Journaling is the modern day idea of keeping a diary. When I was younger, the coolest part about having a diary was that I had a little key to lock up all my secrets. I would write about what I did that day, who I had a crush on, and about my friends. I didn't take it seriously and didn't write in my diary every day because it was more the novelty of having a secret, locking book.
But today, journaling can be more than a place for secrets. It can become a mindful practice to help process thoughts and feelings.
I have noticed that some people are apprehensive when it comes to writing things down that are so personal. My mom used to say, "Be careful what you write down because it becomes permanent when it is in ink." I disagree. The words are permanent, but the feelings and emotions are not.
Because of my mom's influence, I was originally not a fan of journaling. Even when I did try to write about something personal, I would tear it up and throw the pieces away in case someone read it. I am a private person so it would be difficult for me if someone read my deepest thoughts.
However, all that has changed for me. A few years ago, I started keeping a journal. I wrote down how I felt each day, what I was going through, and the steps I was taking to make my life better. Often, I would reread my entries and it helped. I could see my progress and my growth. I could see how dramatically I was changing and how my life was improving.
Journaling for me now is a mindful practice. It helps me to clear my mind and my thoughts. It helps me to see my feelings in black and white which then allows me to handle them in a healthier way.
Some tips for journaling:
1) Know that there is no right or wrong way to journal.
It is your journal; do it your way. You can write for hours or for a few minutes. It is totally and completely up to you.
2) Be consistent.
Try to make this a daily practice or habit. The consistency is what makes journaling beneficial to you.
3) When you don't know what to write, make a list.
Sometimes I see the blank page and I am just at a loss about what to write about. I either choose a journal prompt or make a list of something ...anything. Be sure to download the Journal Prompt list.
4) Use a colorful marker or pen.
I often doodle while I am journaling. Using color just makes writing fun.
5) Give it a try.
Journaling is one of those things that if you don't try it, you will never know what you are missing.