Journaling has become a buzzword, but there is no surprise as to why! Keeping a journal holds many benefits, from reducing stress to connecting with your intuition. Writing is a great way to encourage self-awareness, as well as to regulate your emotions and gain clarity. With all these benefits, why are people afraid to journal?
The action of journaling can be strange or scary for some people. If you’re not a huge fan of writing or don’t feel the “creative juices flowing” it’s easy to get discouraged. Here are some ways you can overcome that fear and become a journal master!
1. Find a medium
Journaling doesn’t have to be in a notebook, hidden under lock & key. Yes, some people prefer keeping a locked notebook when they journal, but that’s not the only option! If you are looking for inspiration you could get a big, beautiful notebook from Chapters/Indigo, or if money is tight, a small but colourful composition notebook from the dollar store will do the trick. If writing by hand isn’t you thing, consider keeping a virtual journal on your phone, laptop, or tablet! The notes app on your phone will work just fine, and it’s accessible for on-the-go journaling.
2. Write every day
The best way to get into journaling is to ensure you are writing every day. I know this can sound daunting but I promise it’s not! The more we practice something and commit to a routine, the better we get at it. Take a look at your existing routine (or take this as an opportunity to create one!) and make time to journal. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling you can allot yourself 15 minutes for a quick journal entry and reflection, or if you want a challenge, try journaling for an hour. I encourage you to start small and don’t get overwhelmed! This is all about baby-steps.
3. Simplify it
A problem many people face when they start journaling is they feel there is an expectation to write a novel every time they put pen to paper. That’s just not true! Journaling should be a judgement free zone where you can write without any expectations. If you are feeling too much pressure, create a bullet journal instead! Jot down points of how you’re feeling, key information about something that happened, or simply things you want to remember to write about next time you’re feeling up to it!
4. Start with a “stream of consciousness”
Another way we can simplify our journal is to write a “stream of consciousness”. This is a practice where the writer is putting their inner monologue to paper. Use this opportunity to take all your distracting thoughts and capture them in your journal. With this practice you don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling, or even making sense! This is just a way to release the jumble of thoughts that are going on in your mind, so of course this type of journaling will not be linear. This practice also helps us remember to write freely, as no one has to see our journal except us!
5. Get creative
Journaling provides us with an opportunity to get creative! If bullet journals and “stream of consciousness” writing isn’t for you, try allowing for some creativity by using a scrapbook style journal with photos and artwork. You can also try journaling about a song you’ve been listening to lately, write your emotions out in the form of a story book or poem, write about your dreams, or even try doing video journals! There are numerous journals available for purchase too if you’re looking for something really different.
6. Release judgement
Journaling is only successful if you can pour your heart and soul out, and that only happens when we let go and release judgement. Fear of our thoughts and feelings, or fear of what others will think of our thoughts and feelings, can hold us back and take control over who we are. Journaling helps us embrace our authentic selves and understand our shadow self. When journaling, make your space safe and comforting. Find a quiet space where you don’t have to worry about others seeing what you write in your journal. Journaling is something that can absolutely be shared, but that’s not a requirement. You are in control of your journaling and you can share it with the world or keep it to yourself, so long as you let go of judgement and connect to your authentic self.
7. Cultivate gratitude
Gratitude is a great way to promote healing, happiness, and general well-being. When we reflect on what we are grateful for we become more resilient and feel more connected to ourselves and our community. In your journal, try to reflect each day on 3 things you are grateful for. It could be something major, like a job promotion, or a mindful moment like drinking a hot coffee in the morning. Whatever you are feeling gratitude for, note it down. This helps your brain remember all the good thing in life and will encourage positivity when feeling worn down by stress, anxiety, and depression.
8. Change your scenery
If you’re feeling a lot of mental blocks when writing, try changing the scenery! If you always journal in your office, take a walk first and then write. Alternatively, bring your notebook with you and find a nice, quiet space on a trail or park to journal. Go for a road trip to somewhere new, park, and write about how you feel about this new space. Even going to a coffee shop or library will activate your brain and allow for creativity to flow.
9. Use prompts
There are going to be days where you don’t know what to write about. You’ve tried to do a “stream of consciousness”, tried going for a walk, etc. and yet nothing is working. This can be frustrating! Use this opportunity to use journaling prompts. Here are a few to get you going:
What emotions are coming up for you today?
What would your perfect day look like?
What book/song is your favourite? Why?
Describe your favourite place.
What are your goals for the future?
10. New Perspective
If you’re feeling creative and want to try something new, or maybe need a boost, try journaling in the third person. If there is something that is causing you stress or if you’re feeling down, write as if you’re talking to a friend who is experiencing those same emotions. What would you tell them? How would you support them? Sometimes thinking outside the box can really help!
Journaling doesn’t have to be something you dread! Use these tools to level up your journaling skills and become a master at Journaling.
The Empowerment Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Meditation & Mindfulness Coach