I am a big advocate of journaling. I think there is something so connecting to the human mind when we take out a piece of paper and a pen and simply write what has been spinning around our mind.
If you haven't noticed, oftentimes we talk faster than we can write. Heck, we talk faster than we can type. It takes time to physically write--more time than it would take to rant to a friend about what is on your mind. When we take time to write out our words on paper, we give time for our bodies to feel those words and process the emotions behind those words.
I know for some, writing can be hard. For me, sometimes it's hard to sit in those difficult emotions. For others, it might be the simple fact of "What do I write?"
Let's break it down together, so that journaling can be an outlet for you to express what burdens your heart and celebrate the joys in life.
1. Don't think, just write.
There is no right or wrong answer to what you put on paper. There is no formula to follow. If you want to start with "Dear Diary," so be it! No one is reading this but you. Sometimes when I overthink what I am about to write, my thoughts get jumbled up and I leave my journal feeling more confused than when I started. Try to write the first thing that comes to your mind. Let unconscious thoughts flow from your body and mind, through the pen to the paper.
2. You have to start somewhere.
I sometimes read back through old journals to see where I was and what I was feeling and experiencing at different points in my life. My first journals show a younger me, but a version of me that was willing to give something new a try. We aren't looking for perfection, we are looking for sincerity in the time spent with a pen to a page. It might feel uncomfortable some days, it might feel hard to journal some days, but just write and let whatever comes out pour out on the page.
3. Meet yourself where you are at in the moment.
If you have 5 minutes to scribble on a page while you are on a work break, so be it! If you have had a rough day and can only fill one line, so be it! You don't have to fill a page or even three pages. Meet yourself where you are in that moment.
4. Carry a journal with you.
This is something I can sometimes be good at and sometimes be terrible at! If I forget my journal, I oftentimes type it out in the notes on my phone, but as I mentioned, we type faster than we write, and typing our thoughts may allow us to get out our thoughts, but not fully processes what things are coming up. Try to carry a small journal with you so that you can jot down thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Letting this quick release happen may be the key you need to keep going about your day without the burden of whatever may be weighing on your heart.
5. Find some pens that you love.
Sounds cheesy, but find yourself a good pen that you love to journal with. I am a pen and highlighter nerd, and this one is my favorite! If you like pens you write with, you may find yourself liking writing more!
6. Approach your thoughts without judgment
"I really want a pizza for dinner tomorrow."--no joke, this is in the middle of one of my journal entries! If weird thoughts arrive, write them down. Maybe its something to explore later. But in the moment, that thought matters. Approach these thoughts with openness and acceptance.
7. Start with what you know
If you don't know where to start, start with what you know. Maybe you just start with how your day is going. Sometimes we face so many feelings and emotions in our day that we don't allow ourselves to process because we go into "human hyper-focused mode" of getting stuff done.
8. Always date your entries
Dating your journal entries allows you to go back and read and see where you were and how far you've come. It's nice to read back a year ago today and see how much growth the past year has brought me. It's like your own handwritten Facebook Memories!
I truly love writing. (I mean if that wasn't obvious! I have a blog!) But there is something so special about the secrets, memories, and moments that only you and your journal hold together. Happy writing friends!