Creating a fulfilling Journaling practice

Whether you are starting out on your journaling journey, or have been practicing for sometime, I give you some helpful tips to make your journaling practice really count.

In 2020 the modest notebook has taken itself to a new level. Journaling is the new ‘go to’ when it comes to increasing mental and emotional wellbeing. However, sometimes that simple act of putting pen to paper can be harder than we once thought. Let’s have a look at a few ways to get our creative juices flowing so that we can take advantage of the many benefits of journaling.

The common problems around journaling are not just in regards to what to write. In our busy lives it can often get forgotten or other things can get in the way. Hopefully once you have read this article you will be better equipped prioritise your practice, to tune into yourself and as a result increase your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

You may be surprised to learn about how many benefits there are to simply jotting some words into your notebook, but it really can bring an array of health and wellness benefits. Here are just a few of the ways in which it can bring positivity to our lives:

  • Increased awareness
  • Enhanced mood
  • Sharpened memory
  • Helps with gratitude
  • Reduced stress
  • Boosted immunity
  • More organised thoughts
  • Can assist post trauma

Check out my recent post The Benefits of a Mindful Journaling Practice for more on this topic.

Why am I Journaling?

Always figure out your why first. Here are a few things to consider {cue to get your pen and paper at the ready}:

  • What do you hope to achieve from the practice and what will it help you accomplish? Do you have any goals in mind and what are these?
  • Are you seeking inspiration or trying to obtain motivation for something in particular? If you are struggling in this regard or have certain ‘mental blocks’  it can help to try and focus on exactly what you’re struggling with and think about why this might be.
  • Are there any areas in your life in which you are suffering from increased anxiety or stress? Jotting down ideas as to how to deal with this will be extremely beneficial.
  • Are there any memories you want to keep alive? For example, if you are starting a new business it might be helpful to write down your concerns, ambitions and achievements  (especially the small ones) so that you can recall the memories at a later date. Additionally, you may be able to look back on your writing and use what you have written down later on.
  • What are your general interests in life? What are you passionate about? Consider how this ties in with your strengths.

Consider Time

It is important to be realistic and set ourselves achievable goals. Carefully consider how much time you have to dedicate to your journaling practice. Is it possible to journal every day or is a few times a week more realistic? The practice of journaling is very individual, however to get the most out of it I would recommend dedicating about 15 minutes each time you practice as it often takes a few minutes to zone out of what is going on around you and get your thoughts flowing. Some people prefer to spend up to 45 minutes to an hour journaling, especially if they find there is a lot going on in their mind, in which case it might be more realistic to journal a few times a week. Others prefer to do smaller segments a couple of times a day – 5 minutes journaling with a cup of coffee and another 5 minutes in bed can allow you to reflect on the day ahead of you and the day behind you.

Remember that the practice has to fit in with your life and at no point would you want it to become a chore. Think about how much time you want to spend instead of thinking about what you should do. Or perhaps, forget the timer!

Where should I write?

Wherever you like! Try to find an area free of distractions so that you can really immerse yourself into the practice and get to grips with what is going on for you emotionally.

It is also important to note that your journaling practice should feel safe and secure for you, a place where you can go and be your true self. For this reason, you may feel more at ease practicing somewhere more private where you know you won’t be disturbed.

What do I need?

You won’t need much to get started but find yourself a pen or pencil and a notebook that you feel comfortable writing inside as this will help with your creativity.  I have a love for stationary so new pens or a new notebook always gets me in the mood to write.

Consider using pictures (or even just scribbles) to illustrate how you are feeling and really try to exercise freedom when doing so.

Guided journaling

If you’re new to journaling it can be useful to start your practice with a guided journal. A search online will bring up an array of options but here are a few of my favourites:

  • ‘And Breathe’ (available at Paperchase) is beautiful but also does really good job at helping me clear the mind. One of my favourite things about the notebook is the way it encourages the user to consider the small things which can really help make things more manageable.
  • ‘The Happiness Journal’ provides the user with exercises to help them find happiness in each day. Anna Barnes has a range of other journals including ‘The Mindfulness journal’ and ‘The Calm journal’ which would also be worth considering, depending on what you want to   get out of journaling.
  • ‘Good days start with Gratitude journal’  is a 52 week guide which prompts you to list things you are feeling grateful for and is full of beautiful, encouraging quotes.
  • Although not a journal exactly, the Rise and Conquer notepad is a must have. It focuses on manifesting and setting goals and will become a must have daily practice to get clarity and banish any limiting beliefs.
  • ‘I brushed my hair today’ is aimed at Mums and a way of recording the highs and lows of parenthood.

Here we have it, your ABC to journaling. So grab your pen and notebook and let the creativity begin.

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