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Journaling for Happiness and Self-Discovery: Why it Works and How To Get Started

By: Mooditude

4 min read

Dedicating time each day to journal on paper or with an app will improve mental and physical health!

Looking to be the happiest, best version of yourself? Check out the many benefits of journaling! A few minutes per day ruminating in your emotions and jotting them down can have real benefits and will improve your health. 

Not only is journaling an awesome way to express yourself, cope with difficult emotions and reflect on experiences… It can help your body physically as well! Don’t take it from us; Studies continue to prove the improvement of mental and physical health after introducing journaling. 

Let’s talk about what journaling looks like and why it is so impactful.

Why Journal? 

Of course, journaling is not a new concept. Even years before your elementary secret diary people have been practicing expressive writing. For millennia journaling has been used to cope with stress, document events, and serve as a tool for reflection later on.

Is your grocery list the extent of your daily writing? Let’s change that. 

Journaling is a great way to reflect on your day and unload all your thoughts and feelings. The day can feel heavy on your mind, and journaling is proven to reduce stress and improve mental health. Journaling will unjumble those hundreds of thoughts in your head, help you solve problems, and serve as a therapeutic way to get your emotions out. 

One study shows that writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events, in particular, has the best outcomes for relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. In fact, this study has shown improvement in physical health as well! Study participants who wrote about stress for 15-20 minutes 3-5 times had significantly better health overall. It further found the therapeutic capability of journaling on survivors of trauma. 

Do you ever get a headache from stress? Do you get a sour stomach when you’re anxious? You’re not alone. Stress and anxiety can manifest themselves in tons of physical symptoms. Experts continue to find that addressing psychological stress through journaling has a direct correlation with the healing of physical ailments.

In one New Zealand study, it was found expressive writing improved wound healing in older adults and women. On the 11th day of the study, 76% of the group that did expressive writing had fully healed compared to 42% of the participants who did not journal. Another study of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients showed an improvement of symptoms with journaling as well. 

As you can see it is not just the brain benefiting from a journaling habit. Chances are you will benefit mentally, physically (or both), from writing each day. 

How to Journal?

Now that you’re excited to get journaling, let’s talk about some options you have. There are many types of journaling, from using photos and drawings with visual journaling, dedicating a journal to practice gratitude, the list goes on. 

Types of journaling

  • Visual Creative way to use photos, drawings, and other visual modes of expression. 
  • Gratitude This journal will be centered around who and what you are thankful for.
  • Daily A daily journal will be home to your experiences and thoughts each day. 
  • Dream A dream journal can be a fun way to learn about your dream life.
  • Stream of consciousness This journaling is best for perfectionists, the idea is to write and write without stopping to change or fix anything. 

As we mentioned, journaling about specific trauma or stress has the best results in improving your health. 

Paper vs. Apps 

Of course, you can go the old school way with a pen and paper. Writing your journal entries in a physical journal might be the best route for you. There are downsides to this method, though. You will need to carry your journal around, remind yourself to dedicate the time, and will need any photos and materials you are adding on hand. 

A great alternative is using apps on your phone. There are different apps out there, some offering a simple journal with a passcode, others encouraging expression through different media, and more. Using an app will make it easier to get your journaling done by always being with you and reminding you to journal at a specific time of your choosing. 


One of the several features of the Mooditude App is a beautiful journal. It is your space to include anything on your mind with words, photos, and specialized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercises and writing prompts to get you thinking. 


Momento is a private journal with the capability to link to social media accounts. It’s personal preference for how much of your journal is shared with the world, and Momento gives you the ability to share across your other platforms. 


Penzu is a privacy-focused journaling app. You are able to lock your journal with a passcode with the paid version. 

Get Journaling Today 

The studies show it works, now it’s up to you to improve your mental health with a little bit of your day dedicated to journaling. Try out different types and see what works for you! 

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