. 

Journaling can help to improve mental health by providing a safe space to process thoughts and emotions. 

It can also help to increase self-awareness and promote self-reflection, leading to a greater understanding of oneself and improved mental health. 

Additionally, journaling can be used to set goals and plan for the future, which can improve mood and overall well-being.


The journal is a friend that will not betray you.”

– Christina Baldwin

“Journaling is a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth.”

– Brené Brown

“Keep a diary, and one day it’ll keep you.”

– Mae West

“Journaling is a safe place to let your guard down and be completely honest with yourself.”

– Unknown

Journal therapy is a powerful tool for self-care and personal growth that has been used throughout history. 

From the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to modern-day therapy and self-help practices, journaling has proven to be an effective way to understand and process emotions, improve mental health, and gain self-awareness.

With the help of journaling, anyone can explore their thoughts and feelings and gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

Below is a 
Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Spirituality Board!

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