You can journal about anything, for anything.
Are you feeling stuck and creativity blocked? Journal.
Do you need an alternative to meditation because your monkey mind can’t take the heat? Journal.
Do you need to learn how to play this game of “life” with just a little bit more clarity about yourself? Journal.
Are you on a mission to making your mind a powerful ally, rather than your worst enemy? Journal.
Since you literally have to
this helps your thoughts flow a tad bit more seamlessly from your heart and mind, to pen, to paper.
Supercharging your journaling practice
When you meet with your journal, I bet you’ll want to obtain all the benefits of it. How can you journal to get the most out of it?
It’s called efficiency, baby! There will be zero time wasted.
STEP#1: set an intention
You can write aimlessly and with no agenda, BUT you do have an end goal, here. Even if the end goal is to dump all your thoughts on paper, there is a bigger picture reason, right? Find it. 🙂
It can be:
- To get your mind right as you journal through a personal or professional problem (so that you can solve it).
- To take off the professional mask for a second, and tell your boss how you really feel (for working through your feelings of course, not to remain in your sulking).
- To take off ANY social mask for that matter, and spend some time nurturing the real YOU.
- To keep as an ally on your journey to professional improvement and record your successes for celebration and your failures to learn from.
- To simply work on your writing craft (or journal through your experience of learning another one as a way to reflect and perfect it).
Listen, the list is endless. But, be assured that setting an intention guides and streamlines the ENTIRE process.
STEP#2: ask yourself very specific journal prompts
If the prompt is “free-write, let me just get my thoughts on paper”. Then kudos to ya.
But, if you’re seeking a specific outcome, then ask yourself specific journal prompts.
- If I were speaking to a trusted adviser, what advice would they give me to solve this problem?
- What’s the bigger picture? What do I need to know about it, so that I can see my role a bit more clearly?
- What can I learn from this failure? Knowing what I know now, what would I have done differently?
Yes, you can be your own best friend, adviser, therapist, and counselor (without spending big bucks).
Hands down, the top 3 ways journaling has helped me on my journey, and how they can help you.
#1. Journaling helps you experience joy and fulfillment in your life
From a bigger picture perspective, the simple act of prioritizing a “journaling session” with the intention of understanding yourself, is b-e-a-utiful.
You’re choosing you.
By putting your thoughts on paper, you may just gain a better sense of what’s going on up there.
- What gems of wisdom do I have hidden, that I didn’t even realize I had?
- How does x, y, and z make me feel and how can I see it in a different perspective that will allow me to feel more empowered?
- What is all this mumbo-jumbo going on in my head, and how can I put it aside to be fully present?
I’m willing to put my money on this statement:
You cannot move through life successfully if you don’t understand yourself.
I don’t care what anyone says.
Your relationships become compromised. How can you communicate your relationship needs, truthfully, if you don’t understand them? How can anyone understand you, if you don’t even understand you?
Your career-life can’t flourish. How can you know what to aspire to if you don’t understand your work ethics, gifts, talents, or passion?
Your faith and spiritual life weaken. How can you feel connected to your source, when you’re walking around only understanding fragments of your inner world?
You’ll fail to experience joy and a sense of fulfillment in most areas of your life.
Yes, there are other ways to achieve all of this – journaling isn’t the end all be all. BUT, journaling has definitely helped me out in all of this, AND MORE.
#2. Journaling helps you understand your limiting beliefs
By journaling, you will learn how to shuffle through the bullshit, straight down to the core of some of your really limiting beliefs.
Feeling powerless, limited, and constrained by *outside* influences SUCK.
It feels like being stuck in a busy, depressing, this-is-physically-mentally-and-emotionally-draining-my-energy, heavy government office when you know you have a million places to go, people to see and things to do. (Type A personality people, can I get an AMEN!?)
It feels like being stuck in a hot, muggy and overly-crowded train that hasn’t moved an inch for the past 20 minutes on the stop RIGHT before you’re supposed to get off.
That shit sucks.
But you know what REALLY sucks? WHEN YOU DO IT TO YOURSELF. When you buy into limiting beliefs that do nothing but hold you back. Why make that investment?
So, here’s a better investment of your energy and time: journal 🙂 So you can find out which of your beliefs are not in alignment, and then work through making them actually feel right for you.
Understand yourself by understanding your limiting beliefs.
- What situations or circumstances make me feel like my stomach’s churning, my heart is about to burst right out of my chest, and my head is about to explode into a million-billion pieces?
- What makes me feel truly, truly powerless?
- What do other people do that makes me want to pull every single little strand of hair off my head?
- What am I choosing to believe about each of these scenarios that causes me to feel this way?
Your beliefs control everything you have and will ever experience. Understand them. Take control of them. OR, be controlled BY them. Your choice.
#3. Understanding and defining your “self-talk”
For the hardcore journal-ers out there, I bet they can all agree with what I’m about to say next. Taking the time to read what they’ve written in the past, I’ll bet a story begins to emerge.
This story is closely integrated with the “self-talk” that goes on in their head. This includes the narratives that they continue to tell themselves and contributes to their overall feeling towards life.
Journaling helps you understand this. This gives you the opportunity to not only be a witness to that but also to transform it in a constructive, loving, and beneficial way. Since you will always be growing and stepping into new realizations about yourself, it’s not a matter of changing your self-talk, “if necessary,” it’s a matter of when.
Life will continue to challenge you, push you to grow, and possibly throw you some good or not-so-good curve balls. By default, your “self-talk” WILL change, but journaling is a powerful tool for ensuring that you take control of your inner world and have it change for the positive.
By ensuring that your self-talk is positive, this constructively trickles into other areas of your life, such as your confidence and self-esteem.
It’ll trickle into your beliefs, words, actions, and behaviors.
How do you think your actions will differ between thinking “everyone’s gonna think I’m stupid,” versus, “Forget what I think they’ll think. I’m a fucking rock star”?!
You’re the captain of your ship, here. So, fake it till you make it, and begin to switch out the negative self-talk for a more constructive self-talk.
Recap & last minute thoughts to walk away with
Are you convinced now that journaling is your ticket to inner world transformations? Know that it is your gateway to achieving a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with yourself.
The best part? You can always read back at it and see how you’ve changed. Think of it as an alternative to taking pictures. Pictures capture moments, journaling captures growth.
Just like staring at my boy with awe as he grows more and more each day, I believe one of the most beautiful things in life is to experience our own personal growth.
Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusize art of solitude – how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives.
– Maria Popova