All The Benefits Of Audio Journaling, TikTok's Fave Self-Care Practice

If you love to vent, this is for you.

What is audio journaling? The lowdown on TikTok's favorite self-care practice.
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Everyone knows about the benefits of journaling, even if they don’t do it. It’s a great way to thought-dump, vent, daydream, plan, and document the everyday. There’s something undeniably satisfying about using a cute pen and paper, too. But if you get halfway into a paragraph and realize that you can’t write fast enough to keep up with your ideas, then audio journaling is for you.

With over 2.8 billion views on TikTok, voice or audio journaling is the latest, greatest way to get your thoughts out of your head — and fast. Instead of scribbling illegibly on paper or rapid-fire typing in a notes app, the idea is to talk directly into your phone’s voice recorder. “Though similar to traditional written journaling in many ways, the energy flow with audio journaling can be dramatically different,” says Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear. That’s why it appeals to the venters and verbal processors of the world.

While it’s cute to sit down with a notebook and a cup of tea, sometimes that just isn’t the vibe. With voice journaling, all you have to do is grab your phone and let the thoughts fly. According to Dr. Charryse Johnson, LCMHC, NCC, a psychotherapist and mindfulness practitioner, voice journaling removes the structure, the pressure, and the hand cramps that come with writing in a notebook, and that’s why it’s becoming so popular. Here’s what to know.

The Perks Of Audio Journaling

The main benefit of audio journaling is that it allows you to speak freely without filtering your thoughts, Johnson tells Bustle. “You aren’t trying to write eloquently, or even communicate with another person in a way that they’ll understand — you just vent.”

While voice journaling can certainly be a slow, meandering conversation with yourself, for many people it is a stream of consciousness. “This is a great way to release stress,” Johnson adds. “Sometimes when we are going through a difficult situation, we just need to get it out.” With audio journaling, your phone’s voice memo app turns into a safe space to dump your thoughts.

Voice journaling is also ideal when you want to process a thought or release an emotion without dragging others into the mix. Have you ever been so stressed that you call a friend, gush your emotions, and then realized you said too much? According to Johnson, it’s common to finish that type of call and think, “Oh, I needed to wait on that,” or “Oh no, I wish I hadn’t shared that.”

Another perk? Audio journals are super accessible since we always have our phones nearby. It makes it easy to journal whenever you need to, says Manly, instead of waiting until you get back to your diary. Since it’s just talking, you can audio journal practically any time, whether you’re in your car, on your lunch break, walking your dog, or cleaning your apartment.

It’s perfect when you don’t have anyone else to talk to, and it also helps you get in touch with yourself. “Audio journaling offers tremendous opportunity for the real-time release of pesky thoughts, negative energy, self-reflection, and even grateful shout-outs,” Manly says. “Audio journaling can also feel like a healing, one-on-one session with your inner self.” When you free yourself of judgment and let it all out, you’ll feel an amazing sense of relief.

Tips For Audio Journaling

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To make the most of your voice journal sesh, try not to overthink it. “Keep it simple,” Johnson says. “Allow it to be a tool, but try not to make it too complicated.” There’s no right or wrong way to voice journal, so “just allow yourself to talk and allow the conversations that you’re having out loud to move and shift wherever it needs to go.”

If you crave a little more structure, ask yourself questions — kind of like a one-person interview — or look up journal prompts for inspo. To go one step deeper, listen back to your recordings later on and look for themes, says Johnson. It’ll help you zero in on what’s been bothering you, reveal goals, and allow you to see how much you’ve grown.

Like any kind of journal, the most important thing is to feel safe and secure so you can let your thoughts flow. It’s why Manly recommends finding a place where you won’t be interrupted or overheard. Try voice journaling while you walk or sit in a park. (Pro tip: With headphones in, it’ll look like you’re talking on the phone.)

To keep your recordings private, Manly suggests using a journaling app with a password — or simply deleting your recordings once you’re done. “If listening to the recording isn’t advantageous, free yourself and press delete,” she says. “The simple act of deleting a recorded journal entry is a perfect metaphor for the practice of letting go of negative energy and stress throughout the day.”


Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author of Joy from Fear

Dr. Charryse Johnson, LCMHC, NCC, psychotherapist, mindfulness practitioner