With all the uncertainty in the world right now, it is now more important than ever to take time for ourselves. Just as important as it is to take care of our physical health, journaling is a self-care practice for mental and spiritual health that we can’t ignore.
Journaling helps us be the creator of our own life, gives us an outlet to express ourselves, and clarity to focus on what really matters. We are constantly bombarded with information and the sensory overload can cause stress and anxiety if we get caught up in that.
Journaling is a way to keep ourselves grounded and centred by bringing us back to the present moment and acknowledging what we have control over (and letting go what we do not). The act of journaling, no matter how you do it, by just showing up and doing it and making it a daily practice is life-changing.
When we journal, we tap into our subconscious mind to help us reconnect to our true purpose. Who are we? What do we really want? What do we love doing? What lights us up? Taking the time to do the inner work, helps us identify what is holding us back before we can create the life we desire.
The health benefits of journaling have also been proven; it boosts our mood, reduces anxiety and stress, inspires creativity, releases pent up emotions, and improves our memory.*
Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started, or a journaling regular but you’re looking to step-up your game, here are our five tips to start now and improve your practice.
1. Decide on your intention
What do you want to get out of journaling? Do you want to focus on gratitude? Do you want to start a dream journal? Do you want to doodle and sketch each day? Do you want to write out all of your thoughts and then rip the page apart?
There’s no right or wrong way to journal, it’s unique to everyone. Deciding on your intention and what you want to get out of it will help guide the way you start your practice.
It is important to have flexibility when deciding on your intention, knowing that it might evolve or change over time. The only rule is there are no rules. Do what feels right for you.
2. Pick a journal that’s right for you
Once you decide on your intention, and what you want to get out of journaling, it’s time to pick a journal. If you already have a journal but it’s not serving you the way it should, now is the time to re-evaluate and see if there is something else out there for you.
A blank page can be intimidating, which is why it’s hard for many people to get started or know what to write about. A guided journal is usually organized by date, and provides prompts and questions based on your goals. It may ask you the same questions everyday, or each day may be new, depending on the journal.
Whether you’re new to journaling or you prefer to follow prompts in order to start writing, there are many different types of guided journals to fit different goals or personalities.
A lined journal is perfect for someone who wants to stick to writing. Although it’s the most simple journal, it’s still very impactful.
A bullet journal is a method of journaling that is centered around productivity. It uses thin graph lines, and its own organization system and symbols.
Within the lines you can write, draw, or create graphs and calendars. This is a great method for someone who is both creative and analytical, who wants flexibility to schedule, write, and track multiple things within their journal.
A blank canvas allows you to write, draw, and scribble to your heart's content without any confined lines. It’s perfect for a seasoned journaler, or someone who is visual and wants the freedom to create their own outline.
3. Make journaling a part of your daily routine
Decide when and where you want to journal. Are you best in the morning after meditating and before your first cup of coffee? Do you prefer to get your thoughts out right before bed? On your way to work? What will you do before and after you journal?
There's no perfect time to add journaling to your routine, so you’re best to pick a time and place so you know you can be consistent.
4. Stay accountable
Once you have decided on adding journaling to your routine, staying consistent and accountable is key. Whether it’s having a journaling buddy you check in with, keeping your journal in a place where you will be reminded of it, or adding time to your calendar, staying accountable is just as difficult as getting started.
You need to decide that journaling is a non-negotiable for you; the more you see the results, the more you will set out to make it a part of your life.
5. No time like the present
With all these tips in mind, the most important thing is that you do what works best for you, and you start now. There is always time to fine-tune your practice later, but getting started is the first step to reducing stress, staying grounded, and starting to create the life that you want, rather than letting life happen to you.