I’ve always been a writer. It’s been my art and how I’ve always been able to express myself. Writing was always what I excelled at in school. Pretty much the only thing I excelled at, really. While I was good at and enjoyed writing, I was never really one to write in a journal growing up. I just never really knew what I would write about in a journal, so I didn’t.
In 2016, journaling became a really important part of my self-care & taking care of my mental health. I started journaling in May 2016 when life got pretty stressful and I found myself struggling to keep my sanity. I would write about everything going on and trying to make myself think positively going into the day. I wrote on a notepad, nothing special, but I just used whatever I had laying around already. I would try writing every morning, talking myself into trying to be all positive throughout the day. I tried for a couple weeks, but ended up giving up weeks later. I had heard all about the positive things that could come from journaling, but I just wasn’t seeing the benefits myself.
In September 2016, I went to counseling for the first time. During my first session, my counselor told me to get myself a pretty planner and write everyday about what’s on my mind and write 3 things I love about myself everyday. Now, if you are going through a tough time and struggling to love yourself everyday, this is an incredibly tough task. But, I have been trying to keep journaling as a priority for a while now.
Ever since then, for 3 years now, I have slowly been able to bring myself back together. While it was hard at first to even get the motivation and drive to write and find something that I loved about myself, I always ended up back there writing. I started writing about EVERY THING! It’s amazing all of the things that you can discover when you write it all down.
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. You have to take it seriously and be intentional. You may even discover some things lingering in your subconscious that you didn’t even know were there.
Seriously, journaling is P O W E R F U L !
In the last year or so, I’ve really been trying to make this a daily thing. Before I start my day, I try to write 1-2 pages in my journal. I don’t give myself any limitations, just write. Everything that going on in my mind. I write about what’s frustrating me, how I’m feeling emotionally, the events going on in my life, what I’m excited/nervous about, what I am frustrated with myself about, where I want to be, my goals and ambitions. Anything. If it’s on my mind at the time, it goes in my journal. I had such a hard time at first figuring out what to write about. But, I’ve learned there’s no right or wrong way to journal.
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.
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.
Over the last 3 years, I have made it to my fourth journal. 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.
I typically don’t do journal prompts, because I feel like it takes away from what is on the surface that I need to talk about that specific day. But, these are some things that I usually end up writing about:
How are you feeling?
What emotions are you feeling?
How’s the week going?
What do you wish was going better?
What is going well?
What are you proud of yourself for?
What are you disappointed about?
Did someone/something make you mad?
If you prefer journal prompts, I definitely understand! There are TONS of prompts out there for any kind of self-discovery/reflection!
I also started writing about what I’m grateful for. I started with The Five Minute Journal. Even though I don’t like regular journal prompts, I did like the prompts prompts in this journal and I can honestly say that it helped me make expressing gratitude a habit.
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?!
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. ❤