006 Walking the 5 paths of journaling with Rebecca Kochenderfer

Dec 5, 2019

In this episode, I chat to Rebecca Kochenderfer, the founder of Journaling.com and a lifetime journaler. Rebecca shares her experiences, approach, and tips surrounding the practise for both business and personal life. She walks us through:

  • 5 paths of journaling
  • effects on our well-being
  • methods of journaling

Rebecca Kochenderfer

Rebecca Kochenderfer is Journaling.com’s founder and host. She is the author of Joy Journal, an uplifting collection of journaling tips and techniques. Rebecca is honored to hold this space for the journaling community to connect, thrive, and grow.

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Highlights + takeaways

Journaling is a very practical method of improving many areas of one’s life. The practise is low pressure, requires minimal materials and time, and often will have an immediate impact.  The team at journaling.com likes to think of the journaling adventure as a guided tour down five paths leading toward improved:

  • Emotional well-being
  • Creativity
  • Productivity
  • Physical health
  • Mindfulness

Each of these can be improved by utilizing any mix of the following methods:

  • Expressive writing
  • Bullet journaling
  • Guided journaling
  • Therapeutic journaling
  • Art journaling


Expressive writing is a method where we start on a subject and let the pen take over. Write anything down, so long as it relates to the subject you’ve chosen. This can be anything: an issue that keeps coming up for you, a regular worry, tied to an event, and so on. Journal on it for 3-4 days, and by the end, you’re free! Expert Dr. James Pennebaker asserts that expressive writing helps us reevaluate sources of grief or trauma.

Sometimes we’re searching for happiness or joy, but what we really need at that moment is relief.


There is a scientific explanation as to why journaling works so well. When journaling, we are engaging the analytical hemisphere of our brain while thinking about something that is emotional or creative (engaging the other part of our brain).

You’ve now combined the hemispheres, using a whole brain approach. That is why it is so powerful, bringing clarity and relief.

While art journaling may be the most obvious method, any method can work here. We can create poetry, stories, or even art.


Rebecca is using a bullet journal to organize herself as the CEO of journaling.com. She doesn’t worry about the aesthetic but is more focused on efficiency, productivity, and peace of mind. It has proven beneficial and effective for her.

Journaling allows us to slow down and think.

When we can slow down, we analyze a problem or write down all our to-do list and appointments. This slowing down puts us at ease because now we’ve removed that fear of things slipping through the cracks. It prepares us for that switch back into “go mode.”


Studies have been done surrounding journaling for physical healing. If you have a surgery or medical procedure coming up, journal about it for 3 days before.

You will heal faster than the control group who did not journal.

Similarly, a 2008 study by researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research revealed that people who keep a weight loss journal were more likely to achieve and maintain their health goals.


Not only does journaling have the ability to slow us down and improve productivity, but that slowing down helps us to be more mindful. We take in our surroundings and become grounded.

In those moments, we realize we are in control of our thoughts. In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport asserts that the more we practise a certain way of thinking, the easier it becomes. So thinking happy thoughts leads to more happy thoughts. When we focus on a quality activity for just 15 minutes, we are exercising our brain and creating those neural pathways for the next thing. This helps us to be able to respond quickly but also to be able to go deeply when we want to.

Rebecca created 30 Days of Joy, a Q&A-style guided journal on how to rewire your brain for happiness. Rebecca used this very journal while working through an important personal experience. It led her to find joy and be more mindful, allowing her to hear more of what was going on around her rather than all of the things in her own head.

Caylee Grey, host of Get Messy

Your podcast host, Caylee Grey

I'm Caylee Grey. Creator of Get Messy, official fairy freaking artmother and your pro excuse-squashing ninja.

In the Get Messy podcast I’ll be chatting to a selection of amazing, real-life humans just like you are who are dealing with the very same barriers … but overcoming them to create their art.

Together, we’ll explore what it REALLY means to be an artist. Practically. Warts and all. So that you can be an artist, today, now, even if you work a day job, have a million and one commitments and own a cat that likes sitting on your art.

No more excuses. Okay? Okay.