I have always been writing and journaling a lot, and it has honestly always come natural to me. So, when someone recently ask “how do I journal?” – I had to take some time to think about it! Here are my thoughts! Would love to hear what you think 💚
There is no right or wrong when journaling, so try different things out – with journaling there is no criticism or jugdment, just an open space where you can explore and breathe. There are no rules and regulations, only guidelines, ideas and inspiration.

– First of all, I would say that you need to be willing and open to exploring – and that it’s a good idea to try committing to trying out the practices a few times and not just giving up after the first time. However, always go with what feels right. And if you feel intuitively drawn to doing something different – then go with that!

I feel there are two main purposes of journaling, so first you need to decide ‘why’ you want to journal and what you want to use it for;

1. Journaling for clarity
2. Journaling to offload/clear the space or clear distractions

 

1. Journaling for clarity
You can use journaling to gain clarity around a specific situation, on a decision you need to make, or around a relationship or a sensation or feeling. There are two methods for this:

 

#1 Start with a question, for instance; “What’s the most important thing for me today?” and then – without overthinking it – just start writing. It might be really practical, such as “Well, I need to do such and such and maybe I can then do such and such.” -> Notice the words you use. ‘Need’ is the same as ‘Should’, and if you find yourself using that, it’s good to ask ‘why?’ and write down what comes up; do you feel you ‘should’ do it because others told you to (this is a very common one) or because you really need to (such as, go to work, make dinner etc.)? Clarify wheather it’s really necessary or not. And ‘necessary’ why?

 

Then look at the ‘then MAYBE I can do this…’ because that’s often what you would actually like to do but don’t feel you can allow yourself to do. Dig into that – what’s stopping you from doing it? You might get things like; “I don’t have time, I don’t really know how, I just can’t do that or even, I’m not good enough to do that.” These are limiting beliefs. Things we are telling ourselves to block ourselves and hold ourselves back. Once we recognise them, we can challenge them and transform them into supportive ones.

 

We challenge them by taking an HONEST look at them, e.g. We can always find time for things that are really important for us, if we prioritise it. Not feeling good enough, is a fear, but it doesn’t need to stop us from trying.
We transform them by reframing them into positive statements, e.g. “I have all the time I need. I am enough. It is safe for me to try x, y and z. I have everything I need to succeed.”
This way of asking questions and identifying limiting beliefs can help us move through blocks.

 

#2 Another way to use journaling to get clarity is to write freely and observe what’s going on around the specific situation.
This can be good if you are feeling out of sorts about something, and you’re not sure why.
Start writing about how you feel; notice your body, your emotions, any thoughts popping up. If you feel stuck, ask yourself (on paper) – what’s going on? This is not a judgmental question, it is a curious, compassionate inquiry. Like a mother would ask achild that is crying: “Hey my love. It’s ok, tell me what’s going on, You are safe here with me.” And then ask again, what is going on. And see what comes up. As you write you can continue to ask questions to explore all aspects of the situation and get clarity on what you need. You can even ask directly; “What do you need to feel better/more grounded/happier?” etc.

 

2. Journaling to offload/clear the space or clear distractions
This can be good if you are feeling stress out, sad or angry, and it can also be used as a regular practice to clear your head of distractions.

 

I journal every morning, 3 A5 pages, and this is more automatic writing so I simply sit down, grab my pen and journal, and write those 3 pages. I don’t stop to look over it again, I don’t stop to think about what to write next – I just keep writing and write down whatever comes up. So it might be a mess of thoughts and things I want to do or things I forgot to do or how I’m feeling or what I did yesterday. Other times it might be more focused, for instance, if there’s something coming up that day that I’m a bit nervous about or that I want to prepare myself for. But again, I simply write freely, non-stop and don’t look over it again.
This can be done as a once-off thing too, if you are feeling stressed out or angry and just need to get it out of your system. Grab pen and paper, sit down, and write non-stop about whatever comes up. You can set a time of 10 minutes, for instance, or you can write till you have a sense of having run dry.

The purpose of this writing is to clear out the thoughts, the “fluff” that’s obscurring your mind, the emotions that are influencing your judgment and the things that are disctracting you from taking action on what’s actually important. This gets your thoughts out on paper, can help gather your thoughts, and can help you process intense emotions and help you come back to yourself.

Final thoughts.

Again, with all journaling, there is really no right or wrong, and it is a good idea to try out different things. There are also several journal prompts you can use for specific things, such as Future Self Visualisation, gratitude journaling, productivity or daily planning. You can design your own depending on what you need, look them up online or ask me and I can see what I have or can create.

Some find it easy and natural to journal, others require a bit more time and practice – either is ok. There is no judgment when journaling, no criticism, no rules. Only guidelines, ideas and inspiration. Try out a few different things and see how it feels.

And – some might be tempted to ask if they can write on their laptop/cos it’s easier or faster. For the purposes listed here, I will say ‘no’. Use pen and paper – find a journal that you feel attracted to and that feels good for you. It’s the act of the hand and pen going over the paper that creates the magic, and it cannot be replaced with tapping on a keyboard. If you feel like it, you can ‘set the scene’ with candles and incense, a cup of coffee or tea, if you want a sense of it feeling ‘special’ and cosy, but it’s not necessary, so go with what feels right for you.

Let me know how you get on when you have had a chance to try it out! 💚

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