Just write: Journaling your Journey
Journaling is older than the written word. Men and women have been tracking their lives since cavemen were drawing curding pictograms on a wall. It is our DNA to draw and write, or basically, just documenting our journey through life. Whether you are processing your thoughts in a safe place or creating a documentary of your journey, journaling is an effective way to sort through life and create new outcomes.
There are three big benefits to keeping a journal:
1. Exploration of Possibilities
Journaling your thoughts and dreams flex your imagination and fires neurons that expand ideas. Writing things out creates a space for ideas to come and catalogued.
2. Express Yourself
Just like art, music, and dance are forms of expression, journaling is a fundamental way that people express themselves. Journaling can give a pathway to a passion to write, draw, or capture your biggest ideas when they have your full attention.
3. Remember what happened
Journaling has benefits that come alive when you move thoughts and ideas from your head to a journal. There are undeniable advantages to exploring the possibilities, expressing yourself, and have a historical perspective on life.
How to Get Started Keeping a Journal
Making the decision to journal is usually far easier than actually beginning to journal. The good news is, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Once you begin, you can shift and add on to your style
Here are some things you need to begin your journal journey
1. Tools Matter
Find a pen that is smooth and effortless to use, decide what type of notebook you would want to use, and always be on the lookout for tools that will make journaling fun and time well spent.
2. Time is Key
Find the time when you have peace and quiet and are fully charged to do your journaling.
3. Spatial Awareness
Time may be a commodity, but there are ways to increase your productivity when journaling – reduce distractions! Create a safe space for you to write.
4. Do What Comes Naturally
The best way to begin journaling is by doing what already comes naturally.
5. Have a Why
Anytime there is a solid why to what you do, you are more likely to stick with it – knowing why you are journaling helps get you going and keeps you going.
Journaling for Mental Calm and Clarity
Life gets overwhelming and emotion run high when we are battling with demons or stuck trying to solve a problem that feels unsolvable. One of the most-used tools of therapists or consultants is journaling. Journaling is one of the most effective ways to create clarity and calm out of chaos and confusion.
Here are the ways journaling can create more clarity in your life:
1. By giving a voice to your feelings
Journaling is a judgment-free activity that doesn’t talk back, and journals are just there to receive your information. A journal simply provides a safe space for you to process. Whether good, bad or socially inappropriate, a journal is an excellent way to free yourself from your burdens and reduce chaos.
2. By working your mind to solve problems
The best way to solve a problem is to work it. Sort of like a Rubik’s cube, imagine your mind twisting and turning those colours until you get the pattern that unlocks the door and fixes the dilemma.
3. Helping you define next steps
There is something magical about releasing your chaos and confusion into a journal and discovering that there is calm and clarity available to you. Allow yourself to work through your issues by journaling, and experience the satisfaction of solving your problems.
Journaling as a Learning Tool
One of the biggest determining factors of success is lifelong learning and people who see themselves as perpetual students are more open-minded and tend to be more successful. Journaling can be used as a learning tool that enhances the lifelong student mindset.
And here are some ways to use journaling as a learning tool:
1. Tracking Behaviour
Whether you do a bullet point journal or a written out account of a journey, tracking your thoughts daily will create patterns that you can measure over time. Being able to create data points that you can review and analyse will help you make important changes to your success.
2. Note Taking
Journaling is an excellent way to take notes about something you are learning. Imagine learning to master baking, each time you make a new treat you can simply journal what worked and you would do differently so you can improve over time.
3. Cliff Notes
Cliff notes are a long-standing way for students to get the gist of something when they don’t have time to digest all the information. Journaling cliff notes about what you are learning is a great way to keep the most important information at the ready while you move on with other information.
4. Compare and Contrast
Journaling comparing and contrasting information is an excellent way of reminding yourself of the merits of the products as well as how they stack up against each other.
5. Create a Manual
Journaling the in’s and out’s and the steps and protocols can help you make a reference sheet or manual that will cut time in the future.
6. Become Better at Your Craft
Journaling is an excellent way to keep your learning curve headed in the right direction. Using the art of journaling to enhance your learning experiences will help you retain information and turn you into an expert.
Journaling to Practice Mindfulness
Our world is overrun with things that just don’t matter in the greater scheme of things. We are overwhelmed by lives that cause us to wear out and forget to stay in the moment, and in gratitude. Journaling can help us be intentional and stay grounded and focused on what matters most to us.
Life is so busy that sometimes being on autopilot Is the norm.
Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of not being mindful:
1. Becoming too sensitive
One of the traits that develop when we are not self-aware is becoming overly sensitive to criticisms.
2. Becoming cynical
Being bombarded by negative information and not taking time to see what’s right in the world can cause cynicism and a mindset that nothing is beautiful or pure.
3. Becoming a martyr
Being unable to focus on self-care or mindful of how you are engaging people you love is a dangerous spot to be in.
4. Physical issues
A disease is oftentimes a byproduct of an unhealthy mind and the subsequent choices made due to our disconnect.
