If you read my Magical Morning blog last week, you know that journaling is part of my morning routine. Just like brushing my teeth, taking a shower and eating breakfast, it's become a habit.
What is journaling?
It is the act of writing your thoughts, emotions, and reflections about your past and current experiences and your hopes and dreams for the future.
What is the purpose of journaling?
It is a therapeutic method of organizing and expressing the thoughts that live in our head bringing clarity to our life, solutions to problems and creativity to the soul.
Journal writing gives us insights into who we are, who we were, and who we can become.
I dabbled in journaling for many years but never seemed to have success with maintaining the habit. What I found was that choosing the right time of the day to journal is critical for consistency and success. For years I was trying to force it into my night time routine. But I was usually so tired by the time I crawled into bed, I was in no mood for writing let alone reflecting on the day. Only when I switched to making it part of my magical morning routine did I find success.
I know what you are thinking to yourself right now, "I don't have time, I don't know what to write or I have nothing to say". Well guess what, you DO and I can help with that. All you need is some time and some topics and questions handy.
Regarding the time factor, look for a 5 minute block in the day that is best suited for your journaling. Schedule it into your calendar so you are more likely to do it. For journaling ideas, check out the ones below.
This is a great topic for journaling! Just list the things you are grateful for. Just let the pen flow. Don't overthink it. They can be little things like, appreciating the cozy afghan you are snuggled in or the big things, like landing that new job. Also write why you're a grateful for each item on your list. Ask yourself, does it make me happy, bring me comfort, feel loved, abundant, respected or even inspired?
Past or Current Day Experiences
Writing your past or current day's activities is cathartic too. Historical diaries are nice but it is really helpful if we add some thoughts and feelings about our experiences. Putting it down on paper allows us to go to bed without it ruminating around in our head. How many times have we had trouble sleeping because some upsetting event kept replaying over and over in our head. Asking yourself questions, like the ones below, can help us dive a little deeper and soothe our emotional state.
What emotion am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling that way?
What was the best part of the day (or yesterday) and why?
What was the worst part of the day (yesterday) and why?
What would I like to focus on today? i.e. patience, kindness, love, non-judgment
What parts of the day (or yesterday) were not serving me?
What parts of the day (or yesterday) were serving me and should be repeated?
Current Problem or Obstacle
Journaling is a great way to find a solution to a problem. When we encounter a problem or obstacle, our mind can get stuck in a never-ending cycle of unproductive thoughts. The result is frustration and never finding a solution. And in some cases it becomes a bigger problem in our head then it really needs to be.
So why not journal about your current problem or obstacle. Write WHAT the problem is, in detail, and WHY it's a problem.
How are you feeling about it?
How is it affecting your life?
What are some possible solutions even if they seem impossible or are a little crazy?
Just the art of writing allows your mind to release these thoughts. Calming your mind can be freeing, to leave yourself open to infinite possibilities.
Thoughts On a Book, Podcast, Article
Maybe you read something in a book or article or heard something on a podcast that resonated with you, either positively or negatively. Express your thoughts on the topic. You can dive deeper by asking questions like:
What emotion am I feeling?
Why do I think it's affecting me this way?
What is a positive take-away from it?
I love this one! When all else fails and you are drawing a blank on what to write, have a 'go-to' list of random questions you can reflect on. Find some sample journal question 'lists' on the internet. Print a few of them out and keep them handy for these occasions. Below are some of my favorites.
How do I want to feel today? How can I make that happen?
What is my purpose?
What inspires me?
Choose one person I love dearly and express why.
What are 3 things that make me really happy?
How would people describe me?
What do I think is my most treasured thing in my life and WHY
What are my gifts/talents?
What are 3 goals I wish to achieve in my life that I haven't yet?
What are my 3 best personality traits?
What person do I admire the most, why?
What would I spend $1 million dollars on?
What are my beliefs that define me?
What are some things that bring me peace?
You can also buy journals with questions embedded on each page, if that is easier for you.
I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.
Journaling is really good for mental and physical health. Many studies have shown that to be true. It reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens memory, improves problem solving skills and provides inspiration. But daily consistency is the key. Make sure you are actually writing with a pen or pencil on paper. Journaling on a computer or tablet doesn't have the same affect on your brain as the art of writing.
Bring some awareness into your life by giving journaling a try. In as little as 5 minutes a day you can see a difference in your creativity, mindset, sleep, and problem solving.