These journaling tips came about because I kept getting asked - what should I write in my journal? Or... I'm not sure whether I should write negative things or not.
And I must admit - when I first started journaling I remember being a little self-conscious about what I wrote. It's such a simple practice, but sometimes our minds can get in the way a little.
There's something magical about taking time daily to write about how your feeling and what's going on, it opens up a channel to your consciousness which can be fabulously enlightening, sometimes quite surprising, as well as a whole lot of fun too.
And who would say no to a whole lot of fun?
So, the first of my journaling tips is - find yourself a nice notebook, with lines or without lines, get one with art paper or just plain white. Or black paper (with a silver pen... very striking...). Be creative and inspire yourself
It may take a little time to get into your own flow. I found to start with that I didn’t even know what to write, I felt self conscious and it started out like a kind of diary… but as I felt more comfortable and began writing my feelings and emotions down, things started to get interesting.
Because really, when do we ever get to just be and look at ourselves in full view, warts, fairy wings and all? You can be totally honest in your journal and you can be happy, sad, angry and plain old irritable too if you feel like it.
You can also be wildly abandoned, creative and a little crazy. I find the more happy, outrageous things I write, the more fun I have and the more HAPPY I become.. And this leads to relaxing and really getting into the flow.
This may sound like fun - but so what? The truth is that until you’ve actually tried it, it’s hard to explain how cleansing and uplifting this is.
Writing in a journal can help a surprising amount if you’re feeling a little blue or depressed. Studies show that writing down what you’re feeling can help you process the emotions, leaving you feeling less despondent, confused or anxious and lightening your mood.
On the flip side, writing about things that make you happy provides you with an insight into what you value most, sometimes things that you're not consciously aware of.
Journaling also opens your eyes to some of your own nonsense, the ways you hold yourself back. I found that on reading back through my journal over a couple of months (lots of fun and highly recommended), I was rehashing the same worries over and over again. It was a big wake up call! Like - get this stuff sorted and move on!!
But the main reason I love writing in my journal is because it gives me a place to think things through. Journaling is private, so you can feel safe about what you write. This does two things, firstly it’s a kind of release to actually get it out of your head.
Secondly, you very often get real clarity when you write about an issue, as opposed to having it just swimming round in your mind. This can lead to an ‘aha’ moment because by putting it down on paper you allow your mind to let go of it, leaving space for a solution to show up. If you carry on writing long enough with carefree abandon, the answers will start to flow.
So that's the second of my journaling tips - write feely - write whatever you're feeling - it doesn't have to be all rainbows and unicorns...
I draw in my journal, use lots of colours and do whatever I please… it really is my book and you should make yours the same. If drawing and colours aren’t your thing that doesn’t matter – but find what is. Maybe you’ll find that making things rhyme is a fun thing to do.
Here’s a sneak peak of a couple of pages from my journals (the middle one I did when my dog, Zac, died, noting down all the little things about him that made me happy)...
So, the third of my journaling tips is - make it yours, draw, paint, use stickers... glitter... whatever lights you up!
OK, so lets get focused here. The main reason that I’m talking about journaling tips is because you’re looking to create a life you love by letting your free spirit sparkle, and aligning with your true nature.
So right there you have your first entries. You can question what it is you really want – you can answer the following questions:
What have you given up on in life that saddens you?
What is it you yearn for, even though you feel it’s out of reach or impossible?
When you’re alone and your mind is free to wander – where does it go?
What situations in your life now make you happiest?
What situations in your life now make your soul whither?
Just let your answers flow.
Journal about anything in your life that is having an impact... Anything goes.. just write and don’t censor yourself! This isn’t a writing competition, you’re uncovering your precious life and grammar don’t count ☺
Journaling tip number four - be brutally honest with yourself, but not to beat yourself up!
You’ll read advice that tells you to keep different journals for different things, like work, visualization, dreams – I’ve even seen someone advocate keeping an awesomeness journal (sounds awesome!), but I feel that’s going to become a chore.
Too many journals, too much to do = overwhelm = you stop doing it pretty quickly.
One happy juicy journal can encompass everything you want to say – even the awesome bits – ESPECIALLY the awesome bits and it’s unnecessary to have to compartmentalize it all…
It should be a happy, free-flowing time, not an exercise in recording ‘stuff’.
So, my fifth journaling tip is - just have one - maybe two if you really want, like a gratitude journal for example.
If you want to highlight different types of ideas (a possible business idea, an inspiring thought you had, or a revelation) you can always do that by using a specific colour for each thread, or some other fun way that lights you up.
For that very reason (the colour and fun part) I much prefer an offline journal that I can be a bit creative in, but if you’re more into technology than me, there are online journals too.
So, enough food for thought, now it’s time to go out and choose your journal, treat yourself to a nice pen, and whatever else takes your fancy (a glitter pen?!) then sit down with a cuppa and get going – journaling will set you free….!!