Tips for Making Jewish Journaling a Routine

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Routine The best way to ensure that journaling works fo...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ten Types of Jewish Journals to Create

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

Ten Types of Journals You Can Create 

When you begin journaling it will likely occur to you that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep everything organized better. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions. 

1. Bullet Journals – This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.

2. Vision Journals – You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement. 

3. Line a Day Journals – Basically this journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this. 

4. Classic Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you maybe kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily. 

5. Prayer Journal – This is my favorite type of journal! I write letters to God because some of my prayers are easier to wrtie than to speak. Try it! Write your prayers in a journal so you remember them and can look back on them.


6. Dream Journal – Some people really like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life. If you want to track your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.

7. Food Journal – Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and things like that.

8. Travel Journal – A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pics, and memories.

9. Gratitude Journal – This is a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for. Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively. Sometimes we can take our negative thoughts and turn them positive by thanking God for the best outcome instead of asking for a particular change.

10. Project or Holiday Journal – This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects and wants to journal Jewish holidays. This blog is really the story of my first Elul Junk Journal, for the final month on the Hebrew calendar.

Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data, will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement. 

And keeping a journal for each Jewish holiday is something you can build on an add to each year when the holiday comes around again. Here's a good post on journaling for Elul.

If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.

And HOW you compile your journal is another fun consideration. This video gives a good explanation of the difference between smash books, junk journals and art journals. 



How Jewish Journaling Can Help with Achieving Your Goals

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul


How Journaling Can Help with Achieving Your Goals

Journaling can help you achieve your goals because it will remind you to think about them, consider the why and how, and delve deeper into the situation so that you can examine all sides of it. It's well established that journaling can help us achieve our goals.

* It Reminds You to Write Down Your Goals – When you start a journal, it basically is a way to force yourself to document your goals. Whether you write them down on paper or you use technology to get it all down doesn’t matter. Once they’re written, they are ready to tackle.

* It Makes You Consider Why and How – As you enter data into your journal, you’ll be forced to face the why and how of your goal. This is especially true if you write down a goal and focus on it in your journal. Journaling is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Staring at the page, I know I must face my thoughts and feelings in order to learn and grow.

* It Enables You to Examine the Opportunities and Threats – When you are focused on goal making with your journal, you’ll also explore opportunities and threats coming your way due to your goals. It helps you avoid roadblocks in advance by turning threats into opportunities whenever possible.

* It Makes You Develop Steps for Success Based on Your Goals – When you see it written down, you’ll want to notice and pull out any steps you’ve developed in your journal and put them in your calendar for scheduling. This really works, especially if you put a calendar right inside your junk journal.

* It Helps You Improve Goal Setting and Achievement – Each time you intentionally set goals, define steps to achieve the goals and perform them, you are setting yourself up for success. Seeing your goals and seeing the path to achieve them is how we improve our skills. 

* It Provides Accountability – Even if no one else is reading your journal, a private journal can help you become accountable to yourself. If you develop the habit of looking at your journal each day and writing in it, drawing in it or adding a piece each day, it’ll work for you. Junk journaling is great for helping you become more accountable. 

* It Provides a Permanent Record – Keeping a lovely record of the things you’ve done in your life, whether it’s personal or work, is a beautiful thing. Hardly anyone has a perfect memory, so you’ll maintain the lessons you've learned and enjoy the memories of your personal growth.

* It May Be Inspirational – Depending on the nature of your journal, you might even be able to take the artwork and the information inside and compile it into a published book for others to read. You could inspire others, or possibly teach others from the steps you've taken on your junk journal journey.

Most of all, I inspire myself! I take responsibility for my own inspiration and motivation by creating my Jewish junk journal pages daily.

While journaling is an excellent way to work toward achieving all your goals, it will also help you make better goals because the process of entering facts and feelings in your journal will cause you to see them in a more logical way, which is useful. 

Combine your Jewish journaling with Jewish kindness toward 
yourself and you'll have something special. I am going to talk about kindness here because it's one of my personal goals. 




