5 Types of Journals for Women You’ll Love

Check out these five types of journals for women and experience, calm, clarity and creativity!

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

best journals for women

ADDICTED TO JOURNALING

My first diary was given to me by my aunt when I was seven years old. It had a slick, squishy cover with music notes on the front and cursive lettering to spell out MY DIARY. The pages were pink and the book came with a lock and a heart-shaped key.

I loved that diary. I filled it out quickly and bought another. And another. And another.

I progressed from childhood diaries to high school gossip notebooks to prayer journals and personal growth trackers. My journals cover everything from field trips in elementary school to the birth of my children.

Every few years, I pile them around me and sift through memories of summers spent rollerblading and trips to my grandparents’ lake house. Of winter blizzards in Virginia and days off school, building snow forts and organizing sledding competitions.

Journaling is my way to express creativity, savor treasured memories and vent or analyze a situation. Most times, I finish with a sense of calm and peace when I’m stressed or the gusto to get started on a personal project.

JOURNALING IS GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how beneficial journaling was for dealing with anxiety and has been recommended to me over and over again through books I’ve read and advice from my counselor.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, all opinions are my own. Here are a few things I’ve researched about the benefits of journaling:

5 TYPES OF JOURNALS FOR WOMEN

1. BRAIN DUMP JOURNALS

Brain dump journals are the classic books you think of when you think about journaling. These allow you to explore emotions and feelings without restraint and provide an opportunity to analyze a situation. I also tape in letters, photos and small keepsakes. There’s no limit to what you can do write on these blank pages!

Best journals for women

Best journals for women

2. GRATITUDE JOURNALS

When life starts to spin out of control, it’s hard to see the good in the everyday. Gratitude journals are useful when I’m creating a habit of negative thinking. These journals change my attitude from self-pity to self-motivation.

Entries can be as short as a word, or as long as a story to tell what went well in your day, or what you’re thankful for. They are an excellent record to reflect back on when you’re overwhelmed.

best journals for women best journals for women Best journals for women

3. GUIDED JOURNALS

Guided journals are my favorite because they inspire me to be creative and each one is unique in its focus. These journals give you prompts and motivation throughout to help if you don’t know where to start.

Best journals for women Best journals for women

4. BULLET JOURNALS

Bullet journals are a blank canvas for right-brained creatives as well as left-brain methodical types. There’s no limit on what you can track with these!

Here are a few ways I’ve used them:

  • Keep track of books read during the year
  • List of movies and shows to try
  • Habit tracker
  • Design your own calendar layout
  • Page to add post it note reminders
  • Reference for favorite Bible verses or quotes
  • Checklist for reaching goals

5. PRAYER JOURNALS

Prayer journals are becoming more popular and a great way to grow spiritually! Some just have pretty covers and allow you to create your own format, while others guide you through the process.

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Happy Writing!

best journals for women

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Tips on Being Present from Headspace Founder, Andy Puddicombe

Grab my notes from “Meditation and Mindfulness” and see what Andy Puddicombe (the founder of Headspace) has to say about being present.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Andy from headspace

FROM PAIN CATASTROPHIZING TO MEDITATION

I have had a fascination with meditation and mindfulness ever since I struggled with chronic pain. My illness left me panicky, worried and anxious at all times. I could never stay in the moment and deal with it in baby steps. Everything went immediately to worst-case scenarios and what ifs.

While my pain has improved (or at least my reaction to it), this year has thrown us all for a loop in how we deal with fear and anxiety. You may not be dealing with physical pain like I do, but to some degree, we all deal with some form of worry.

The best way I have learned to combat my own anxiety, is through learning about meditation and mindfulness–the practice of being present in the moment and learning how to deal with your thoughts in a healthy way. Mindfulness emcompasses so much more than gratitude and slowing down, and I feel like there’s no better teacher to get you started on this than Andy Puddicombe, the founder of my favorite app, Headspace.

Andy’s book, “Meditation and Mindfulness” walks you through his story as a college dropout turned circus performer turned monk—yes, you read that right—and how he learned about the transformative practice of meditation.

His story takes the intimidation out of meditation and equips you with realistic tools for helping you cultivate a healthier mental state through simple daily practices.

“We don’t think twice about exercising our bodies and yet the well-being of the mind tends to take a back seat.”

-ANDY PUDDICOMBE, FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE
Andy from headspace

MY NOTES FROM “MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS” BY ANDY PUDDICOMBE

WHAT DO PEOPLE USE MEDITATION FOR?

