Maybe you have tried it, maybe you are doing it, or maybe it is something completely new to you – journaling.
If it is something you’d like to pick up, but it somewhat feels a bit awkward or you are unsure how to get started, read on.
If you have tried it and think it is just not for you, read on.
And if you are currently keeping a journal, read on as there might be some tips to take a fresh look at what you are doing.
Before we get into the details, you might ask Why keep a journal?
I picked up journaling a couple of years ago when life turned upside down. I had thought about keeping a journal as I used to when I was younger, but felt like I couldn’t, that all those thoughts in my head just wouldn’t turn into words I could write down. That’s when my lovely friend suggested to me to start off by noting down three highlights each day. Three simple things that made me happy; that had my full attention and somewhat made my day.
And I did. Each day I would note down my top highlights and it could have been as simple as “glad I got some sunshine” or “loved bumping into my friend today”. Soon I found that there was more than the three highlights I wanted to note down. It became a ritual for me to reflect on the day and especially myself.
To me journaling is such a powerful tool to:
- reflect on yourself
- put your thoughts out there and literally clear your mind
- recap and understand where you are at, how you are feeling, and what really is going on in your life
- zoom out of your little bubble and look at all parts of your life, which is especially helpful when things are not going well in one area as we tend to get hung up on that not seeing what is going well at the same time
- be simply yourself and allowing all that is to be acknowledged including your thoughts, memories, and impressions
And you might find other benefits for yourself.
How to get started
1. Ask yourself questions.
If unsure how to get started, ask yourself simple questions: How do you feel right now? How was your day? What did you get up to? What upsets you? What makes you happy? Why?
One question often leads into another and if this is a bit overwhelming you could simple stick to the decision you made throughout the day and reflect on how those framed your day. And it might change from day to day. See it as an opportunity for you to let out whatever feels good for you.
2. Do it your way.
For some it feels right to have a specific structure, others might like a wild stream of thoughts being noted down. Some might like to write for hours and hours, while others might write down a few words only. Some might even draw a few pictures. Don’t feel like you need to follow specific guidelines. It needs to feel right for you. When I started with three highlights a day, which was basically three lines each day, it felt just right for me.
You might write on paper, or you might choose to keep it digital. Choose something that feels right for you and not something that you feel you should do. You might have a specific time during the day that works specifically well for you or it might change each time. You’ll soon figure out what conditions suit you best.
3. Be consistent.
Okay, so this is the thing. In order to really benefit from it, you need to keep going. I know this might seem daunting, but as with anything else in life, for you to see actual benefits you need to stick to it. And it can be as easy as a few words once a week to get started, but stick to it. Find a rhythm and watch the progress.
And the best part about it? You are doing it for yourself. This is where you speak YOUR language, your words. In whichever order feels right for you. Laugh about letting out those stubborn thoughts. Cry when you finally get to vent. See what happens. Allow yourself to be there, fully.
Allow your emotions to be part of it and give yourself space to let all of it come out. Put it down in your journal, so it’s out there and you can decide if you simply leave it behind on those pages or create a new opportunity by refocusing.
Give it a try and see for yourself.