Have you heard about the power of journaling? Mental clarity. Released anxiety. Improved mindfulness.Self-awareness. Heightened gratitude. It’s all available to you, even in the midst of a pandemic. And all you need is a pen and a piece of paper.
But how do you start? Let’s break it down.
What’s Your Why?
Like any new habit or behavior, it is essential you know WHY you are doing it. If you are just jumping on the next trend and you have no intrinsic drive that keeps you accountable, you won’t last very long.
- Do you desire to improve mindfulness?
- Do you want to release brain fog, overwhelm or anxiety?
- Are you hoping to unleash some creativity that you don’t currently make time for?
Once you know why you are starting your journaling routine, and really start writing on a daily basis you can set yourself up for a consistent practice.
How to Start Journaling
This step is often overlooked when starting new habits or rituals. If you simply declare “I’m going to start journaling everyday” but fail to determine when and where you will do it...well, a week in you may find that you forgot to start.
- Do you want to start your day with a clear head and more gratitude?
- Are you hoping to get your thoughts and ideas out before bed so you can sleep more soundly?
- Would you prefer to keep your journal at your desk for that mid-day slump brain break?
If you are planning to do it first thing in the morning or right before bed, perhaps you place your journal on your nightstand. Having it out where you can see it will be your visual reminder to open it up and write.
Maybe you want to do it while you sip your morning coffee? If so, can you set your journal on your counter or by your favorite coffee-sippin’ spot the night before? Daily journaling (or even just doodles) can help you build up momentum on your new habit until it becomes second nature.
Where will you journal? Where can you have your journal sitting out as a visual reminder? These strategies will set you up for success and help this new routine feel totally accessible.
And don't forget that everything is easier once you get the first page under your belt.
What Do You Write?
You sit down, open your journal, and then…”what the heck do I even write on that blank page?”
While there truly is no wrong way to journal, and any journaling will provide you an opportunity for mindfulness and to clear your head, here are a few places to start.
Gratitude Journal Practice
If your goal was to improve your mindfulness, this is a perfect place to start. Simply make a list every day of 5-10 things that you are grateful for. See if you can come up with new things every day too. Everything counts, big and small when it comes to a journaling habit.
- I am grateful for the sunshine streaming into my kitchen window.
- I am grateful for my morning snuggles with my kids.
- I am grateful that I arrived at my meeting on time.
- I am grateful that my body is strong and able to carry my groceries.
Gratitude is not only a great intro to journaling, but when done consistently, it’s proven to rewire your brain and increase happiness. Bonus!
Let it Go
This journaling option is for you if you find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. Keeping everything in your brain often makes it worse so journaling is an incredibly supportive way to “let it go”.
A few journaling prompts to get you started:
- What’s coming up for me today?
- What thoughts or feelings are consuming me right now?
- What can’t I stop thinking about, worrying about, stressing about?
Your only job is to write anything and everything that’s happening in your brain in a stream of consciousness.The act of writing it out actually eases the emotional burden and may even give you clarity.
Do you love to write? Want to jot down ideas for your next project, blog post, offer? This journal entry option is perfect for uninterrupted creativity.
Set the timer for 10-15 minutes, put your pen to paper, and never stop writing. I’m serious. Spend this time writing, non-stop. You may begin your time writing “I have no idea what to write today” and end with your next big idea!
You may start fresh every day or continue your ideas from your previous session. This is a powerful way to surface ideas you didn’t even know were within you!
Journaling will look different for everyone, but once you get clear on your why, when, and where you will do it, it’s time to sit down and scribble your heart out.
Which of the 3 journaling options sound most appealing to you?
- Let It Go
- Creative Flow
You can start journal writing in the beginning with some journal prompts. You can also just start out with bullet journaling or a dream journal. Bullet points are a great journaling practice and a powerful tool to look back on.
Now, go buy yourself a cute journal and a dreamy pack of pens. Happy journaling.
You might also be interested in: 20 Of The Best Books To Read On Mental Health