There are two parts to my focus on kindness, which are 1) kindness to myself, and 2) kindness to others. There's a reason I put myself first, and it's not selfish at all. It's because I must be kind to myself first in order to be available and open to offer kindness to others.

Many of us are taught that behind every smile there is an ulterior motive, and we are suspicious and skeptical of others who are kind to us, but we can change.

Kindness does not equal weakness. And being kind to ourselves does not equal selfishness.

On the contrary, it takes strength and courage to practice to be kind to the person in the mirror.

When we're kind to ourselves it makes a difference in our lives, and in some ways we can see the difference it makes.

Jewish kindness, which is God's lovingkindness reflected through us, can help us succeed in many ways:

Kindness increases confidence. Studies show that kindness increases our self-worth and our productivity, meaning the kindness we extend toward ourselves as well as toward others.


Kindness creates a ripple effect. Kindness is contagious, fostering more kindness in our lives and the lives of others.

Kindness evokes a sense of trust, in ourselves and in others.

Studies show that leaders who are kind and project warmth are more effective than those who lead by being tough. Jewish leaders know the power of a mitzvah, a good deed, and of lovingkindness, known as chesed.

Kindness bridges gaps between people. It can reach across barriers in language, gender, locality, religion and anything else that causes people to miscommunicate. We all need kindness to get along in this world now.


Kindness is the secret to a successful and fulfilling life. Jewish kindness starts with kindness to the person in the mirror, and extends out to the people in our home, and in our community and our world.

Jewish Journaling to Help Combat Loneliness

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

Journaling to Help Combat Loneliness

It really doesn’t matter what your issue is, if you want to overcome it you can find a way to use journaling to help. 

You can set up a certain type of journal, like a gratitude journal for example. It will help you become more thankful for what you do have, and you can also keep a bullet journal to acquire and accomplish what you want but do not yet have.

You can set goals to overcome the loneliness you’re experiencingm too, More social connections will help, but more connection to God may help even more. 

Let's look in more detail at how journaling can help combat loneliness:

Allows You to Explore Your Thoughts and Feelings

Journaling, especially junk journaling with an artistic component, can help to focus on expressing your thoughts and feelings creatively. Creative expression is a powerful form of healing loneliness.

Gives You a Way to Express Your Thoughts and Feelings

Writing is a time-honored way of expressing thoughts and feelings safely. You never have to let anyone read it or share it in any way. You can write in the form of letters to people, or to yourself, or to God (my favorite form of journaling.) 

Provides a Way to Understand Your Thoughts and Feelings

Sometimes you may not even know what you are feeling. It can be hard to understand and express what we feel, even to ourselves. But when you focus on writing it down or drawing or painting pictures it can help you understand yourself in a new way, from a new direction that you may not have considered.



Helps Foster Social Connections

It might seem odd, but writing can even help you foster social connections. The main reason is that as you read through what you’ve written, you’re going to discover ways to overcome your situation to find the healthy social connections you need.

And, junk journaling is a wonderfully social activity if you choose to get involved with other people who are also making creative, artistic journals.

Helps You See the Big Picture More Easily

Looking back at the things you’ve written over time provides insight into the situation. You may see things you never saw coming. Having your journal(s) to look back gives you a way to see a bigger picture. 

Honestly, although you may feel super lonely today, it’s a step in the direction of feeling contentment, which lets you know it’s going to get even better from here.

Provides a Means to Understand and Organize Your Thoughts

Writing things down, especially when you choose to journal regularly, will help you capture your thoughts in a way that works for you. 

It may be organized or it may be wildly artistic and unorganized. When your thoughts are a jumble, you might not see the real point But it will help you sort out your issues with loneliness and your alternatives moving forward.

You’ll Sharpen Your Observation Skills

Once you develop the journaling habit, something amazing will happen. Your observation skills will be sharper and you’ll have an easier time coming up with descriptive and expressive words to use in your journal. This is going to lead to even more breakthroughs with more clarity and vision.

