Keeping a journal has MANY positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth & development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors & moods by getting those thoughts out on paper rather than process everything in your head.
When we process within our mind we see our thoughts through a limiting perspective, by writing out those thoughts we open to infinite possiblities. When we go back & read those thoughts we come up with a variety of possibilities we wouldn’t see within our mind.
I started keepin a journal since the age of 8. It was a diary but still it was journaling. I started each entry by addressing “dear listener”. To this day I still journal everyday, my journaling just evolved as I did. I journal gratitude, ideas, random thoughts, etc. I love to do automatic writing at least once a week for specific clarity.
About 20 years ago I’ve discovered a new creative world in art journaling. Using mixed media has helped me express myself in refreshing & unusual ways. There is a lot of power in the written word but occasionally words are hard to find. By creating a collage, vision or dream board I’m able to create a representation of how I feel that moves beyond my analytical writing. I also LOVE making vision board movies!
Keeping a journal can help organize all of your thoughts (fears, stressors, frustrations) & allows you to think about your next steps in tackling a problem or anxiety-provoking situation. Journaling helps you focus on the root of any persistent problem you’re having (getting over a failed relationship or coping with parenting stress). So give your best friend a break! Instead of rehashing a particular anxiety with your best pal, who’s heard it all before, write it down in a journal instead!
Daily or weekly entries can document & track your progress on an issue, for yourself (even for your therapist). Entries can shed light on how you reacted to certain life situations, & even reveal bad coping mechanisms you might have used to help deal with stress & anxiety. Which is priceless! What better way is there than to spend ten minutes a day focusing just on yourself??? You deserve a break!
Words aren’t the only way to express yourself & the way you’re feeling. Get creative! You can use images, either on an online journaling site, or doing it old-school by cutting out images & pasting them into a notebook or on construction paper. You can even go ‘big’ & create a giant dream board! 😉
Ready to start journaling?
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Be sure your journal will remain private or write online so that you are writing for your eyes only.
Here are 10 tips to get started with journaling:
- Sentence Stems: This form of journaling prompt provides what is called a sentence starter, & the journaling flows from there. For example you could do a journal entry starting with “Right now, I feel ____”. And then fill in the blank with a word, a phrase or a longer response. Here are some examples of sentence stem prompts:
- Right now, I notice ____.
- When I am at my best, I am normally feeling or doing ______.
- I feel confident when _____.
- My greatest source of pride is ______.
- One of the things that I have overcome that makes me the person I am today is_______.
- In the Now: Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment. Describe your living situation, your work, & your relationships. Are you right where you want to be?
- Timed Writing: Timed writing can be used to bring short focus to a certain topic or problem, or to an area of gratitude you might want to express. (I use timed writing when I do automatic writing)
- Your Inner Child Speaks: Start a dialogue with your inner child by writing in your subdominant hand. Answer with your dominant hand. What issues emerge?
- Lists: Making lists is a fun way to journal. It lets you brainstorm a lot of thoughts succinctly. My journal is filled with “list entries”, such as 20 places I would like to visit, 50 things I am grateful for so far in 2020, 100 favourite memories in my life so far, etc. This type of jourling is a great way to raise your vibration!
- Play Time: Start a journal of self-portraits. You can take pictures, draw colors, pictures or shape, even collage images. Learn to love & accept yourself just the way you are today!
- Precious Moments: Capturing precious moment memories involves writing about peak experiences in any area of your life. (I will sometimes combine this with the Wheel of Life Exercise & then invite my clients to write a precious moment memory for each aspect of the wheel). This type of journaling exercise benefits from including thoughts & feelings, as well as the senses, & strong descriptors. These types of moments are often filled with our joys, successes, formative experiences & more. Writing about precious moment memories can bring insights, resilience, inner peace & inspiration.
- Successes: Maintain a log of successes. Begin by writing the big ones you remember then regularly jot down small successes that occur during the week. As you pay attention, your list will grow & inspire you.
- Divine Messages: The world we live in is a magical & mysterious place. Record the things you notice about the sky, the weather, the seasons, animals you notice, syncronicities you become aware of. Allow the Universe to speak to you!
- Intuitive Automatic Writing: Write down questions or concerns then take a deep breath & listen for a response from your Higher Self. Let yourself write automatically. No judgement, do not analize, just write. If you don’t get an answer right away, look for signs during the day.
There are infinite creative ways that journaling can help us grow, heal & change. We all have dark days, black moods, & anxious feelings. Use writing in a journal to explore the darkness. You will find your inner light when you do!
Love & light,