How to reap the magical benefits of journalling

What do Oscar Wilde, Marcus Aurelius, Anne Frank, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Virginia Woolf all have in common? 

As well as being inspirational famous people from history, they were all journallers. They all took a little bit of time out to simply write.

“For someone like me, it is a very strange habit to write in a diary. Not only that I have never written before, but it strikes me that later neither I, nor anyone else, will care for the outpouring of a thirteen year old schoolgirl.”

Anne Frank

A few years ago I heard about the benefits of journalling. But I didn’t know how to start or if it would work for me. 

The truth is that journalling can be whatever you want it to be. 

There is no right or wrong way to journal. 

There are no rules.

Why is journalling so beneficial

Writing things down is a completely different psychological ball game to ruminating and worrying over things in our heads.

Journalling can really help to free ourselves from ourselves.

Nowadays we are in our heads most of the time, trapped by stressful thoughts and busyness.

But journaling is a great way to release that noise with a multitude of benefits such as;

  1. Dumping all of our open loops (repetitive thoughts that drain our energy).
  2. Develops consciousness – self awareness and awareness of the world
  3. Increases productivity and communication skills
  4. Decreases anxiety by getting all the noise out of your head and onto paper
  5. Allows you to reflect and affirm any learnings
  6. Recover from trauma and loss by letting your emotions out
  7. Helps affirm what you really want and your intrinsic values
  8. Helps with creativity to brainstorm ideas

How to build a journalling habit

What might work for one of us might not work for all of us. 

The most important thing is just to get started!

Start small and experiment with prompts and habits to see what works for you. 

Asking ourselves why we want to journal is a good starting point. Go ahead and ask yourself ‘Why do I want to journal?’.

Also, I would invite you to write on a physical journal rather than a screen.

The biggest thing I found when starting is that having a blank page was overwhelming. 

Hence, prompts and questions can help. I have discovered a few methods and prompts that have helped me below. 

  1. 1 line a day – this could be any sentence you want. Maybe it’s to track progress of a goal to reinforce the positive progress towards it or write down 1 thing you’ve done today.
  2. Inspiration: Find an inspirational quote or observation that resonates with you. It could be from a book you are reading, something new you have learnt or something from your own intuition.
  3. Dreams: Write down your dream if you remember it on waking – best to do this first thing in the morning before its buried in your subconscious.
  4. Gratitude: Write down something you are grateful for.
  5. Self-care: What am I doing to look after myself today? What am I doing today for my future self in 5 or 10 years time?
  6. Brain dump: Write without thinking. Don’t judge, just observe. 

Choose one method and commit to it

Start with one of the above that jumps out at you. Or another method if you prefer.

Then commit to it for a week.

You may be surprised at the magical benefits!

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