Focuses Your Gratitude Skills

Something funny happens when writing in a journal, even if it’s not specifically a gratitude journal. As you’re writing (even if you’re upset), you’ll become calmer - especially when you read it back. You’ll become grateful for what you do have that is positive in your life, even if it’s simply the ability to breathe in and out today.

If you want to combat loneliness, consider writing about and exploring why you feel lonely. You can choose to remember the definition of "loneliness" to ensure that this is what you are really experiencing. No one ever needs to be lonely, even when they are alone, if they know how to work through their thoughts and feelings. Jewish journaling can help with that.

And adding an artistic touch to your journaling gives even more life and sparks of joy to your journal. Tara Jacobsen is a great example of artistic journaling in action.

Another tactic to overcome loneliness is to practice being kind to yourself. Just as you would show kindness to another person, demonstrate kindness to YOU.

How To Regain A Sense Of Jewish Belonging Through Self-Kindness

Jews want to feel a sense of belonging to a tribe. When we belong, we are accepted as a member of the tribe.


A sense of belonging is a normal human need, even more pronounced for Jewish humans. When we feel like we belong, we feel our life has value, and we are able to cope with our emotions better. 

Sometimes though, we lose our sense of belonging.

Even introverts are social beings. And the quality of all our relationships is affected by our mental, physical and emotional health. 

As researcher and author BrenĂ© Brown explains, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” Especially to experience those emotions toward and with our Almighty God.


Regaining a Sense of Belonging
One way to help regain a sense of belonging is through kindness. And that most definitely includes kindness to ourselves.

Kindness releases the feel-good hormone. It makes us feel happier and improves our overall demeanor. Here are some ways to regain a sense of belonging:

Be kind to others. It's a mitzvah! Contribute to the lives of others by offering to listen as a sounding board for them. This brings happiness and connectedness to us and to others.

Have compassion for those who are different from you. Spend time helping others who are have different lives and needs than you have.


Let go of judgments that build walls. Focus on people by connecting with them. No one is perfect, and we all have struggles.

Be kind in your words and in your way of thinking. Use words that offer strength, compassion, acceptance and caring.

Begin building healthy relationships with others using kindness. Healthy relationships are important to our sense of well-being.
Give and receive compliments with kindness.

Be compassionate of others who are suffering.

Begin doing things that bring you peace and joy, starting with being kind to yourself.

Accept a sincere compliment for what it truly is - an act of genuine caring and kindness.

We all want to feel like we belong. Kindness to both yourself and to others is one of the easiest ways to begin gaining your sense of belonging back.

How to Make Your Jewish Journaling More Effective

Jewish Junk Journaling for Elul - BEFORE

How to Make Your Journaling More Effective

Any type of journal that you keep can be beneficial. It doesn’t matter if it’s just to document your life or to work through problems - you can use a journal to do it all. From tracking your projects to documenting vacation to overcoming anxiety, a journal will work for you if you pick the right type and make journaling a ritual. 

* Find the Right Medium for You – For some people, that’s pen and paper. Many experts claim that’s the best way because of its simplicity. However, you have to do what works for you, and what works for you is what you will do daily. If you make it too hard, you won’t do it.

* Turn Journaling Daily into a Habit – To be most effective, journaling has to go on for a long time. It’s a long-term strategy to improve your life and not something that is going to have any effect overnight. For this reason, ritualize your journaling so that it becomes a daily habit.

* Set Up a Comfy Journaling Spot – Find a good space you can journal in each day, one which is relaxing and without stress. Some people like to keep their journal by their bedside so that each night when they get into bed, they can quickly write in their journals. 

* Choose the Right Style of Journal for Your Needs – The type of journal you want to keep depends on how you plan to use it. You may want to track a project, in which case you’ll need a project journal. If you want to simply document your life, you’d want a classic journal. 

* Use Your Journal to Work Through Life and Reach Goals – Don’t just write in the journal; actively seek to improve something in your life - whether it’s the thoughts which drive your feelings or improving your actions so that you experience more success.


