Here’s Why You Should Get Into Five Minute Journaling

Growing up, I kept diaries that I would pour all my frustrations into, and it would make me instantly feel better. I would stomp home from the bus stop, find my Bratz-themed journal in my ‘secret’ hiding spot under the bed and go to town after a rough day. Sometimes I would even write pages for hours if I still didn’t feel better.

Once I grew older, I realized that this process didn’t work for me anymore—if anything, it made me feel worse. After all, once I got to college, I found I barely had the time to watch Netflix, much less journal for hours. Even if I did, writing about random things that happened in my day didn’t seem to help anymore, especially if they were negative incidences.

After searching online, I came across the concept of ‘five-minute journaling.’ While the phenomenon has become a full-on product, I don’t mean that specifically. For me, five-minute journaling is a way to dedicate time each day to journal about something that will make me happy. It can include ready-made prompts or be a blank page, but either way, I curtail what I am going to write based on what I need at that moment.

There are many different journals on the market dedicated to short journaling, including gratitude journals and bullet journaling, which can seem overwhelming to those who are just starting. That’s why it can be easier to identify what exactly you want to accomplish with the journal before purchasing one. There are a few themes of journals that seem to be most popular:

  1. 1. Gratitude Journal

    I have personally been using a ‘gratitude journal’ since the pandemic started. Before that, I was using a blank journal but realized that I was writing so much negativity. With everything going on, I realized that I needed prompts to help me feel gratitude for everything in my life. I chose the ‘Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal’ because I wanted quick and easy prompts to follow that would help me develop a more ‘glass half full mindset.

    Gratitude journaling quickly helps if you are struggling to find things that make you happy or with living in the moment. It helps you stop and smell the roses instead of remaining unsatisfied. This option is also great for those who are intimidated by a blank page staring back at them. Additionally, gratitude journaling has been shown to boost creativity and increase levels of dopamine, which helps you to focus more on the good side of things. Below is an example of a prompt you would find in a gratitude journal:

    “Train your mind to see the beauty hidden in everything. Your positivity—your graceful acceptance of life—is a choice. The happiness in your heart depends on the quality of your mental perspective. What’s one thing you could be incredibly grateful for right now if you wanted to be grateful?”

  2. 2. Goal Planning Journal

    This journal is best for anyone who has a goal in mind and needs to plan it out to stick with it. They can be themed to certain goals, such as career, weight loss and more, but each one follows the same general layout. Typically, goal journals have a page to write about the main goal with additional pages to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. Then, each day, you write about how you made progress on your goal and what steps are next. Once you reach your goal, then you reflect on the journey and can choose to start another journal for another goal.

    “I love my productivity/goal journal,” Olivia Palmer, a third-year undergraduate at the  University of Florida said. “It really helps me to look back and see all that I have accomplished.”

    “It also helps me to not get overwhelmed by my overarching goal and break it into manageable tasks each month,” Palmer said.

    She specifically recommends the Panda Journal for its easy layout and opportunity to specifically list priorities for the day. However, there are many to choose from and even ones tailored to specific goals, such as exercising. Below is an example of a prompt you would find in a goal journal:

    “How long might it be before I see any noticeable results from pursuing and meeting this goal? Do I have the resources—energy, time, money, willpower—to follow through with this goal?”

  3. 3. Wreck Journal

    These journals are meant to be for those who struggle to finish journaling or are afraid to mess up with their writing. As opposed to serious prompts, these journals seek to take the person out of their head and engage in the creative process freely. Prompts can range anywhere from painting with coffee to ripping out pages of the journal for fun. This journal is perfect for anyone just starting with journaling as it provides a way to get rid of the feeling of ‘failing’ at journaling. It serves as a fun stress relief instead of being another chore on your to-do list. I recommend ‘Wreck This Journal’ by Kerri Smith as it is easy to follow along and the original wreck journal. Below is a prompt that you might find in these kinds of journals:

    “Find a way to wear the journal.”

There are a plethora of journals out there that take five minutes or less to do each day and can provide whatever you may be feeling in the moment. I encourage you all to find one that is suited to your needs, especially if it will make you happier in your day-to-day life. After all, why wait until you are unhappy--start now!