It seems that everyone is doing it but is that a good enough reason to follow suit? What on earth is journaling and why would anyone bother?
Journaling is about recording your thoughts, reflections, experiences and even events. Its different from a diary because the intention isn’t to be an accurate record of what is happening in your life.
How do you even spell it?
Great question. The answer is that you can spell it journaling or journaling. While the symmetry of journaling appeals to me – I can bring myself to add another random ‘l’ before ‘ing’. Whichever spelling works for you – stick with it if you are writing for your readers. A rule I am likely to break gratuitously before the end of this blog.
There are so many reasons for journaling – some of them are:
There are many, many more reasons for journaling but these will give you an idea as to why such a huge number of people swear by it. There are a lot of other ways people can achieve the same objective – some love meditation, mindfulness exercises, painting, knitting, craft or exercise. This is just an option those of us who prefer to write or haven’t found the right alternative yet.
Types of journaling
There are as many ideas as to how to journal as there are terms for the notion. Some other terms for it, or activities very close to it are free, expressive, wild writing and stream of consciousness.
The idea linking all of these terms is the notion of recording your thoughts and feelings honestly, freely and without worrying about spelling, grammar, ‘good’ writing or anyone else reading it.
For many it has a similar effect to talking about a problem or worry with someone you trust completely. That works too and this isn’t meant to replace it. It can be a great addition to your daily activities and can provide the effect of a non-judgmental, quiet friend or supporter who simply listens to you download.
More than that – often when the noise is cleared from our heads and any dominating emotions and feelings are expressed – we can see the answers for ourselves. We can better understand how we are feeling and why. We can see for ourselves where our triggers are, determine our boundaries and action without any external interference or even well intentioned advice.
Many would say that clearing out our ‘stuff’ helps us understand and hear better the signals our body, heart and minds are trying to send us, that may get lost in the ‘busyness’ of our lives.
There is not much room for quiet contemplation in our lives filled with increasing methods of contacting us. They are convenient but the days of not being near a phone or wifi are pretty much long gone.
Quiet contemplation is a form of self-care. It’s helping us take care of our mental health. It might not be all we need but it’s a great tool for us to use in our own time. Its cheap and its not even time consuming.
How to do it best
The great news is that there are no rules, however there are some fantastic tips for you to get the most out of it.
Pen and paper
Its weird to write by hand these days and if you’re anything like me reading it afterwards can be ‘interesting’. However, there is no necessity to reread it unless you want to. There is also some suggestion that handwriting can connect us to our creativity more easily than typing and someone once told me that there are reflexology points in our hands that using a pen or pencil can stimulate. So, if you can write with a pen or pencil and paper then give it a try.
However, if there is a reason you don’t want to or can’t do that then it’s fine to use a keyboard.
The basic idea is to put your pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and to write down whatever comes into your head. Feel free to start with ‘Nicole told me to do this stupid thing, blah, blah, blah’. Whatever words, emotions, feelings, thoughts come into your head write them down and do not take your pen off the paper. Don’t try to censor yourself and definitely DO NOT worry about ‘good’ writing, spelling or grammar. This is about getting past our head and into our emotions. No-one else is going to see it. Its what is commonly referred to as stream of consciousness writing and it is powerful.
Sometimes I have found myself agitated beyond what is reasonable and its not until I journal that I start to understand why. Many writers will tell you that they don’t often know what they think and feel until they write it down.
More than that I have had fantastic solutions or story ideas appear during a journaling session. My only ever children’s story appeared during a journaling session.
Do it when it suits you. Some people prefer to do it first thing in the morning and that is probably the most common time. However, I do mine before I go to sleep every night. It isn’t important when you do it. Try both and see which works best for you.
That is my advice to everyone who wants to try it – try all options and decide which works best for you.
Another tool used by many who have taken up journaling is to express gratitude during these sessions. I am one of those. I do ‘my gratitudes’ at the end of my journaling session. The art is not just to do an intellectual exercise listing the things you are grateful for but to really feel gratitude when you write them down. The standard notion is to record three things you are grateful for but I often find that there are many more than three that occur to me sometimes. I will say that, while I don’t understand the concept, the process of ‘doing my gratitudes’ seems to impact my life more positively than simply gaining perspective. I’m not going to pretend I understand why that is but it does seem that more I am grateful the more reasons seem to appear in my life for me to be grateful. I also add any affirmations to the end when they are resonating with me.
The point of this blog is to let you know just how many options there are and to encourage you to find your own way. If you’re not sure whether it will work for you – give it a try. It 15 minutes of your time and if it does work then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before.
It’s also an excellent excuse for a nice, new journal and fancy pen for the fellow stationery addicts amongst us.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.