Why journaling is still in style and how you can start (again) and stick with it!
We all know that journaling is a great idea and something that we could all benefit from, yet we aren’t doing it! Journaling can be overwhelming to many of us so we tell ourselves lots of reasons not to begin!
- I don't know what to write about?
- How long should I write?
- Do I need to use complete sentences?
- I don’t have time!
- I have more important things to do!
Push those self-limiting thoughts aside and grab your pen because journaling is good medicine for a number of reasons.
1. Journaling is a great way to give your thoughts and feelings structure and organization. Writing your ideas on paper (or on a computer!) can make them more tangible and easier for you to work with, organize, understand and use to create and achieve future goals.
2. Your journal can “hold space” for ideas, thoughts and feelings that are not fully formed or you’re not ready to tackle just yet. You can start expressing bits and pieces and return later to clarify and expand on the ideas. Journaling is also a wonderful way to "chunk down" a big idea that may initially seem overwhelming.
3. Journaling can increase self-awareness, improve mood and has been shown to help with memory! Writing positive and happy thoughts can bring you joy while you write and later when you read and reflect. Putting positive thoughts to print can help you break free from a negative thought loop by offering you concrete, written evidence to the contrary. You can also pass that optimism onto others if you share those joyful thoughts!
A few tips before you begin journaling...these are helpful reminders for those new to journaling or old pros.
1. How long or how much you write is YOUR choice! Journaling is truly an art form. It is a creative process with no right or wrong! In all honestly, the best and most effective journaling is the journaling that actually happens! I will tell my clients, I would rather them journal for a few minutes "the wrong way" than journal nothing at all!
2. It is best to journal when you can be in a space free from distractions...even if you can only do it in small doses, it is better to focus fully on the writing for 5-10 minutes than in a half-hearted, distracted manner for 30 minutes. Avoid multitasking during the journaling process and focus on your thoughts and feelings (that means put your phone away!)
3. Don’t over think your writing or try to make it sound perfect. No grades will be given for grammar, sentence structure or spelling! Just let it flow and see where your words lead you! Remember, it is ok to be creative, silly, angry, artistic or incomplete - just express your feelings and thoughts and you’ve done it right!
4. Always be sure to give yourself a little time to reflect after journaling so that the process doesn’t seem rushed or incomplete. Thinking and reflecting about your writing is one of the most important parts of journaling! You are writing about you and there is no better person to teach you about yourself than...yourself!
5. Make journaling a habit. Set an intention to journal at the same time or in the same space each day and maybe even offer yourself a little reward at the beginning to keep yourself motivated. Practice makes habit!
Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC is a relationship coach and professional matchmaker and founder and owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC. Her mission to help people connect and maintain healthy, satisfying relationships using mindfulness and intentional love. She lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and too many animals to mention!
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