Journaling - gain clarity about what it is that truly makes you happy.
Journaling is the simple act of writing things down. You can journal in so many different ways and I’m going to show you how I do it.
Often it is easier to cling on negative events that have happened during your day than ALL THE POSITIVE THINGS that very often overweight the negative ones. A gratitude journal can help you to gain back your focus on the things that make you happy in your every day life. Write down three things that you are grateful for every evening, and you will quickly realise how it can help with insomnia, feeling sadness or anger, stress. Your mind is going to be more observant for the nice things that happen during your day. Here is an example:
1. I’m grateful for the pancakes I ate.
2. I’m grateful for that person in the shop that smiled at me and asked me how I am today.
3. I’m grateful for the yoga session I did.
It’s the simple things that make us appreciate our lives more. Feel them, notice them, write them down and you will soon experience more happiness in your life.
Journaling is nothing else than talking to yourself in written words. We have conversations with ourselves all the time in our heads without even realising. We tell ourselves all kinds of stuff, very often this can be negative. It could be stuff like “why do I look so ugly today”, “I should lose some weight”, “why can’t I get my shit together”, “I am so stupid” - you get the idea.
Through journaling you can gain more control about what you tell yourself. You can use positive affirmations to change your negative self-talk into positive self-talk that actually serves you. It is proven that whatever we tell ourselves repeatedly we start to believe. In that sense, your thoughts are your reality.
Positive affirmations are an amazing tool to help you talk positively to yourself. If you use one positive affirmation every week daily, you will feel more empowered and believe more in yourself. If you want to embrace slow living into your life and stop rushing, then your affirmation can be something under these lines: “I embrace slow living today.” If you catch yourself telling yourself constantly how stupid you are, then try this: “I am a very intelligent and knowledgeable person.”
Tell yourself positive things because then you start to believe them. It’s all about changing our belief system in our heads. If you want to achieve something, then positive affirmations help you to be in the right mindset to be able to pursue your dreams. This is NOT wishful thinking. I’m not saying that telling yourself “I am rich and have a big house” will make you rich overnight. Being in the right mindset means that you are more likely to act upon your dreams which can lead to lots of money and the house of your dreams.
Stream of Consciousness
Another journaling exercise that is totally worth doing is stream-of-consciousness writing. Set yourself the same time every day that you do this exercise. I do it in the morning, first thing when I wake up. Write 3 pages of stream of consciousness. And this totally means writing every single thought down, E V E R Y T H I N G you are thinking (e.g. I got such a big head ache my neighbour is really loud omg why did I wake up so late oh it's sunny and warm outside and so cosy in my bed today I need to do laundry oh and there's this birthday party I wanna go to I wonder what I should wear there our world is in a climate emergency state and nobody seems to care hello people wake up or we'll all die...) Just write, let your thoughts flow. This can sometimes be VERY negative and sometimes more positive or both. What you achieve through this is to rid yourself of all "unnecessary" thoughts. You will start noticing much more what you are thinking about. What are your worries, concerns? Plus, writing things down means that they won’t be stuck in your head. It’s like making to do lists, once it’s on the paper, you feel relieved that you don’t have to think about it anymore because you wrote it down so you don’t have to remember it.
One rule: don’t read your pages for the first 6-8 weeks. There is no need to do so, and don’t show them to anybody! They are not there to be read, they are just your thoughts. If you catch yourself writing about something repetitively then maybe that’s something you should think about in real life, you could uncover some hidden traumas or wishes that you might want to pursue but never dared to. Who knows!
The exercise can help you tremendously to stop judging yourself too, stream of consciousness means that you totally ignore punctuation, grammar and spelling. Forget what you learnt in school. It doesn’t matter!
At the beginning, it might feel like a burden to write every single day, I mean it does take up some time but that is time that you need to give yourself. Time that you can call self-care time! It is for YOU and nobody else that you’re doing this. Remember WHY it is that you started journaling, this will keep you motivated. And if you forget to do it once or twice, it is okay! Don’t beat yourself up about it, you are not lazy, journaling is not something that only you can’t do. You totally can, believe in yourself, and continue writing. You will soon notice the benefits and the attitude change. You will crave writing and being clear about your thoughts and feelings when you forget to write. You will notice the difference it makes.
Through journaling you can gain:
a healthy mind
healthy relationship with yourself and others
better stress management
Alsooooo, I prepared some worksheets that you can use to make this easier. Yes, yes! You can download them here via the newsletter subscription button.
You can use my worksheets and put them in your journaling folder, or stick them in your journal. And that’s the last part that I’m going to talk about: your journal!
You can’t start journaling without a proper journal! Get yourself a nice notebook (check out recycled notebooks please), or make yourself one out of recycled paper! I have a separate notebook for the stream of consciousness journaling, and keep my gratitude journaling with my positive affirmations. Keep yourself organised, your mind will thank you for it. Also, a physical notebook can be something very special, there is nothing better than handwriting in a journal and not constantly staring at a screen! But ofc if you feel better writing digitally then do that.
Make your journal personal and beautiful by drawing in it, putting stickers in, and so on. Get creative! Read more about creativity here.
Once you journal, you can keep all kinds of journals, a dream journal, visualisation journal, meditation journal, food journal, travel journal, and so on.
Do you journal already? What journals do you keep? Let me know in the comments below, drop me an email, or reach out to me via Instagram.