Journaling – Why and How to begin?
Journalling is a magical, wonderful journey. It is a wonderful way to have a conversation with yourself, to know yourself better. It helps you think of things you never before thought about. Do you wonder how to begin journaling? Or Why at all you should take it up? I myself experienced these confusing emotions even though I so much wanted to do it.
My biggest challenge when I wanted to start journaling was what would I write in my Journal. I am not very creative on ideas. And yes once in a while there is something that you are thinking about, or something that happened worth writing down. But to every day have something to journal about was not working for me. And then I came to know about prompts. And that really made the task easy.
Writing a diary was something I used to do when I was a kid. I wanted to start journaling now but the problem was that I was not sure where or how to start. I was not the kind of person who could just effortlessly write something each day. So even when I had write a diary when I was younger I would be at a loss of ideas or thoughts many a days.
So finally with lots of motivation from a very awesome group that I am part of on facebook (Mom Sparkle community), I got lot of inspiration to start a journal. So the very first journal I started was an inspiration from the five minute journal. Someone in the group had posted their daily journal entry in this journal and I immediately wanted to work on the same lines.
Immediately I started searching for 5 minute journal on Amazon. Since this was a very expensive option for someone just starting (though my friends shared excellent reviews for it), I just took a blank journal like this, and added the prompts inspired by the five minute journal.
These were the prompts in my very first journal and I called it My Gratitude journal as it was mostly about being thankful:
- I am grateful for…..
- What would make today great….
- Daily Affirmation. I am……
- 3 Amazing things that happened today
- How could I have made today even better?
Looking at things at start of day that make you feel grateful, sets a very beautiful tone to the day. It was not an easy task to do day after day. But the challenge and the introspection involved and the amazing benefits made it worth the effort. Daily affirmation sets an intention to the day. There may be many tasks that you wish to accomplish but having an intention of doing something to make the day great and keeping a positive affirmation at start of day helped me work with a purpose.
So after this, another journal that I purchased was Question answer a day for mom’s. This is a five year journal and I thought it to be a wonderful idea to answer the same question every year for next five years. It would be nice idea to observe the change in answers over the years. Though I started it when my daughter was around 5, I think it is an awesome journal for new mom’s.
Another very interesting journal that I bought was Start where you are. It has some very interesting prompts that help you introspect at very deep level. It also gives you ample opportunity to doodle and express how you feel. It sparks a creative fire within you.
There are also many journaling Apps, but personally I do not like the idea of a digital journal. But in case you are a very digital kind of person, you may like them better. And yes they do go better with the idea of minimalism, reducing the clutter around the house. If you journal for years, just imagine all that books getting collected! Nevertheless I am still a writing person, so cannot move to the digital format for this beautiful experience
Types of journaling
- Dream Journaling: so here you basically wake up each morning and journal your dreams. Though some days we may not remember, most days we can quite vividly recall the dream.
- Food journaling: Food journaling aka food tracking helps you note what you had at each meal, with the purpose of bringing mindfulness into eating healthy.
- Bullet Journals: Bullet journal I feel is like a cross between the planner and the journal. It has your to do lists from your planner, but it also has your long term goals, dremas etc. The Bullet journal obviously has everything in bullet format (to make out things at a glance) and also many graphics, doodles etc thrown in to express yourself.
- Prayer Journals: So say you are reading The Bible or The Gita, each day you read a verse and write down what it implies to you.
- Tarot journals: I am a tarot reader so I have been doing this for a while, each day I draw a card with message for the day and journal about it. I Journal what I forecast in the day and I journal end of day how it was relevant.
- Travel journal: This would be obviously to journal your travel experiences. For people like me who travel maximum twice a year, I do not see much sense in this. But yes there are some people who travel more often.
- Gratitude Journal: Gratitude is very important to attract blessings in life and to keep a positive outlook. Most of the times people have a tendency to look at what is missing in their lives. In the process, we totally forget to be grateful for the many blessings that are showered upon us.
- Pregnancy Journal: I so miss having done this. But this is an excellent thing to remember the most beautiful feeling in the world.
and many more, you can basically journal about anything your heart feels like!
Benefits of Journaling
Journaling has many benefits. It may seem like just scribbling things on a book and may not appeal to many, but this simple act of writing your thoughts can help you in so many ways
First and most important Journaling has a meditative effect. I especially like to sit in early hours of the day and journal my thoughts. The very process with the calm of the morning makes it very therapeutic. It makes me more mindful of my thoughts.
Helps you organise your thoughts. The mind is always full of clutter. even when you wish to quieten it, it is bombarded by a million thoughts. Jotting them down helps to release as well as organise them.
Writing down helps you move towards goals in a more organized manner. Therefore it helps you achieve your goals faster, and more importantly without any stress since you are in control.
A lot of people do beautiful doodle in their journal, so it can also spark creativity. Apart for doodling, the very act of writing thoughts down is a creative process.
Sometimes we find it difficult to say things. Journaling is a good way to let go of pent up feelings. If there is a hurt or anger that you carry you can write about it. Many a times actually writing it down will make you realize how minute it was. So it also helps you heal from your pain, anger or hurt.
A Journal is a mirror to you. It helps you understand yourself better. Mindfully writing down your innermost thoughts will help you understand “you” better.
How To Begin ?
To start with choose a theme an idea, a subject that you want to write about every day. Any habit to really help you needs to be followed with discipline. So set aside some time each day to spend with your journal. Setting aside around 15 minutes each day is good to go. Journals are personal, so let go of all barriers and write freely, pour your heart out. Do not be too worried about punctuation or spellings, it is private after all 🙂
I like to sometimes create an environment. Get myself something to drink, diffuse some nice oil and have my favourite crystals around me. You can also create your own rituals. Sometimes I like to Journal after my morning meditation. How is not so important but what is essential is to start and experience its benefits.
Do share your experience in the comments below. Or if you have already been Journaling, share your inputs or any further recommendation. Look forward to hearing from you!