  • To relieve day to day stress
  • As a way to practice mindfulness and learning to be present
  • As a tool toward deeper spiritual growth
  • To help improve relationships with others

SAMPLE PRACTICES OF MEDITATION

  • Practice do nothing
  • Tune into your senses
  • Observe your physical sensations
  • Focus on good and bad sensations
  • Awareness of your feelings
  • Mental body scan

“[Meditation is] about training in awareness and understanding how and why you think and feel the way you do, and getting a healthy sense of perspective in the process.”

-ANDY PUDDICOMBE, FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE

ANALOGIES FOR DEALING WITH YOUR THOUGHTS

  • BUSY HIGHWAY (learning not to chase the cars, but simply observe and let them pass by)
  • BLUE SKY (that the thoughts may come and go, but the blue sky is always there if you look for it)
  • THE WILD HORSE (reigning in your thoughts slowly and gently instead of with force and anger)

RESEARCH ON MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS

  • Many mental health professionals recommend mindfulness-based meditation techniques to their patients.
  • Meditation triggers areas of the brain related to happiness.
  • Mindfulness reduces negative emotions.
  • Meditation lowers the stress-response in the body.
  • Mindfulness helps with reducing anxiety.
  • Meditation helps with pain sensitivity.
  • Meditation helps combat destructive impulses.
  • Mindfulness helps you focus on tasks.
  • Meditation aids in falling asleep.
  • Meditation helps improve age-related mental declines.

“When we feel angry the world can look very threatening: we see situations as obstacles and other people as enemies. And yet when we feel happy, the world can appear as quite a friendly place…The world around us has not changed that much, but our experience of that world is radically different.”

-ANDY PUDDICOMBE, FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE

BASIC STEPS TO A MEDITATION PRACTICE

  1. Get comfortable
  2. Start with deep breathing
  3. Count your breaths (this is where the longest part of the practice and focus is)
  4. Let the mind wander for a minute
  5. Gently open your eyes

“It can sometime feel as though we’re so busy remembering, planning and analyzing life, that we forget to experience life–as it actually is, rather than how we think it should be.”

-ANDY PUDDICOMBE, FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE
Andy from headspace

EXAMPLES OF MINDFULNESS DURING THE DAY

Being mindful simply means that you’re giving full attention to whatever you’re doing. It’s a practice of being present in the moment, instead of thinking about where you’d rather be or wishing things were different. Here are a few examples:

  • “Walking meditation” where you observe the things around you without getting distracted by your thoughts
  • Giving your full and undivided attention to someone when they’re speaking instead of waiting for your chance to talk
  • Enjoying an activity your kids choose to do together instead of wishing they’d pick something different
  • Eating a meal without watching TV or checking your phone
  • Absorbing yourself in a good book on Sunday night rather than stressing that it’s almost Monday morning
  • Being in tune to the smells while cooking a meal instead of rushing to get it done

10 SKILLS FROM BEING PRESENT AND LIVING MINDFULLY

  1. Perspective
  2. Communication
  3. Appreciation
  4. Kindness
  5. Compassion
  6. Balance
  7. Acceptance
  8. Composure
  9. Dedication
  10. Presence

“Just because we experience a thought doesn’t mean we have to react to it, or act upon it…we actually have the ability not to take thoughts too seriously.”

-ANDY PUDDICOMBE, FOUNDER OF HEADSPACE

ORDER THE BOOK

To order your own copy of “Meditation and Mindfulness” by Andy Puddicombe, click here:

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Happy Reading!

Andy from headspace

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How to Ease Anxiety with Meditation

Meditation helps ease anxiety by allowing you to reboot your mind and relax your body. Step back and breathe to assess your day.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The following information is for general informational and educational purposes only and it is not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before taking any actions based upon such information, I expressly recommend that you seek advice from a medical professional.

MEDITATION IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK

When I first heard about meditating, I imagined a bunch of hippies sitting around chanting, and frankly it weirded me out.

My ignorant mind had made assumptions of something I really knew nothing about. However, as I dealt with anxiety from my chronic pain, the practice of meditation kept coming up. I had already been a fan of yoga and was doing it regularly for years.

When you cool down in yoga, you end with a few minutes lying still on your back, eyes closed, focused on slow, deep breathing. Turns out, I was already doing a form of meditation–and honestly, this relaxation time at the end of my yoga practice was my favorite. It was the time when I could focus on completely relaxing every part of my body and calming my mind to prepare for the rest of the day.

