For the last couple years, journaling has become a very important part of my self care routine & has helped improve my mental health. I often talk about how important journaling is because I truly believe in the therapeutic nature of it. For me, it has been a life changing addition to my routine!
The truth is, I was never one to write in a journal consistently because I just thought it was time consuming & I didn’t really know what to write about. I would try to get in the habit of journaling consistently because I would hear about how helpful it could be. But, I could never get the habit to stick.
Now that I’ve been journaling pretty consistently for the last couple years, I wanted to dedicate a post to talking about the benefits of journaling & my tips for anyone wanting to incorporate journaling into their self care routine!
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BENEFITS OF JOURNALING
CLEARS YOUR MIND & PUTS THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE
Our brains easily get clogged with all kinds of information that we are trying to work through. When you have a million things running through your mind, constantly thinking about all the things that you have to get done, it can actually be hard to focus.
When you journal, this allows you to get everything out of your head and onto paper so you can visually see it, make sense of it & be more organized. It’s amazing all of the things that you can discover when you write it all down. Things are a whole lot easier when you are doing them with a clear mind! Seriously, journaling can be P O W E R F U L !
Sometimes, just getting all of the anger & stress out of your head and onto paper can be incredibly relieving. Keeping those negative words stuck in your head will only lead to releasing them in a way that you might regret later. Not to mention making you feel crappy. The thoughts might end up making you feel worse and you don’t know why. I get it. You get frustrated and can’t figure out how to get yourself to snap out of it.
Related: How to Handle Stress & Overwhelm
It might sound crazy if you aren’t an avid journal writer, but you seriously don’t know the true power of journaling. It can honestly be life changing.
IMPROVES YOUR MINDSET
Being able to work through anything that is going on in your life & clearing your mind, you will be able to see things differently. Your mind won’t be full of negativity so you can start seeing life in a different way.
You can use journaling to work through any limiting beliefs about yourself & understand some of the feelings & emotions that have been present.
Working through all of those things will ultimately improve your mindset!
Related: How to improve your mindset
By writing everything down & clearing your mind, this will help increase your motivation & productivity! I know that when I have a million things going on in my mind, I have a hard time focusing & being productive.
Journaling can help you get everything out of your mind & onto paper so you can create organization & space in your mind about what you have to do! Seriously, it can be so frustrating trying to get things done when you can’t focus because there’s so much going on in your mind.
CREATE MEMORIES & TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Over the last several years, I have made it through many journals. Each journal carries moments, memories, struggles, breakthroughs. Each one holds a journey in my life. Sometimes, I will look back at these journals and really realize how far I have come. How when I first started journaling, I was an absolute mess. I hated everything and everyone. I was a miserable person, just going through the motions of life, wishing I could figure out what to do to pull myself together.
To even think that I would end up where I am today, at that point is a dream that I didn’t even know that I had. Journaling can be transformative. It’s not just a task that you do just because people tell you that it’s “good to do”. With intention and purpose, it can truly transform lives.
TYPES OF JOURNALING
My favorite kind of journaling is freewriting! This is when I sit down and just let what ever is on my mind flow into my writing. I usually start with writing about how I am feeling, what I have going on, anything that is stressing me out & bothering me. I like to let whatever comes to my mind flow naturally because some things will come to the surface that I didn’t even know was present.
I’ll let myself write until I can’t think of anything else. By the time I’m done, I feel so refreshed because I was able to get everything out of my head! Moving about my day with a clear mind feels so good!
Most people who start out journaling prefer journal prompts because they don’t really know what to talk about. There are so many journal prompts out there that will help you work through anything that you have going on!
I actually put together a list of 50 Journal Prompts for Self Reflection & Self Discovery!
Writing a gratitude list is something that is incredibly helpful for shifting your mindset & perspective. It’s natural for us to go about our day and complaining about things & wishing we had things that we don’t have. But do you ever take the time to really appreciate things that you do have in your life? I started writing in The Five Minute Journal & honestly, it has really transformed my perspective.
