As kids, many of us kept diaries. In them, we’d scribble down thoughts, review our day, write down secrets, vent our emotions and even disclose those highly-classified crushes. It was a guilt free confessional that helped us to process our difficult developmental years. Somewhere along the way, too many of us decide that we’ve out grown the need for a diary or daily journal. But at what age do we really stop needing an outlet to relieve stress and process our emotions? Writing in a journal allows us to get in touch with our truest, most unfiltered thoughts. The things we don’t tell anyone else, we can admit to our journal. The act of getting it out and onto paper can be cathartic. Sometimes all you need to begin to move on from a certain hurt or trauma is to expel it. Suddenly, you no longer feel the need to replay the trauma in your mind. As we rereading what we wrote, we can look at a situation from an outside perspective, as the audience rather than the writer. This gives us a new perspective from which we may see and accept the responsibility that we had been avoiding, or see the patterns we need to change. Journaling is a like a scrapbook of our thoughts. It’s a great way to track your own development. Have you ever gone back and re-read your old diary? It can be both funny and insightful to see the person you once were and compare it to the person you are now—to see what has changed and what has proved essential to your character. There’s no better time that now, as we approach a new year, to start keeping track of your life with a mindfulness journal using these helpful tricks!
Set Aside The Time for your Mindfulness Journal
Intuitive? Yes. Overlooked? Often. Part of the reason so many of us outgrew journaling in the first place was that our lives became busier. More homework, more friends and more hobbies meant less time to color, draw and journal as we turned into young adults. We have to train ourselves to get back to the basics of a happy, healthy existence. Making time to color, draw and journal can help us to see the benefits of simple, mindful activities. Set aside 15 minutes at the end of your day, one to three times a week, and unwind with whatever thoughts are rolling around in your mind. You may find that journaling before bed actually helps you to get to sleep faster. The therapeutic manner in which getting your emotions out will not only expend some of your excess energy, it will give you a time and space to release the incidents of the day so that your brain doesn’t continually recap them as you try to get to sleep.
Writer’s Block? Use a Prompt
It can be difficult when you first start journaling to know where to start. If you don’t have any thoughts about your day that you feel like writing about, consider a prompt to get your creative juices flowing. There are a plethora of journaling prompts online, but a few that you can consider now are: a list of what makes me happy, what is a moment that I wish I could do over, what is something I wish I’d said yes to, what is something I wish I’d said no to, and what is something I need to hear today.
Meditate Before You Write in your Mindfulness Journal
Meditation has a way of illuminating your emotions, elevating you above the point of feeling them, and allowing you to simply sit with them in a calm and collected state. When you come back down from meditation, you can begin to process your emotions in a way that will be less raw. Instead of writing down every manic thought, you will have had time to calm down, sit with those feelings and write from a centered place. Try meditating with crystals – even crystals for creativity – to become inspired, centered and motivated!
Move Beyond Past Traumas
These may feel like the most significant things you have to write about, but part of what makes them significant is the way that your mind goes back to them when it seeks to fix and remedy something. It’s okay to revisit traumas when you feel old wounds reopened, but it can also be unhealthy to develop a nostalgia for that hurt which you indulge by repeatedly going over it. Once you have addressed your pain in your mindfulness journal, move onto a new subject. Focus on something recent. Whether it’s something that made you happy today, or something you learned that you found interesting, just try to concentrate on the present.