Meditation anxiety

Eventually it was the claims that meditation can help people deal with anxiety and chronic pain that kept me interested. 

According to The Mindfulness Journal,  pain in the body is also felt in the mind, and meditation can be used to lessen your discomfort. Meditation “can help decrease some of the stress and inflammation that often makes the hurt worse, while giving you some control over your reaction to pain and discomfort.”

Mindful Magazine states that “science has confirmed that slow, deep breathing calms by reducing heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. The result? Your body relaxes and your mind quiets.”

LET’S GET STARTED!

It’s best to start with a guided meditation than to figure it out for yourself. Try some free sessions with my favorite mindfulness app, Headspace.

Remember, you’re new at this, so be nice to yourself. Not every session is going to be successful. Many times you’ll feel relaxed while others you’ll feel frustrated that you were distracted or that the meditation didn’t completely take away your anxiety. You can’t force yourself to have a quiet mind, it takes practice. Don’t try to change your thoughts, just acknowledge them and let them pass on by.

Here are a few tips when meditating: 

  • Use sounds: You may prefer silence when you meditate, while other times you may enjoy listening to music or nature sounds. Studies have shown that music therapy can reduce depression and boost your mood.
  • Use scents: Try experimenting with different scents during meditation. This extra distraction is beneficial for me especially if I’m anxious or in pain. If you use essential oils, you can put them on your body or diffuse them. If you don’t have any, try spraying perfume or lighting a scented candle.
Meditation anxiety

1. OBSERVE YOUR THOUGHTS

Pretend you are sitting at the edge of a river and your thoughts are like leaves passing by in the stream. Observe them and then let them pass. Nothing more. Don’t engage them, don’t analyze them, just refocus on the stream when you find your mind wandering.

You can use the same concept with watching the clouds float by. Try to envision a sky full of clouds. Place your stray thoughts on the clouds as they pass. The more you are aware of your thoughts, the more you’ll notice them jumping from one thing to the next. Use your awareness to bring yourself back to the present. Close your eyes and continue to focus completely on the moment.

Meditation anxiety

2. VISUALIZATION

Sometimes I use my meditation time to come up with a plan and visualize it instead of trying to clear my mind of passing thoughts. It’s so rewarding to visualize success and then watch it play out in real life.

Other times I just want to chill out at the beach. So I envision my favorite vacation, drink in hand, sun on my skin, toes in the sand…and then go back to cleaning the bathrooms.

For days that you are feeling anxious about a situation, you can even repeat a mantra, which is a word or phrase set to focus you on your goals and attitude for the day.

Some phrases could be:

  • I am safe and loved.
  • My body is healing more every day.
  • Others can depend on me.
  • I am organized and self-disciplined.
  • I am a leader and visionary.
  • My hope is in Jesus.
  • I am positive and encouraging.
Meditation anxiety

3. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH

In guided meditations about pain, you “breathe into the spot that has pain” so that you relax. I combine visualization with deep breathing. I envision my blood vessels, heart and lungs being coated with a red color while I control my inhales and exhales. With each inhalation, my breath fills my body with a beautiful green color and then pushes out the red more and more with each exhalation. I envision strong healthy breaths transforming my body and strengthening it more everyday.

According to Breathe Magazine, “Taking time to learn how to breathe effectively can help to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and maintain focus. Breathing is the link between body and mind just as your breath is influenced by your thoughts and emotions. They, in turn, are influenced by the pattern and speed of the breath. For example, anxiety, worry and upset cause the breathing to become faster. If you consciously slow your breathing to a gentle wave-like pattern, you can soothe your nerves, settle your thoughts, and begin to calm yourself down.”

4. BODY SCAN

Many times we don’t realize the origin of our stress or tension until we lay still for a minute. When I use guided meditation body scans, they help me relax even tiny places that hold tension. Until I practiced with guidance, I wasn’t able to fully relax. I am now aware of tension even in my eyes, lips, jaw, nose, forehead, fingers, shoulders, wrists, ankles and toes. If you just give yourself five minutes to breathe, regroup and assess what your body needs, you can make better choices for yourself.

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So call me a hippie, but I’m all in on this meditation for anxiety thing. If you take the time to soften your thoughts and slow down, I promise your mind will thank you for it. I’ve created a Printable Bible Study on Fear and Anxiety to help direct your thoughts back to the One who knows you best. You can purchase it here:

Have a relaxing day!

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