I love The Five Minute Journal because it really gets you thinking about your intentions for the day and also reflecting at the end of the day.
You have prompts to write about at the start of the day and a reflection to do at the end of the day. The page starts off with a quote or a “weekly challenge”, followed by having you list 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things that would make the day great and a daily affirmation.
You might notice that you have a hard time listing 3 things you’re grateful for each day. Especially on days that you don’t feel so great. But, the longer you keep to it, the easier it comes to you. I’ve noticed that throughout some days, I find myself naturally expressing gratitude for things that I would otherwise turn a blind eye to.
Then, at the end of the day, you reflect on how the day went. Having you write about 3 things that went well and listing what would have made the day better. Even on those days that you feel didn’t go so well, this really helps to be able to find some positives in what you might think there aren’t any.
I’ve been better at journaling in the morning, than at night. I’m still working working on journaling about my day right before I go to bed, but it’s a work in progress! You’ve got to start somewhere, right?!
Taking the time to reflect can really open your eyes to everything that you have been able to accomplish! I know that I often don’t realize how much I’ve been able to do & how far I’ve come until I take the time to reflect & really think about it.
My favorite time to do reflection & intention setting journaling is at the end of the month. I will look back at everything that I did that month & make a list of intentions for the next month. You can do reflection/intention setting at any time! This can be at the end of the day, week, month, whenever!
TIPS FOR JOURNALING
Journaling isn’t just something to put on your to-do list and just use it as something to check off when it’s done so you can say that you did it. You have to take it seriously and be intentional for it to work!
DON’T TRY TO FORCE YOURSELF TO BE HAPPY & POSITIVE
OK- this one might seem like I’m contradicting myself, but stay with me here.
When I first started journaling, I would write about everything that I was unhappy about & tried to talk myself into being positive and excited about things that were not making me happy. I was pretty much trying to force myself to think positively about things that honestly made me miserable. It didn’t work & really just made me not want to keep journaling because I didn’t think that journaling was working for me.
Instead of trying to force yourself to think positively about something that truly makes you miserable, try working through why you are feeling that way. Make sense of the emotion. You aren’t going to be happy and excited about every little thing and that’s okay! Journaling helps you work through the emotions so you can understand better.
GET A PRETTY JOURNAL
When I first started journaling, I wrote on a plain notepad. I pretty much just used whatever I had laying around already. When I went to counseling, my counselor told me to get myself a pretty journal so I would enjoy writing in it.
CREATE A ROUTINE
When starting to journal, it’s important to figure out when the best time to journal is for you. Does it make more sense in the morning? Or in the evening right before bed?
For me, I like to write in the morning before my day starts because it clears my mind before I jump into the business of the day. There is no right or wrong way to journal or the perfect time to journal. It’s whatever works for you!
I usually like to start my day with both free journaling, as well as filling in The Five Minute Journal prompts. It’s taken practice to be able to make journaling a habit and to be able to find positive things to talk about. Even if I’m not feeling so great that day, journaling helps me get everything off my chest and expressing gratitude definitely helps me shift my mindset. Now, everyday isn’t going to be all positive and that’s okay. But, journaling has definitely been a main staple in helping me shift my mindset and perception going into each day.
Sometimes for me, journaling can bring an idea for a blog post or social media post I can write about. It has given me business ideas, realization of dreams & aspirations. I like to let my journaling and what comes to surface dictate the flow of the day and where I want to really place my focus. For example, starting a new journal sparked the idea to write a post about how transformative journaling has been.
Imagine where your life could be if you started journaling ASAP. Not to be dramatic, but your life could seriously change forever. You just never know. <3
I do offer 1:1 coaching and invite you to check out my opportunities if that is something that you would be interested in. Click here for more information on my 1:1 coaching opportunities! <3
Related: How to know if it’s time to hire a life coach
>> click here to download my 5 tips for crushing your goals
>> click here to download my self care planning worksheet
>> click here to download my 50 journal prompts for self reflection & self discovery