Journaling has many benefits: It can reduce stress, improve mood, and help you process your deepest thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Perhaps the best part about journaling is that anyone can do it; you don’t need to be a writer or follow any rules. But there are many different methods, and it can be tricky to pick the right one you’ll stick with. That’s why we consulted the Enneagram to figure out what kind of journaling practice will resonate the most. Because each type has a specific healing journey and personality, some journaling practices may work better for other types.
Find the journaling practice recommendation for your Enneagram type below, keeping in mind that it’s exactly that—a recommendation. Journaling is highly specific to each individual and should be fun and empowering rather than something to put on your to-do list. It’s always a good idea to experiment and see what you like while using the Enneagram as a jumping-off point to inspire your growth.
Stream of Consciousness
Idealist Ones generally like rules, order, and structure. Stream of consciousness journaling, however, is none of that—which is exactly what Ones need to break out of their perfectionist mold. Popularized in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, the idea is to let your pen flow to the page without stopping until the designated time or page limit you set is up. The key is to keep going without self-editing. If your inner critic gets in the way, you might even try scripting an open dialogue with them—there may be an anger blockage to explore from holding yourself to high standards. Even if you think you have nothing to say, remember that anything goes because there are no rights or wrongs. Eventually, you’ll get into the habit of breaking through any “stuckness” and better understand why you feel a certain way.
Compassionate Twos have a lot going on under the surface. Because Twos spend their energy more focused on others, they can be out of touch with their own feelings or desires. Dream journaling is a great way for them to tap into their subconscious so they can pay better attention to their needs. Right when you wake up, write down everything you remember about your dream, from the scenery and sounds to the actual events. If you have trouble remembering your dreams, it’s OK to only write down one tiny detail. When you have enough input, you can then start drawing patterns between recurring symbols or themes. Many times, Twos have an underlying sense of shame to explore around being needy or they’re afraid to express their full selves for fear of rejection. Look out for any symbols that may point to this and learn from the information you gain about yourself.
Ambitious Threes have their eye on the prize. They’re no stranger to goal-setting or doing whatever it takes to make their dreams come true. But unlike traditional goal journaling, manifestation journaling allows Threes to align their desires with their authentic selves. Threes tend to look outside of themselves to define success or look for a quick solution to get what they want. Manifestation journaling is a slow-burn process that helps in setting goals that are more in line with your true purpose. There are several techniques for manifestation journaling, but visualization is a great place to start. In this exercise, you write out a scenario as if what you want has already happened while paying attention to how this outcome feels. From there, you can also write intentions that align with how you can embody this version of yourself to attract the opportunities that light your soul on fire.
Sensitive Fours are highly engaged with their emotions. They can also feel overwhelmed by their feelings. It’s important for Fours to feel grounded and let their emotions move through them, which is why mood journaling can be extremely beneficial. Start by identifying the name of the emotion you feel and what is contributing to it. Then, assess what action you can take to cope with it. Keep in mind that you don’t need to “fix” or solve anything; sometimes, the best plan of action is to explore what you’re feeling and let it pass through you naturally. With mood journaling, there’s a ton of room to express your artistic side: make lists, free-write, draw pictures, or create a collage if it speaks to you. Eventually, you’ll be able to draw patterns between your moods and better identify your triggers so you then have a coping toolkit in your back pocket.
Brainy Fives love systems and structures that are organized, which is everything that bullet journaling is. Fives are natural minimalists, and unlike other journaling, bullet journaling is clean and straight to the point. You can jot down details from your day, interesting things you observe, or make lists of all the books you want to read. While there’s no right or wrong way to bullet journal, Fives may be more inclined to use their journal for practical or logical reasons. However, try using it to explore your emotional side too, which can help you process all those whirling thoughts in your head—jot down feelings and physical sensations from your day. Another method to try is tracking the things that energized you versus what drained you, so you can establish healthy patterns and boundaries that push you to grow.
Worst-Case Scenario Journaling
Calculated Sixes are no stranger to worst-case scenario thinking. They’ll go through all the “what ifs” in their minds in order to prepare for everything that could happen. This is a direct response to fear, which can hold them back from feeling confident in their decisions or cause them to make impulsive decisions. Journaling is a great way for Sixes to confront their fears so they can embrace their pathway to growth: courage. When you’re feeling anxious or fearful, write out all the worst things that could happen on your page. It may feel silly or counterproductive at first, but being able to express your fears in detail is not only cathartic, but it can also help you take a step back and see that they may also be irrational. For the second part of this exercise, assess how likely this scenario is to happen and also how you’d react and handle the situation if it were to come true. This will reassure you that you are prepared and capable of handling any challenge.
Upbeat Sevens have a big appetite for life. They bounce from activity to activity and are always looking forward to whatever life may bring next. At the same time, this can cause them to miss out on all the goodness happening in the present, and it’s hard for them to be still with any challenging emotions they may experience. Gratitude journaling is a way for Sevens to slow down and reflect. This can be as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for before bed or creating positive affirmations that give you a boost of energy. Developing this habit doesn’t take much time out of your day and can help you see all the beauty that exists right in front of you while helping you become more in tune with yourself.
Confident Eights love to challenge rules, systems, or anything of injustice. They don’t shy away from confrontation and tend to maintain an image of control. Though they’re big softies on the inside, they have a very hard time letting it go when they’ve been hurt. Eights will find catharsis in writing an unsent letter to release anger. Pick someone to write a letter to who may have betrayed your trust or someone you didn’t get closure with. Whether it’s an ex, old friend, or toxic boss, this can help get everything off your chest.
While venting frustrations might come easily to you, try also focusing on what this person taught you and how you grew from the situation. Sending this person love can help you forgive and let go of the hurt (or perhaps take ownership for the hurt you may have caused someone else). If no one you want to write to comes to mind, you can also write a letter to a past version of yourself, which can be a really empowering way to heal your past wounds.
Peacemaker Nines often have their head in the clouds. While they love to dream, they struggle to take action on what they want because they focus on making others around them happy. Journaling helps them regain their power and connect with their sense of self. With art journaling, you can create collages, doodles, a vision board, or anything else that inspires you. Nines are naturally creative, but even if you’re not an artist, this can be a fun way to express yourself. Because Nines crave harmony, they can unintentionally merge with those around them and abandon their own ideas or priorities. Art journaling can empower you to see your life as its own entity and push you closer toward the things you want. If you don’t know where to get started, try working with an affirmation or theme that guides your direction. For someone as fluid and open as you, you’ll have a ton of fun dreaming up all kinds of possibilities.