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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Sturdy

Can journaling really help me?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

How do you tend to the garden of your brain? 🌱 This past month, I’ve had the chance to visit many parks and gardens in Paris, Oslo and old favorites in Trondheim.


Visiting these gardens, I’ve seen how much love, care, and intentionality have gone into creating masterpieces of color and vibrant spring life.


Sometimes my brain feels like the opposite of these gardens- swirling doubts, fears, and worries.


The sometimes hot mess that is the garden of my brain, greatly benefits from journaling. I have journaled off and on my whole life. Since leaving teaching, I have worked to incorporate journaling into my daily routine. This blog's first draft was an email to my clients, many of whom were asking for tips and tools for journaling.


Here are some journaling prompts that have served me and my clients well:


10 Journaling Prompts:

  1. What are 10 things I am grateful for today?

  2. What did I do today? What am I proud of?

  3. What did I learn about myself today?

  4. Who do I want to be today? I am…

  5. What values do I want to honor today? What is my purpose?

  6. Am I being a good boss to myself? What does my brain/body/work most need?

  7. What do I want to say yes and no to today?

  8. What emotions are showing up, and what is happening in my body?

  9. What am I thinking/worrying/dreaming about?

  10. What negative self-talk is on repeat? What do I want to say back?

Weekend (or end-of-month) Journaling Prompts


  1. What are my top 3 accomplishments from last week?

  2. What worked well last week? What didn’t?

  3. What do I want to stop, start, keep, or improve?

  4. What are my top 3 priorities in the coming week?

  5. What do I need and want to adjust in my calendar and to-do lists?

These above questions aren’t magical, but regular reflection and journaling can bring a sense of calm to our brains.

Journaling can help us identify the weeds, where we could prune, where we need water, and what we want to plant and replant.


Getting ideas out of our heads and onto paper makes them much easier to evaluate, discredit, and refer back to.

A cheap notebook and pen/pencil went well, but there is also something magical about a new journal and a pen in your favorite color/brand/style.

A key to making journaling work for you is to view it (like gardening) as an experiment.

What do you need/want? What forms of journaling are working well for you?

There is no right or wrong here - just you give your brain the gift of getting your thoughts on paper!


Do you have a journaling practice? Do you have a favorite journal or journal prompt? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!



Top tools from me and my friends/clients:


  1. https://www.thepositiveplanners.com/ (I've used yellow and orange in the past)

  2. https://fullfocus.co/planner/ - what I currently use - pictured here is the template I've made for myself.

  3. https://fullfocusstore.com/products/full-focus-journal-single

  4. 5 Minute Journal App

  5. https://www.amazon.com/5-year-journal/s?k=5+year+journal

  6. PQ App- journal feature




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