Keeping a journal is a powerful tool for relieving stress, providing clarity of thoughts and emotions, and helping to achieve greater inner harmony.
A member of the Circle + Bloom community recently reached out to us because she wanted to tap into these amazing benefits, but wondered, “Where do I begin?” Her question made me realize that we need to do a better job of laying the groundwork for this incredible daily practice!
Journaling is a very personal process…and one size shouldn’t fit all. In other words, you might try a few different avenues or methods to find what works best for you.
And most importantly, there is no right or wrong way to do this! Like meditation, there is evidence to support the theory that repetition and consistency are much more important than the amount of time spent on mindfulness and reflection activities. More than trying to feel that you need to do a long and involved journal entry, just try to take 5 minutes a day and make it a habit.
When you sit down to write, ask yourself a simple question – “How am I feeling today?” – and then set your timer for 5 minutes, and start writing! Be truthful, brutal, honest and open.
Allow yourself to express the full range of emotions that you feel without shame, embarrassment, or any other self-regulating thoughts. Allow your reactions to come in loud and clear, and be the witnesser and recorder of those thoughts.
Something truly amazing happens when you do this!
You provide yourself with a safe zone of reflection and you start to realize there are two of you – the thinking and emotional mind, and the witnesser of those thoughts and emotions. Becoming more aligned with the witnesser of those thoughts and emotions is the key to finding peace within. Buddhists call this “enlightenment.”
So, let me summarize in five simple steps for how to make the most of your journaling experience each and everyday:
- Make it a daily, but short, habit (5 minutes).
- Get yourself a journal that feels good in your hands…something that you will feel a physical connection with. HomeGoods or TJMaxx actually have a great selection and they are cheap! But if you don’t have a journal yet, use what you have. Don’t let that become a barrier to getting started today!
- Create a calming ritual around your journaling time. Sit down in a quiet place, maybe have a cup of tea, or light a soothing candle.
- Ask yourself the simple question “What am I feeling today?”
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes to mind! Do not self-regulate or pass judgment on your thoughts and feelings – just be open and honest.
We recently wrote this blog post about keeping a gratitude journal, which is also very helpful!
Tell us about your tips for journaling (or favorite place to get a journal) in the comments or on our Facebook page.