Jewish Junk Journaling Page for Elul - AFTER

* Consider Using More Than Writing to Document Your Life – You don’t need to just use text. You can use images, pictures, tickets, and other memories inside your journal too. Sometimes a few pictures and mementos mean more than anything you can write to help you remember.

* Read and Reflect Occasionally – Take at least a few minutes to re-read parts of your journal. Once you’ve kept it for a year, it’s fun to go back and read the same day from last year to find out what’s different now and what’s the same and why.

* Keep Your Journal Secure – You don’t want to worry about anyone getting into your private business when you’re not around, so keep it hidden. If it’s on your computer, keep it password protected. 

If you know why you want to journal, it’ll be easier to figure out which type of journal you need to keep to make your journaling more effective. Sometimes you just want to document your life, while other times you want to work through something difficult. It really depends on your goals and the point of the journal.

One way to boost your journaling and make it more effective is to focus on kindness. Kindness is like gratitude, it's alway appropriate and it's always in season!

In your personal journaling, the kindness I'm talking about is directed toward YOU. Meaning, it's about you being kind to yourself.

Try reading what follows here with this idea in mind - Today I am going to journal and practice kindness to myself.

You know how you fell when you have a tough day and a stranger smiles at you?

Did you know it works if you stand before a mirror and smile? Try it!

Even this small act of kindness toward the person in the mirror (you) can make a huge impact on your life. Especially if you make a habit of it.

Watch for the effects of your smiling in the mirror to take effect, and then journal your results.

If you want to supercharge the effects, go ahead and speak to yourself out loud. Get started with, "I am being kind to myself today." It's easy and it's true!

Then, consider reading your journal entries to yourself in front of the mirror. At least one sentence or one paragraph. And  the ultimate tip for making your Jewish journaling more effective is to turn your journal entries into prayers to God.

You can inspire yourself with kindness at LEAST as much as you can inspire others. And you can share your personal growth in your personal prayers every day.




Jewish Journaling to Help with Stress

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

Journaling to Help with Stress

Stress affects almost everyone at some time in their lives. For some people, it’s more of a problem with their genetics and for some, it’s due to their situation. 

Whatever reason you are stressed, congratulations for recognizing it and wanting to do something about it. Here are some good ways to journal to combat your stress. You'll notice they all involve gratitude in some way. 

Write Daily for 5 to 15 Minutes

The important hing about journaling is you need to do it daily, long term, for it to be effective. It takes a lot of writing and insight to figure out why you’re dealing with your stress and how to overcome it. Choosing gratitude is the key to overcoming stress in our lives. Being grateful for God's help in overcoming my stress is a perfect way to use those 5 - 15 minutes daily.

Write about Your Worries

Go straight to the problem and write about your worries. Describe them from every single angle, the more descriptive, the better. Go back to the first time you felt this feeling regarding this topic so that you can get to the bottom of it, or simply go straight to gratitude. Yes! Thank God for solving all your worries. Write out your thanks to God as if all the worries are already gone.

Describe What’s Happening Now

Put out of your mind what you did, what someone else did, or what can be done. For now, write about precisely what is happening at this point and where you stand with the issue causing your stress. If it's generalized stress, try to make a list of things that might be contributing. And then - you guessed it - thank God for solving the situations for you. Thank God that it's already done.

Document the Worst That Can Happen

As you look at the situation, one thing that often causes stress is the unknown, or the "worst thing" that you think can happen. Describe this worst thing but make it realistic. For example, don’t make up something like an airplane falling on your wedding party. That isn’t realistic. However, bad weather, rude in-laws, and other issues may occur. Look at them and thank God for keeping those things from happening. 

Document the Best That Can Happen

Let’s get serious by thinking about and writing about the very best, realistic outcome of the situation you’re stressing about. Include potential steps and tactics to achieve this best-case scenario so that you can see it to fruition if you so choose. And then thank God for going 'way beyond what you can imagine as the best solution. It's already done.



