What else can you gain?
- The added value of journaling is the occasional feeling of great insight. When you’re able to see the deeper meaning or understand what’s been vague before.
- You preserve your memories. When you’re consistent you eventually get a pretty thorough overview of your life.
- You actually improve your writing. It’s an obvious fact that the more often you do something the more fluent you are at this thing. Writing is a skill and as such, it can be improved and polished.
Who can do it?
Well, everyone:) No matter if you’re 12 or 63 you can still find value in taking time to get to know yourself. No matter what stage of life you’re in, what your occupation is – you can try and use journaling as a great tool to navigating your own life.
How do you do it?
First thing to remember is – you’re doing it for yourself. Hence – you don’t need to pay attention to any grammar, any rules. You know yourself best, you know how your days go so find the best time that works for you. Make sure you can sit for 10 -15 minutes and simply write uninterrupted. For some, it will be right after you wake up, before even taking your phone;) For some – last thing before you go to bed. Some prefer to carry the notebook or phone/tablet everywhere with them and write whenever they feel like it. You can choose whatever time – as long as you make it work for you. You don’t have to stick to the time every single day, but the regularity and structure seem to work for a lot of people. The goal is to just do it – so choose a way that helps you stick to that:) There are a couple of methods of journaling, you can do it however you like. The most important thing is (like with so many things in life) to do it regularly. You can try what works for you and stick to it. Again – there’s no ONE proper way to journal. The beauty of the process is you can do it however you want – it’s supposed to be between you and you – so get rid of that need for perfectionism and start filling out those pages. You have probably noticed I’m not one to tell you to adhere to strict rules, but having said that – it’s actually better if you give yourself some time to try it. Journaling is not a miracle maker, the change and insight might and might not happen overnight. Though if you give yourself some time, honesty and consistency – you might experience those “AHA!” moments sooner than you think. I’ll list some of the things you may think of to start exploring:
- free writing – this one is one of my favs. As you keep writing whatever comes to your mind – be it about the day that passed or about something you’re trying to wrap your head around – your mind will surprise you. It will start grabbing some thoughts and reflections from your unconsciousness. And this is gold. When you write without judgement and without expecting anything – going back to this entry and reading it through may bring you more insight you could get just thinking about it repetitively.
- gratitude entries – because too often we don’t pay attention to what we have. Journaling is a great way to focus on that a little bit more.
- brain dump – a theme word eg. “conflict” “relationship” “parenting” etc. – you simply put the word in the top, in the middle wherever you please and write down whatever comes to mind when you think about it. It may be words or short statements. You’ll be surprised what you can find;)
- a letter to a younger self – this one’ huge. It is also about gratitude and appreciation, about embracing the way you were, the way you tried to get where you are now.
- joy – where do I find it? Again one of my favorites. To often we don’t pay enough attention to the things that bring us joy. Why not make it a thing? Try to focus and write down all the things you love that make you feel better, that bring joy – may it be a walk in the park, your children’s laughter, THAT song or a freshly squeezed glass of juice. When you gather a list of MANY such things – you’ll know where to look if you’re in need of that little spark.
Analog or digital?
There are some orthodox who will want to convince you only handwritten journals are worth keeping. And of course – there is something magical about putting pen to paper, about pouring your words to blank pages that later are the carrier of your words. But let’s not generalize. It’s your journal – you choose how you do it. For me – even though I love handwriting – the digital version is the one I choose now. Being a minimalist and traveling I cannot keep gathering things. When you keep your journal digital you can always do it wherever you are, with no need to remember to actually take it with you. And you can fulfil your need for beautiful things by getting a planner and by keeping your logistics and planning with the use of pen and paper. Last but not least – in order for your journaling process to work smoothly – you need to feel safe using it. Material notebooks are hard to secure – maybe you can throw one under the bed or to that safe behind the painting, but do you really have room for 15 volumes when your collection grows?;) with a digital one you just create a password for it. That’s of course if you feel you’d rather have one.
How do you KEEP doing it?