You know you “should” be journaling. But how do you do it? How do you start? What are the rules?
I’m not a fan of “the rules” and “should”. I AM a fan of listening to your intuition and seeing what feels right.
Why journal? It’s a great way of working with the circular thoughts that frequently plague us.
You know those thoughts? Where we end up beating ourselves up for what we’ve said or should have said. When we go over the same event again and again and feeling the emotions around it at the same heightened level as if we were experiencing it for the first time.
Our bodies can’t tell the difference between the replay and the real event. Read that again. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between the replay and the real event!
That means, every single time we go over the event in minute details, feeling all the feels, we are putting our bodies under immense stress.
And we know what constant stress does to our bodies right? It ain’t good.
Journaling is a way of breaking the circuit.
I like to think of it like Dumbledore using a Pensieve:
“I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.“
Yes, I just quoted Harry Potter!
Where to start? There are so many options and you may need to try a few before you settle on the one that suits you best. You may end up choosing a couple to work with at the same time depending on your needs. Here are a few options:
- Morning pages – if you are committed and good with routines then Julia Cameron’s method, from The Artist’s Way, is excellent. I used this method for a couple of years while doing the Joe Dispenza work. Not for everyone and it can feel a bit clunky at first.
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
- Brain dump
- This is my personal favourite. Pick a time and sit and write what has happened in your day, you can make it as detailed as you like. It can just be facts or you can go into how you felt, what you would have liked to have said/done, how you would have liked to have seen it play out. Of course you also put down the things that went well. I do my brain dump just before I turn the lights out to go to sleep and I find I don’t wake up with those processing thoughts throughout the night (well, most nights!)
- One issue
- You can use journaling to help you with one specific issue. Create a quiet space where you will not be disturbed, switch off the phone and create a sacred space – light a candle, burn some oils, put on some meditation music – whatever you are drawn to. Then put a word, sentence or the whole issue down on paper and start to write whatever comes into your head. Again, there is no right or wrong. This is your process, nobody else gets to read this unless you let them and you may even choose to burn the writing when you’re done. As you write you start to go deeper into what the issue really is and you may find some clarity and a way forward. If you don’t, that’s ok, you can come back to it or try another method.
- Journaling doesn’t need to be writing! It can be any form of expressing what is inside you. You may feel uncomfortable writing – clunky, heavy. If you’re a creative you can pull out the paper and pencils/pens/paints, clay, whatever feels right for you. Then as you create you think of what you’d like to release, pouring it all out into your creation.
- Sending email to self or separate email account
- For those who are keyboard warriors I find a great idea is to set up a separate email account and when the need arises you can type up what you’d like to journal and send it off to yourself. You never need to go and read those emails but there is great power in actually pressing the send button, a tangible release as you hear the email woosh off.
- This is another method for those who prefer a keyboard. You can set up a blog for free and keep it private, adding new entries each day as you would on a paper journal. It can be a great way to add links and photos so you have everything in one place
- Record on phone
- We’ve got so much technology in our hands … literally. If you dread the thought of writing, typing or creating then you can grab your phone and record what’s on your mind. This will probably end up taking up lots of space so there are some different ways to store the recordings, I’d suggest uploading them to a Soundcloud account or something similar. Or you could delete them on a regular basis to free up space.
The idea is to create a regular routine around journaling. Get yourself a beautiful notebook and pen and treat it as self-care/you time. If all you can write is one sentence to begin with then that’s a start.
Remember, there is no right or wrong. It is your process.
Which method do you think you’ll try first?