The art of journalling

How the simple act of journalling, writing down your thoughts and feelings, might just transform your life. By Grace McGeehan

Just like yoga and meditation, journalling can be a powerful, therapeutic tool, one that can help us to manage everyday stresses and demands a little easier.

As humans, we have over 6,000 thoughts a day…some more obvious and louder than others! But if you were to put these thousands of thoughts we have throughout the course of a day into some kind of visualisation or imagery, it would be an extraordinary work of art, albeit a busy and chaotic one. Journalling is about getting these thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper, to try and make a little more sense of them.

Think of the piece of paper as being your very own therapist. After all, things like therapy are guiding you towards the answers that are simply already within you. So, the piece of paper can be your prompt to revealing those answers. You don’t even necessarily have to make sense of any of the things you write down, just the mere act of writing it down can be enough to feel a sense of releasing it.

There are no rules with journalling, just listen to your intuition and do what feels good for you in that moment. The act of journalling can feel very cathartic and cleansing — like clearing and organising an overly-full, disorganised wardrobe. And, at the same time, it can be empowering, because you are looking inwards and perhaps shining a light on things that need addressing.

If you are completely new to journalling, it can feel scary and daunting at first because it requires you to be completely honest, raw and vulnerable with yourself. There is absolutely no one else that will hold you accountable or read what you write — it is all down to you, and this can be lonely. But if we can push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and get a little comfortable with being uncomfortable, that’s when the magic happens and we experience the benefits of these wonderful tools.

We need to lean into a deep sense of trust in ourselves, so that we can go to these places and help and heal ourselves by ourselves. Journalling is a great thing to do when times are good, but when you are going through something difficult, it’s all too easy to lean towards more unhealthy behaviours such as reaching for the biscuit barrel or pouring a glass of wine. We often try to avoid our difficulties and so numb ourselves with things that give us more short-term highs.


• Go and buy yourself a beautiful journal that will inspire you to put pen to paper.

• Slot in 10 minutes to your calendar, this week, for some journalling time, and just see what happens.

• Play some relaxing music, dim the lights, light a candle, burn some incense, do whatever you need to do to get yourself into the journalling mood.

• Close your eyes and take a few deep cleansing breaths before starting, to ensure a connection and awareness of self.

Just like yoga and meditation, journalling can be a powerful, therapeutic tool, one that can help us to manage everyday stresses and demands a little easier.


• Write down three things that you are grateful for.

• Write down five things that make you happy.

• Write down 10 negative thoughts you’ve had today and try to reframe them into more positive ones.

• Write down some of the things that are worrying you at the moment.

• Write down where you could have shown yourself a little more kindness and compassion throughout the day.

Young handsome minded man in jeans shirt and spectacles sitting at the table and typink a letter to his  acquaintance

But it is at times like this when journalling can be even more beneficial, and help to avoid those more unhealthy habits and behaviours. Filling ourselves up from the inside out, rather than outside in.

Personally, I enjoy a good old messy journalling session with literally no structure. My handwriting may not necessarily be the most tidy and I am writing whatever comes to mind. I don’t do it every day, nor do I plan when I am going to journal, just when I feel I need it. And I am always left feeling clearer and lighter as a result.

You don’t need to feel pressure to stick to journalling every day, but also don’t expect to see results when you do it as a one-off. Just a little bit a day can go a very long way!

And the most important thing of all: enjoy! Don’t judge yourself; be soft, light and playful with it. Then just see what happens.

Find out more about Grace McGeehan at: or connect via Instagram @gracemcgeehan

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.