Everyone feels discouraged sometimes. It's common to feel like you're stuck in a rut as you struggle with the frustration you feel when you try to get out of it.
However, the fact is, even ordinary days are full of potential if you develop the mindfulness to recognize them. That's what journaling is all about! Forget about silly images of a lovesick teenage girl pouring out her anguish as she writes in her diary, the ink running from her bitter tears. While writing down how you feel is certainly a part of effective journaling, it's much more complex than that. In fact, keeping a daily journal can help you with wellness in many ways:
- It helps you keep focus, organize your thoughts, and boost creativity
- It's great for relieving stress, anxiety and for reducing depression
- Writing things down is incredibly healing
- A journal will encourage you by giving a written account of your progress towards a goal
- It provides a private forum for your thoughts
- Journals are a perfect place for positive self-talk and inspiration
A journal will help you stay close to your values and inner emotions. Many famous people have journals. Marie Curie, the woman who discovered radioactivity in the late 1800s, kept one. So did Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. Current well-known celebrities who also journal include:
- Jennifer Aniston
- Emma Watson
- Lady Gaga
- Jessica Simpson
Journals aren't necessarily just for words. You can do sketches, drawings, or anything else you want. You can journal every morning before you get up and include any memories of dreams. You can write at the end of the day as the last thing you do before going to sleep. You may decide to keep a record of everything you're grateful for each day. You can keep one either on paper or online, but many people prefer the satisfaction of writing with a pen on paper. It's all up to you.
Choosing a Journal
Start by deciding what kind of journal you want to use. Bookstores and stationery stores sell beautiful, gold-edged, bound books with blank pages for you to fill with your thoughts, goals, accomplishments, and aspirations. These come in all sizes. You could get a small notebook to carry with you during the day to jot down thoughts as they happen and transfer them later to your main journal. Be sure to date each page, so you can measure the emotional and physical progress your journal has helped you to achieve. Another idea for a journal is a loose-leaf, three-ring binder. Buy one in your favorite color and use colored or decorated pages for writing. Binders are good because you won't run out of pages, and you'll have plenty of room to write. When you need more pages, just pop open the rings and put in more paper.
It can also be used for keepsakes, such as the program from a concert or a pressed flower mounted on paper from a wedding. Stationery stores carry paper decorated in all kinds of ways, from characters from popular television shows to seasonal themes.
With a loose-leaf binder, your pages can represent what's important to you, whether it's cars, cartoon characters, animals, seasons, planets, symbols, celebrities, sports, travel, or food. If you love special occasions, your October pages may be orange with black cats. February might be red and pink with lots of hearts. Another idea is to write an inspirational saying each day. This could be something someone said that day, something from a famous author or celebrity, or a Bible verse that holds special meaning for you.
Journaling in your Daily Routine
So, now you have your journal ready to go. The next step is to find a way to write in it every day. This might be easier than you think. Try writing as soon as you get up before you get caught up in the unpredictable happenings of your day. Take a minute when the alarm goes off to write before you even get out of bed. If you do keep a small notebook with you during the day, this would be a great time to transfer those thoughts from the day before and also add new ones to them. If you're keeping a dream journal, add dream memories in as well. Most people have a natural rhythm to their days. Choose a time that's typically slower and use it to write in your journal. You can also set an alarm on your phone to remind you.
Strive to make journaling a habit by committing to a daily entry for a month straight. It takes a few weeks of doing something daily to make it a habit. After that, it's just a natural part of your day. Even just one sentence a day would be enough to start your journaling habit. If you prefer the digital world, there are a myriad of free journaling apps for your phone that come with prompts and reminders. Universum and Daybook are two examples. There's even an app for lucid dreamers called Luci!
Journaling is a perfect way to improve your mindfulness and general wellness, too. All you need is a pen and paper or an app and away you go. What are you waiting for?