If you’ve been with me on this journey for a while, you know how much I love to journal because I write about it all of the time. Second only to creating and enforcing boundaries, journaling is one of my favorite forms of self care. And if you have checked out my etsy shop at all, you’ll see that I have not only a bunch of ready to ship journals that I’ve designed and burned, but also the option to get a completely custom journal created for you. These are some of my favorite products, because I truly believe that a journal is powerful.
Journal for clarity.
One of the best reasons to journal is to gain clarity in life. Organize your thoughts, clear your mind and figure out exactly how you are feeling. By getting it all on paper, you’re able to get things out of your head. This allows you to sort through it more clearly. It can lead to discovering things about yourself that you might not have realized otherwise. Writing in a journal is like having a conversation with yourself. It allows you to start problem solving and figuring out what means the most to you. You might also start to see certain themes, events or thoughts repeating that you hadn’t noticed before. Figure out what questions you may have so that you can start seeking answers.
When you have too much going on, things start to feel overwhelming. Being overwhelmed leads to anxiety, depression and stress. Journaling can be a way to fight the overwhelm. Write down everything you have going on, figure out what is needed and what isn’t. This allows you to eliminate some of what is weighing you down.
Focus on gratitude.
Taking the time to write down something you are grateful for each day can do wonders for your mental health. It can help to appreciate the good things, to shift your focus and to reduce stress. Some studies have even shown it to lower blood pressure. Taking just a minute each day can drastically improve your mood and help you to figure out what you would need or want more of.
Track your growth.
Depending on how you journal, you may be able to use it as a reference to see how much you’ve changed over time. You can set goals and track your progress. If you’re detailed and consistent in this process, you’ll be able to see what actions you took that helped you to move forward, as well as what mistakes you may have made that held you back. You may be able to see cause and effect, which can help you to make your choices moving forward.
Sometimes you just need to vent.
You can use your journal as a way to separate yourself from the bad thoughts that are weighing you down. Get them all out of your head and into writing. Your thoughts are between you and yourself. You can let yourself feel everything without worrying about being judged or about hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s a safe place to process your emotions.
Change your mindset.
One of my favorite ways to use a journal is to challenge my self sabotaging thoughts. Whenever I have a negative thought, I’m able to put it into my journal and then follow it up with all of the reasons I know it isn’t true. I’m able to change it around and appreciate myself and my life for everything I am, rather than what I am not. This allows me to strengthen my self confidence and belief in myself while fighting my inner demons. (I have a template in my etsy shop to help make this process easier.)
All you need to do is decide to begin. You can use an actual journal, scrap paper, a computer or even a phone app. Different ways work better for different people- if one isn’t working, try a different one. I personally do all of them… I blog on my computer, I have an app on my phone that I use when I don’t have any paper on me, post it notes, printer paper… And then of course I usually have about 5 journals going at a time for different reasons.
If you decide that an actual journal is the way to go, I would love to create one for you! I’ve burned full designs, names, quotes, etc onto journals to make them more personal and it’s always makes me happy to do so because I love knowing that another person has started the journal journey. While I have some in my shop, you can always message me for a completely custom one, from color to size to page type.
Once you have your journal or preferred writing method, you just start writing. Whatever is in your mind, put it on paper. Your goals, your dreams, your thoughts… anything you need to think through. Write your gratitudes, your questions, etc… If you’re trying and it just isn’t coming, you can also use a template or prompt. There are a ton of resources at the press of a button (hello google!).
Make it routine.
Try writing every day. Maybe even set a specific time to do it- before bed or first thing in the morning. When it’s part of your routine, you’re more likely to do it each day (whether for a minute or for a half hour). This means it is more likely to work for you. It may take some time before it starts to feel natural, but if you persevere and stay consistent, hopefully you will feel the full power of the journal.
Willing to give it a try? I’d love to hear how it goes!
Whether you try it or not, remember that you matter, your feelings are valid, and you are not alone.