Man’s Guide to Keeping a Journal

Keeping a journal is a great activity for every man. Journaling has been shown to increase critical thinking skills and help people retain more information. Unfortunately, because it involves coming to terms with your feelings, many men feel uncomfortable with the idea of journaling. Even men who understand the many positive benefits of journaling daily may have a hard time figuring out what to write about.  If you would like to add journaling to your daily self-care routine, this guide can help you get started on the “write” foot.

Pick a Journal

Journaling is a private, somewhat special practice. Because of that, it’s important to pick a special journaling notebook for yourself that you feel good about using. Because journals themselves fill up so quickly when you’re journaling every day, one smart option is to pick a basic interior and then choose a notebook cover that you love and can transfer from journal to journal. This is also a great option because the notebook cover will wear over the years, and you’ll begin to associate positive memories with your notebook cover. Seeing the cover may even become a signal to your brain that it’s time to unwind and journal, which can make journaling easier for you in time.

Decide What to Journal About

When most people consider journaling, they consider only one form: Writing daily about what happened in your life. While this is one viable form of journaling, it’s not the only type of journaling. In fact, there are many types of journals you can choose to keep.

Dream Journals Dream journals are just what they sound like: Journals about your dreams. You can choose to just write down exactly what happens in your dreams, or you can write down a description of the dream and then your reflections upon it. You can even try your hand at dream interpretation!

Prayer Journal Prayer journals are great for people who are trying to become more spiritually aware. Prayer journals can be anything from spiritual reflections to actual written prayers to writing about scriptures.

Food Journals Food journals are a way to record recipes that you threw together that you want to try again as well as recipes that you want to try in the future.

Art Journal Not a big writer? You can still become more connected to your day and your brain by keeping an art journal. This gives you a place to get your thoughts out on paper in a differently creative way.

Idea Journal If you’re the sort of guy who has lots of great ideas but can’t remember them later, or who likes DIY projects but loses track of what he’s doing halfway through, an idea journal might be the perfect option for you. This is a place to record ideas that you have as well as your progress on any projects you’re working on.

These are only a few ideas for journals that you can keep. The important thing is to decide what you’re interested in and find a way to reflect on it daily.

Set Aside a Time to Journal

Even if you pick a topic and have a journal, the chances are that if you don’t put aside a set time each day to write, the journal will be forgotten about within a day or two of bringing it into your life. As guys, we’re busy, and even when we have the best intentions, a lot of times life gets in the way.

Journaling is all about practicing mindfulness, and if you choose to journal, you also must, by necessity, choose to make it a practice. Work journaling into your daily routine, and make yourself spend a certain amount of time journaling each day, even if you’re just not feeling it that day. Sometimes, the days you don’t feel like journaling are the days you’ll find that you have the most to say.

Don’t Be Too Rigid

Maybe you decide to do an art journal, but one day you want to write something out instead. Or maybe you have a food journal, but one day it feels prudent to write out a poem in it or draw a picture. That’s okay! Trying to create the perfect journal will lead to a lack of creativity and make you feel blocked. Instead, while you should choose a direction you intend to take your journal in, leave yourself room to play and explore within it. You may find that what you thought you wanted to write about isn’t what you need to write about—and that’s okay.

Choosing to take up journaling takes a lot of courage, especially as a man. Journaling is all about getting to know your inner self, a practice which can leave you feeling vulnerable. However, in today’s age of toxic masculinity, learning how to get in touch with your emotions is a boon. Journaling is one great way to practice this every day.