Personal Development

Handwriting vs Typing: Best Practice For Journaling

Handwriting vs Typing: We all have empty, unused notebooks lying in our cabinets or storage drawers that we don’t use or aren’t planning to use anytime soon especially due to rapid advancements in technology and the invention of ‘Microsoft word’ or ‘google docs’ where everything can be written, sketched, and stored into database servers. Virtually anything we document is stored in endless storage computing services such as iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, etc and can be accessed anywhere in the world (considering you have a stable internet connection). Although it is true that typing and storing information on electronic devices is efficient and poses great benefits, we have forgotten that handwriting information, especially our thoughts allows for achieving mindfulness and truly connecting with the words. 

Natalie Goldberg once said, “ Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart.” In today’s world, people opt for utilizing resources that save time, money and allow for the generation of more profit however we fail to take a step back and truly understand what it is that we are documenting and storing into this virtual world. In recent times, journaling has been given a lot of importance to achieve mindfulness and is even known to be an excellent self-care practice. As a result, a foray of applications and software have been created to the users liking to journal online or offline on their electronic devices. Although it is at times a convenient form of documenting our feelings and thoughts, it can be seen that physically writing in a journal is known to provide greater benefits ( The benefits have been compiled into two major categories; mindfulness and connection).

Read Also: How to Practice Mindfulness [Effective Steps]

Mindfulness & Connection:

One of the prime reasons people begin to journal is to gain clarity on their thoughts, reflect, and most importantly be fully present at that time allowing uncomfortable feelings and other distractions to be written down on paper without feeling overwhelmed; essentially what mindfulness means. Now, an average human is known to type much faster than they write which means that when one keeps an electronic journal, they do record their thoughts, feelings or document any prompts, however, they aren’t truly connected to the words when they type nor are they able to optimally learn from them. On the other hand, when one physically hand writes their thoughts, emotions and essentially ‘dump’ all the clutter they have stored in their minds, it allows their brain to truly connect to the words and be more intentional with its meaning (Deutsch, 2017; see also Jury, n.d.). Moreover, as journaling by hand allows for tangibility, there are numerous studies that kinesthetic and tactile moves trigger the release of different neurotransmitters in the brain and engages the collection of links around the brain known as the ‘reading circuit’(Deutsch, 2017; see also Jury, n.d.).

Now that the prime benefits of hand journaling have been laid out for you, I want you to hear me out on this…. Take any notebook lying around and engage in one of the following prompts each day either in the morning before you leave for work/school, or at night before you sleep. I know there are many excuses for physically handwriting in journals ranging from “I have bad handwriting” to “it takes too much time and my spelling is really bad as well”. To all these excuses I’m going to have to tell you one thing….. “Make excuses or make improvements, the choice is yours” (n.d) If you want to grow as an individual, you are going to have to learn how to go out of your comfort zone and reach out for your goals. 

Journaling Ideas:

Here are some prompts that you can write about to begin your path into self-discovery (“50 Journal Prompts, n.d.):

  1. What does your dream life look like? Describe it in detail.
  2. What does your ideal day look like?
  3. At this moment, what are four things you are grateful for?
  4. What limiting beliefs are holding you back from living your dream life?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 6 months? A year? 5 years? 10 years? (Highly recommended prompt!)
  6. What are the 10 things you love about yourself? Why? (Again, a very highly recommended prompt!)
  7. If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
  8. What distractions are hindering your productivity?
  9. Who do you look up to the most? Why?
  10. When do you feel most in tune with yourself?
  11. What do you need more of in your life?
  12. What actions can you take today to simplify your life? 
  13. Did you do anything recently to move past your comfort zone? How did you feel?
  14. What would you regard to be your biggest mistake or regret in life? What have you learnt from it?
  15. How have you changed in the last two years? 

Here are some things you can do with your empty notebooks as a self-care practice (Hart, 2019):

  1. One sentence a day ( at the end of the day, describe how your whole day went or what you felt in exactly one sentence) 
  2. Scrapbook
  3. Sketchbook
  4. Morning Pages
  5. Bucket List
  6. Dream Journal
  7. Vision or Mood Board (Highly Recommended!)
  8. Habit Tracker 
  9. Bullet Journal (Highly Recommended!)

Those are some ideas that you can use to gain inspiration… Please remember that it’s the effort and a start which matters, you don’t have to be perfect as we are meant to make mistakes and learn!

Also Read: How to Write a Journal [8 Steps]

Shekhaa Hameed
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Shekhaa Hameed

An aspiring lawyer and entrepreneur currently pursuing a double major in International Relations and Economics. She has been a guest speaker for the World Tolerance Summit and aims to bring a positive change to society.

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