Document What Is Really Happening

As you are writing, be very careful to be realistic and honest above all else. Besides imagining the best and worst case scenarios, ensure that you are also documenting the reality of what is happening to you right now. That way, you can identify and thank God for the solution to your present reality. You can do it! Write a thank-you note to God for helping you overcome your stress.

Write a Counter-Argument to Yourself 

A really good way to overcome your stress about a situation is to argue with yourself. First, tell your story as a letter to yourself about what is happening. Then write a letter back to yourself in answer, arguing all the negativity and turning it into positivity. If your best friend wrote that, what would you say back?

That's one technique, but my favorite letter is the one written to God, expressing genuine gratitude for taking care of my stressful situation for me. Asking God for help is what we are called to do as Jews. It is what we do in daily, weekly and annual prayers. We can do it by ourselves in our Jewish journaling, too.

It’s surprising that writing in your journal can accomplish so much, but if you go into it with the right intention and attitude, with a goal in mind, you can achieve a tremendous amount of personal growth. 

The important thing is that you need to be honest with yourself to discover the true causes of your stress. In this way, the actions you take to overcome will be effective. 

And if you choose to mix your journaling with a consistent practice of kindness, to yourself as well as to other people, you have a big advantage.

It's not hard to see that kindness seems to be missing in today’s society. People are more connected to their devices than to what is happening around them. They are self-absorbed, and kindness is often not on their mind at all. I know I am challenged that way.

According to Dr John and Julie Gottman – founders of the Gottman Institute, which studies relationships – every successful relationship is supported by kindness. 
John and Julie Gottman (photo courtesy New York Times)
Gottmans claim the most important time you should be kind is during some type of conflict, such as when you are arguing with a partner. And yet, this is the hardest time for most of us to be kind. 

“Kindness is about showing empathy, acceptance and tolerance,” explains Lawrence Stoyanowski, a Vancouver-based therapist. “It’s about being able to scan your partner for things to appreciate rather than criticize.” Stoyanowski follows the principles set out by the Gottman Institute.

Why Kindness

As children and even as adults, we look for kindness from our family and friends. We give and receive kindness every day in some form.

Kindness moves us. We remember past kindnesses done to and by us. Kindness nourishes, heals, strengthens and uplifts us.

Many studies have shown that kindness is not only a good moral value but it is also good for us whenever we are expressing kindness. It benefits our brain, body and emotions in many ways. 

Kindness is a foundation for a meaningful life. 



Here are 6 reasons why kindness is so important: 

1. Kindness makes us happier. When we perform random acts of kindness, we activate areas of pleasure, social connection and trust in our brains.

2. Kindness creates a positive loop in our mind. Kindness makes us happier and happiness makes us kinder. When we are happy, we are more likely to feel generous and kind towards others.

3. Kindness can create social connections and bonding. As humans, we’re pre-programmed to be a part of a group. Being a part of a group, a social connection of some type, enhances our physical performance and boosts mental clarity.

4. Kindness helps with the healing process. When healthcare is delivered with kindness it can hasten the healing process, thereby shortening the time it takes to heal. Kinder care-taking leads to a range of positive outcomes, including reduced pain, lowered blood pressure and less anxiety for the patient and caregivers.

5. Kindness can decrease or help prevent diseases. Kindness lowers our stress and anxiety levels and decreases pain because of the endorphins and feel-good hormones released.

Positive emotions from kindness boost your vagus nerve which regulates blood sugar. This helps the body prevent diabetes, strokes and heart disease.

6. Kindness gives us a boost. Altruism has been shown to stimulate the reward area of our brain. Studies suggest that we get a sort of high when we are being kind.

No matter how inconsequential an act of kindness may seem, it is good for each of us involved. 

How Jewish Journaling Can Help with Mental Health Issues

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul


How Journaling Can Help with Mental Health Issues

Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any mental health issues. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. 

Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue. Jewish Junk Journaling combines words and pictures/art for a lovely way express yourself and to heal.

