Journaling has gained momentum in the past few years, not only among more introverted and reflective individuals, but also with younger demographics. Nowadays, it’s usually exercised as a regular mindfulness practice. Should you include it in your routine this year?
There are many reasons why people are so invested in keeping a journal of some sort. It can help you maintain your thoughts organised and become more aware of them. It’s also an excellent tool for setting and achieving your goals, facilitating you with a way of tracking your progress and your emotions towards those ambitions. There’s no need to say that journaling is amazing for self-reflection and relieving stress, as it allows you to be more introspective and take a quiet moment to look back on your day, week, or entire year if you’d like. Finally, starting to journal will improve your memory and writing skills over time and ignite the creative spark within you, as you progress on this practice and keep exploring the corners of both your mind and imagination.
Journaling can be done in many ways: you just have to find which one works for you! For starters, all you need is a notebook or journal and your pen of choice. One thing I would definitely recommend is to keep a consistent schedule if your selected style of journaling will benefit from it. Maintaining a more or less consistent routine will help you tune in with your feelings and become more focused on the act of journaling. So, no matter if you choose to journal daily, weekly, or on special occasions, it’s important to determine a time frame in which your sole focus will be journaling in order for you to be mindful of your practice.
Now, you might be wondering which journaling practice is best for you and your goals. Let me guide you through the most popular options!
Spontaneous daily journaling:
This is when you commit to a daily journaling practice, no matter what thoughts might be running through your mind at the time of doing it. You just set a time aside to write in your journal each day, usually in the evenings or right before going to sleep, and just let the words flood the page. Write about whatever you feel like. Maybe it’s a recap of your entire day or your feelings towards a particular event. It can also be just a plain brain dump, and that’s perfectly fine as well.
Prompted daily journaling:
Perhaps brain dump just isn’t for you. Don’t worry, there are great alternatives for it. Prompted journaling takes place ideally at the end of your day and, instead of writing about whatever crosses your mind, you’ll have a prompt to inspire you to write about a certain topic. This is perfect if you want a little more structure and guidance for your practice. There are various ways to do prompted journaling: with digital journal apps, physical guided journals, or even journaling challenges. You can choose which option suits you better each season, or even pick specific prompts for special occasions such as New Year’s Eve or your birthday.
This practice is amazing for any moment of the day, though I must admit I find it perfect to do in the mornings and start my day feeling joyful. Gratitude journaling consists of listing three to five (or ten if you’re feeling extra bright) moments or objects that you’re grateful for in that moment. You’ll see how easy it is to find things you feel gratitude towards once you set your mindset to it. As I said, this journaling practice is ideal to do as soon as you wake up; just grab a pen or your phone and write what you’re grateful for. It’ll change your entire attitude in minutes, leaving you feeling more positive and with a sense of utter appreciation for what you already have.
Unconstrained morning journaling:
This journaling practice has gained momentum because of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages method. Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, a stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning to free your mind of any negative thoughts, and start the day feeling renewed. Of course, you don’t have to follow the Morning Pages method by the book and write three full pages of brain dump every morning. You can start small, writing half a page or a single one every day, and move forward from there. This style of journaling can be time-consuming, but it can also help you empty your mind before beginning your day.
Inner work journaling:
Journaling can be a very healing practice if you use it as a profound self-reflection. When doing inner work journaling, you’re allowing yourself to reflect and explore all the negative emotions, trauma, fears, and negative beliefs that might be holding you back. This helps you release all that negativity on the page and invite new, more positive emotions into your mind. You can simply start off by writing your biggest fears and ways to overcome them, or maybe the three things that you feel are preventing you from moving ahead in life. Inner work comes in many shapes and forms, so you have to go with your gut on this one to find what’s best for your personal development.
This practice consists of listing the things you want to achieve in life. Just pick five or ten goals that truly resonate with you and put them on paper. There’s something about writing what you want that makes you even more eager to work towards it. This practice can be done as short- or long-term as you want it to be. Maybe you feel better reflecting on your goals for each week, or perhaps you prefer to start fresh every month. I personally love to do this every New Year’s Eve; it helps me center my mind on what I want to accomplish next.
This one is a must for the Law of Attraction lovers, but anyone can give it a try. Journaling can help you feel in sync with your dreams and help you visualize them as a reality. There are many ways you can do manifestation journaling. You can try scripting, which is essentially writing something you want to see happen as if you’re already living it, minute by minute. You can also do a “Dear Universe” letter set one year from now, in which you tell yourself all the great things that happened in the span of a year, even if you haven’t lived it yet. The journaling of positive affirmations can be put into this category as well, since they can help you have a positive attitude towards the manifestation of your goals.
As our final note, I’ll tell you a little about this incredibly popular journaling technique. Also known as the “Konmari for your racing thoughts”, bullet journaling is a productivity system and a mindfulness journal at the same time. It’s a bullet journal, a planner, a diary, and a goal-setting tool created all by your own handcrafted work. Yes, you have to design it yourself all the way back from a daring blank page, and it’s supposed to be updated daily. It could include sections to log your daily to-dos, monthly calendar, notes, long-term wants, and even your reading list for the entire year. It’s up to you how to customize it and what use to make out of it, transforming it into the perfect journal for those of you who want full creative control and productivity at the same time when journaling.