How to journal for intentional living - Deepstash

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Use the right journaling type for the job

Use the right journaling type for the job

All types of journaling are helpful in gathering data about your inner and outer worlds.

It just depends on your current needs and context.

3 types of journaling to have in your toolkit:

  1. Rant Journaling
  2. Prompts-based Journaling
  3. Brain Dump Journaling


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🤬 Purge Poisons with Rant Journaling

Instead of suppressing negative emotions, let everything out on paper:

  • Curse and swear about the situation
  • Rant about the “could haves” and “should haves”

Stop writing the moment you feel like you’ve run out of things to say.

Don’t read what you just wrote. Instead, step back from your journal:

  • 💆‍♀️ Wash your face
  • 🥛 Drink some water
  • 🔥 Burn the pages (optional)
  • 🤔 Think about how to move forward, using prompts or brain dumping (see below)


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🧪 Collect Data with Prompt Journaling

Prompts are useful for:

  • Tracking your progress over time
  • Revealing limiting beliefs and blind spots
  • Providing a starting direction for your writing
  • Thinking about a situation in novel and productive ways

For more details on what to track for greater self-awareness and goal achievement, check out this Stash:

You should find yourself using prompt journaling most of the time, such as for your periodic (daily, weekly, etc.) reviews.


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Tips for better prompt journaling

  • Use the same prompts for your periodic reviews. This lets you easily compare your progress across periods.
  • Keep things simple. You don’t have to use all the questions suggested by ChatGPT, a blog post, or a guided journal.

As a rule of thumb, prompts should:

  1. Be relevant to your present situation
  2. Leave you feeling neutral or refreshed, not drained
  3. Help you organize your thoughts, not trigger a thought spiral


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💡 Breakthrough with Brain Dump Journaling

Brain dumping, also known as “stream of consciousness” journaling or Morning Pages, has 2 simple rules:

  1. Write whatever comes to mind until you reach your “goal”
  2. Keep writing even if you can’t think of anything to write

It’s like rant journaling, but without the intense negative emotions.

Instead, you’re driven by a goal—usually a target page count or word count.

Forcing yourself to keep writing is what helps you get unstuck.


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How to solve problems using Brain Dumps

Write down, as many as you can:

  1. Information you have about the situation
  2. Details of your desired outcome
  3. Possible ways to change the situation—even if the solutions seem unrealistic

Then, implement one of the solutions in Step 3 and collect data on whether it works.

Bonus: You can also use prompts to kickstart your brain dump.


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Want more ideas like this?

You might like my newsletter, Tea for Thought!

I'm on a mission to implement life-tweaking ideas for designing and living an intentional life.

For every concept I discover, I strive to find examples and stories from my own life. This newsletter issue was inspired by 10 years of personal journaling experience.

Come learn with me :)


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Developer of solutions, people, and self / Living in 7 countries in 4 years of CS undergrad at Minerva University / Intentional living newsletter 👇🏼


Here's a simple toolkit for using journaling to manage your emotions, track your progress, and get unstuck.


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