Journal Therapy is a wonderful tool for gaining and maintaining good mental health each day, especially a prayer journal. Here are some of the reasons why:

* Boosts Your Mood – If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is a good idea. All you have to do is once a day, in the morning or evening or both, write down what you’re grateful for today. It might not seem like much, but it’s very powerful for thinking positively about your life.

* Increases Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle because you’re opening your mind to think about it. This is will contribute to a feeling of competence and being more capable of dealing with whatever happens in life.

* Lessens Symptoms of Depression – We know that depression is something different from sadness, and may require a counselor. Writing it all down can help you gain clarity and start to feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was "over" and see better days have happened and will happen again. 

* Reduces Anxiety – The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the "fight or flight" response. When you have that anxious feeling you can choose to write your feelings in your journal, pray about them, and gain some control over your reactions to your feelings.


* Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors to minimize anxiety. Everybody does it to some extent. But when we write out our feelings it helps us see and understand ourselves better.

* You’ll Sleep BetterPouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get things off your chest. However, before bed, go to the gratitude journal and write down what you’re thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that.

* Makes You a Kinder Person – Exploring your own emotional state and accepting your own feelings in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others, too. Letting go of judgment of self improves your thoughts for others also.

* Improves Your Memory – Writing helps you to explore and to remember things because you can go back and read what you've written, but also because the act of writing makes it all happen.

One thing that can really help your journaling work is to learn how to use it for prayer. That creates a habit, and you're safe because you can keep it private, unless you decide to let people see it or you decide to use it to help others. This is for you, and for sharing with God. 


Visit GeneenRoth.com for more of the brilliant Geneen.

How to Get Started Writing a Jewish Journal

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

How to Get Started Writing a Journal 

Getting started journaling isn’t something that you want to avoid. Yes, there are various types and styles of journals and ways to  keep them. What matters most is to just start. You can always change your journaling style later.

* Dust Off Your Pen and Paper – You don’t need anything special to keep a journal. In fact, purists believe that using pen and paper is the best way to journal because you can carry it with you anywhere and you don’t need technology. So, we have no excuses!

* Do It First Thing in the Morning – Don’t procrastinate about keeping your journal. It’s best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you only need five to ten minutes, so it’s not that big of a deal.

* Do It Last Thing at Night – Another time to do it is before bed. This works especially well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you’re worried about.

* Write Every Single Day – Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up as a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you're in the mood.

* Start Simply – Don’t start being worried about style and substance right now, just work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it’s easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Don’t make it hard - just get going.

* Begin with Today – Start right now and write about your day today. That’s the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same? What did you pray?

* Try Different Types of Journals – Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project. Each one of those can become a junk journal, too.

* Keep It Private – The main thing to remember about your journal is that it doesn't have to please anyone else. Unless you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counselor, or coach. Or if you want to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame. Otherwise, it's just between you and God.


Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not happened to you. Writing and making creative junk journal pages helps you remember what you did that worked, and what didn't work as well. It helps you improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.

Reaping the Benefits of a Jewish Gratitude Journal

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

Reaping the Benefits of a Gratitude Journal

It might seem like an impossible dream that writing in a journal could be so beneficial. But the scientific evidence is in, and gratitude journals do benefit you in big ways if you keep one for the long term and use it daily. 

Jewish gratitude has a Hebrew name - Hakarat Hatov. Here's a two-minute video made for parents to teach their kids about Hakarat Hatov.


Experience Stronger and More Fulfilling Relationships

It’s so simple, but it's true - You are the one who makes yourself happy with your own choices. Another person cannot make you happy or grateful. Only you can do that. 

But something amazing happens when you express gratitude in speaking to other people and in speaking to God. Your relationships simply open up and become better. Those that don’t, you start to recognize for what they are and let them go.

Become Physically Healthier 

Being grateful for the ability to move and breathe will eventually cross over into wanting to ensure that you can always do that. Therefore, you’ll be more motivated to go on walks, eat right, stay hydrated, and live in gratitude for every aspect of your life.