Journaling can Open Up the Mind and Restore Peace and Hope
Whatever we give attention to, grows. Attention is important because it focuses our energy one way. Being mindful brings attention and awareness to the focus you have. Choosing to let go of what is wrong and look for what is right counteracts the negative things vying for attention. Being purposeful about your thought content changes your mind, your body, and your outcomes.
Journaling about positive things is easy. No matter how many negative things you see, you can’t deny the things you love. When you sit down to journal, think about the things that you love and that is working, and let it flow from there.
Try this exercise to practice positivity: Sit in your favorite spot with your favorite journaling tools. Ask yourself to describe three things that were amazing about your day. Do this each day until it is an easy habit!
Journaling to Encourage Creativity and Out of the Box Thinking
Humans are creatures of habit. Even for people who love change, change is THE habit. It takes deliberate action to engage creativity and think out of the box and journaling is a great way to get creative and think out of the box.
Artistic people have no problem using their favourite media to create – a painter paints, a writer writes, and a sculptor uses clay to create an outward expression of an inner idea. So why not use journaling as a tool to stretch and grow outside your limits?
Journaling for Personal Creativity
Journaling is an excellent way to get your left and right side of the brain working together. Here are some ways on how to use journaling to promote out of the box thinking:
Mind mapping is the act of taking ideas and creating little bubbles the represent each idea. This out of the box way of tackling and journaling a goal is great for visual people who prefer to think big rather than linear.
2. Prompting Journals
Love to write but freeze up when it’s time to get to it? Find a journal that has writing cues and see where your imagination flows.
Journaling for Business
Businesses can use a form of journaling to get the team thinking out of the box. Sometimes, staff become complacent and underwhelmed so getting together as a team to create solutions can be an effective way to raise morale.
One way to do so is through guided journaling. Guided journaling is a unique exercise that encourages staff to stretch out of their comfort zone in order to drill down the best solution to their biggest problems and encourage free-flowing thoughts and suggestions for a strategic plan. During the course of the project, team members can use journaling to keep track of their progress in discovering and creating new learning tools all while expressing themselves.
The next time you feel stuck and want to challenge yourself or your staff to think bigger and higher, consider journaling as an opportunity to expand your mind and come up with out of the box ideas.
As with all things, you have to want to develop the habit in order to create it. Ask yourself why you want to journal and how you believe life will be enriched for having done it – discover what motivates you and make that motivation part of your routine.
The first time you try something new, you will likely be awkward and it can take longer than it ought to and feels unnatural. Sticking to the routine creates mastery which means things are effortless and the results come easy, so just keep at your journaling until it becomes effortless and see better outcomes.
Here are 21 tips to develop your journaling habit:
1. Don’t rush it
2. Have great tools
3. Be present when you journal
4. Be consistent with the time you journal
5. Commit to the practice of journaling
6. Get inspiration from nature
7. Share your enthusiasm for journaling with others
8. Find a community that loves to journal
9. Find a favourite place to journal
10. Enjoy a favourite drink when you journal
11. Use a special seat for journaling
12. Set aside time with your child to journal together
13. Eliminate outside distractions
14. Diffuse essential oils when you journal
15. Burn scented candles when you journal
16. Leave your journal out so you can be reminded to engage with it
17. Schedule journaling time into your calendar
18. Always have a supply of journals and tools on hand
19. Treat yourself to a reward for reaching a goal your journaled
20. Forgive yourself when you forget to journal
21. Place no limits on yourself about journaling. JUST DO IT.
TAKE THE TIME TO LOOK BACK THROUGH YOUR JOURNALS
The act of creating journals is one form of self-care – the act of reviewing them is another. There is so much to be gained from reviewing your journals as the time goes by.
Consider this –
Your journal entries are a true and accurate view into your life at that moment. Whether you were in hysterics over something you couldn’t control or singing from the rooftops about achieving a big goal, that was YOU…then. Re-reading or reviewing your journal can give you a perspective that you didn’t have back then, you can see yourself more objectively because you aren’t in that space any longer.
Reviewing your journals can give you an insight into a path that you were to close to in the moment. Being able to read through in a short time that took you a long time to live can help you create some cliff notes about how you manage stress, celebrate success, or set and achieve goals. You literally have the ability to sit back and review yourself!
Your family can also have the opportunity to know you better. Depending on how discreet you are with your journaling, you have the opportunity to share with your family the thoughts you have had over time. They can share in your growth and your success, you can relate with your teen by letting them read your thoughts when you were their age – you can leave a legacy that impacts those you love the most.
Reviewing your journals spark old ideas. Perhaps you forgot about the idea you released into your journal years prior, seeing it again could be the catalyst to taking action now. Nothing is ever wasted when it is recorded and reviewed! Now maybe the perfect time to take action when you didn’t have the resources back then.
Review your journals with grace. Be gentle to the person you were on the way to becoming who you are. Be kind. Be open-minded and be a friend, but most of all CELEBRATE!
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
I believe Yoga is for everyone.