Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Putting our thoughts and feelings into writing is a powerful tool to release pent-up emotions, get to know ourselves better, and see things from a different perspective.
Keeping a journal sounds really easy, right? Just pop open a notebook and start writing your heart out.
But that's not the case for most people.
So if you’re ready to learn how to start a journal along with journaling tips that will help you stay successful as a beginner, let’s get started!
But first, here are a few reasons why journaling can help boost your mental and emotional health:
Learn more about yourself
Can make you a better leader
Help you organize your thoughts
Journaling can reduce stress
Writing in a journal can help to improve your mood
Using a journal can help boost your immune system
1. Find your WHY.
Before you start journaling, probably the most important thing you can do is ask yourself:
“Why do I want to journal?”
2. Let go of judgments (write for your eyes only).
There’s no right or wrong way to journal. When you’re writing, it’s important to practice self-compassion and leave your inner critic at the door. Journaling is a judgment-free zone.
3. Create a writing routine.
It’s easy to write on days when you’re feeling inspired and motivated. But what about when you’re not? Creating a writing routine and scheduling journaling time can help you stay on track, even on days when you’re feeling uninspired.
4. Journal about anything that comes to mind.
When it comes to what you want to write about, the possibilities are limitless. You can write about your day, your thoughts and emotions, or something that inspired you.
5. Use journal prompts.
1. What values do you consider most important in life (honesty, justice, altruism, loyalty)?
2. How do your actions align with those values?
3. What three changes can you make to live according to your personal values?
4. Describe yourself using the first 10 words that come to mind.
5. When do you trust yourself most? When do you find it harder to have faith in your instincts?
Let us know what journal prompts you prefer using.
It's not easy to maintain a consistent journaling practice - it can even be mildly frustrating to feel that you're "forcing" yourself to sit down and put pen to paper without even really knowing what to write about. That's totally okay.
But just because it feels that way doesn't mean that journaling doesn't have its benefits...even when we're crabbily scratching away at our journals not feeling "relaxed" or "mindful" in the slightest.
So why do it? Journaling is a great way to give yourself space for your messy, raw feelings and thoughts. And while it may not always "feel" good, feelings don't always indicate whether or not something is beneficial. Like all mindfulness activities, journaling takes practice.
Even if you don't want to. Answer honestly!
Tell your journal how much you really don't want to be journaling, and how you think these questions don't resonate with you. And even though you may not "feel" it - the practice of genuinely assessing where you're at without any pretense is one that will slowly grow roots and transform your mind little by little.
Journaling can be anything from a fun hobby to a form of meaningful therapy. But you won’t get much benefit if you only wallow in problems or constantly blame yourself.
It’s great to release those pent-up emotions in a journal and it’s helpful to have a rant. But eventually, you’ll want to brainstorm about solutions or jot down some things you’re grateful for.
If you need help letting go of pent up emotions or thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out.