Increase Your Mental Dexterity 

The ability to take lemons and turn them into sweet, delightful lemonade can be gained by keeping a gratitude journal. The main reason is that you will learn to see and choose the good because you will see it clearly on the page. That requires a good imagination and creativity and thinking on your feet. And it really helps to pray your journaling out loud to God, because then you hear it as well as read it on the page.

Feel Less Aggression in Your Life

It’s hard to feel aggressive if you are happy and grateful. It’s okay to be angry about injustices in the world without being aggressive. But if you feel angry much of the time, it’s really due to not finding enough gratitude. Seeing it and writing it and speaking it out loud helps us experience genuine gratitude.

Act and Become More Empathetic 

As you write more and learn to forgive yourself as while filling up your gratitude journal, you will start seeing others differently. You’ll have more ability to put yourself in other peoples' shoes and see things from their perspective without judgment. It happens when you learn to forgive yourself.

Get More Restful Sleep 

If you fall asleep each night feeling thankful for everything you’ve experienced (or at least most of it), it’s easier to sleep because you have less anxiety. That's real gratitude, and it's a gift from God.



Get More Done Every Day

When you're feeling more rested, less stressed, and more grateful, you’ll have a lot more energy to get things done every day. That’s always going to make you feel even more thankful because good things happen to thankful people.

Feel Better about Yourself 

You can’t help but feel better about yourself when you have improved so many good qualities about yourself. Your self-esteem will go up when you express gratitude for what your mind and body can do for you.

If you want to be happier, get more done in life, and experience real joy in life, a gratitude journal can be the way to achieve it. The guiding ideal to remember is that your thoughts cause your feelings, and you are the one in control of the actions you take once you accept your feelings. Accepting that you do have control is half the battle, and your journal will make it clear that you do. 

Enhancing your journaling life by creating a Jewish junk journal is fun and effective. It's so much fun you might not be able to stop putting together beautiful cut-outs and drawing or painting on your journal pages. 

The vintage look is popular in junk journaling because it brings back happy memories, helping us express gratitude for the past as well as our current life in the present.

Tips for Making Jewish Journaling a Routine

Jewish Junk Journal for Elul

Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Routine

The best way to ensure that journaling works for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future to get answers from your prayers and your introspection. But first, you just have to start journaling. 

Journal daily to make it a habit. Combining Jewish journaling with scrapbooking or junk journaling is very easy to love. It's so much fun that you won't even have to try hard to develop a habit. Once you get started you won't want to stop! 

Let’s review a few tips for making Jewish journaling part of your daily routine. 

* Make It Easy – Make it fun and easy and it’ll be simpler to get started each day. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer, at least for most people. You can have the book in your bag, at your desk or on your bedside table, wherever you plan to write in it. 

* Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. If there's a better time for you, choose it and just do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch break at work. Or some like to wake up extra early to journal before starting the day.



* Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty so you won't be distracted.

* Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others like to journal in bed. 

* Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing might be the perfect moment for you. Choose a situation you can create, a daily thing, add journaling to it and you'll create a habit quickly. 

And if you have a favorite crafting skill, use it in your journaling, too. This is a video of my friend Rae, who loves to do calligraphy journaling and even turned it into a business.



* Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider instrumental music with no words to distract you. Relaxing music may help you gather your thoughts, stay calm and keep focused. 

Use a Particular Type of Journal – For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, or art journaling works best. Try them all to find what works for you.

* Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you desire. 

* Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month, writing in your journal daily, take some time to read what you wrote. That's an eye-opener, for sure. Especially if you prayed along with journaling. You will notice answers to your concerns and prayers after a month, which is better than any other reward.

But you could also celebrate by buying colored pens or beautiful scrapbooking materials for more journaling adventure next month.

To truly experience the full benefits of journaling, do it daily. Incorporate journaling into your everyday life and turn it into a fun easy habit. Use your journal to connect to God by praying from it and trusting in God to hear you.