Updated: Sep 22, 2020
I’ve been journaling for about three years now and it’s remarkable to me what type of things pop up when I stop and take a moment to write down my thoughts. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m feeling a certain way until I start writing and then, boom! There it is, right there in front of me written in ink.
The insights I get through writing aren’t always full of rainbows and unicorns. In fact, a lot of the time I actually identify things I want to improve in my life when I write. What doesn’t change, however, is that I always find value in collecting my thoughts in a journal. Whether it’s a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of epiphany, the daily practice of writing has helped me overcome many obstacles and perhaps more importantly, it’s helped me plan the life I want.
After all, how do you know what you want in life if you never write it down and really study your mind and your desires? How do you know what’s important to you if you never take stock of the great things in your life and the people who make it worth living?
Today, I actually look forward to the morning and evening when I can journal because it’s a relief. It’s a way for me to process the day and make sure I’m still hitting the mark. In a lot of ways I feel like I’m in therapy when I sit down with my thoughts. Except instead of my therapist asking me questions, I’m asking myself questions.
Who knows your mind and heart better than you do? Who knows your deepest desires and your darkest insecurities more than you? No one! That’s why journaling is so effective. It helps you peel back the layers of your subconscious and conscious mind. The old adage, “What you don’t know, you don’t know” is certainly true for those who don’t take time to talk and listen to their mind.
For most, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to inspire them to journal. The difficulty, I found, is in just getting started. Many of us want to journal but don’t because we feel like we don’t know how, or we do it once and decide it’s not right for us.
If this is you, don’t worry because that’s okay! That was me too before I started my first journal 3 years ago. What got me over the hump and into the habit was choosing the right journal. For some, a blank notebook does the trick but for others, that same blank notebook presents an insurmountable challenge because they have no idea how to start writing.
I was in the second group of individuals and before I really got going with the practice I had tried several blank notebooks through my journaling journey. After a few weeks of writing and after the novelty of it wore off, I would inevitably give and stop journaling on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I discovered the power of journal prompts to stoke my mind did the practice become habitual.
If you search Amazon or the web you will find hundreds of beautifully crafted journals that contain writing prompts. Some journals are large in scope and some are more specific. For example, when I first got serious about journaling I used a daily journal called The Sunrise Manifesto (see link below).
This journal was perfect for me at the time because it prompted me with several questions in the morning that helped center me for the day. Some of the questions included: “What three things you’re grateful for today?” and “What three things would you like to accomplish today?” There was also a spot in this journal for me to write freehand after I answered the prompts and that is where most of my big ideas occurred because I could really tap into my subconscious mind.
As I kept journaling and my life evolved I felt the need to evolve my journaling practice as well. At first, I only wrote in the mornings but after some time I wanted to write in the evenings too because I could see the positive impact writing down my thoughts had already had on my life.
On top of that, during this time of my life anxiety had started to creep in significantly and I had a hunch that changing how I journaled could help.
So, I got myself a new journal called The Anxiety Journal (see link below) which focused on how to step out of your comfort zone and how to nurture yourself. I also bought an app on my phone called “Stigma” which is a daily electronic journal that I used at night before bed.
For me, this was a perfect set up. After my meditation session in the mornings, I would write in the Anxiety Journal and inventory my fears and aspirations. Before bed, I would write in the electronic journal on my phone in order to recap the day and listen to my mind. Doing it this way-journaling with prompts and on my phone-allowed me to center myself in the morning and find out about myself in the evenings.
Ultimately, you need to find what works for you! Trial and error is the best way to test what fits into your life and luckily, there are so many places you can start. I encourage you to start writing down your thoughts and get online and see if there is a journal that might work for you. If you only need pen and paper to get started then start today! The best time to start journaling was yesterday and the second best time to start is today!
So get going and start writing! Yes, it takes practice and time to get into the groove, but once you do, I promise the insights will be meaningful.
Thank you as always for reading. We appreciate all the support we’ve received and we can’t tell you how grateful we are for people like you in this world. Please drop us a line and let us know how we are doing and if you have any other journaling tips of your own that you would like to share.
Until next time, many many blessing!