Want to listen instead of read?
No, that is not the name of some hot new band on the scene, rather what I like to so endearingly call our “out of control emotions.” It is what I like to call the pent up emotions that fill our daily thoughts and consume our sanity. It is the emotions that can cause irrational thinking and justifications leading us on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and bad judgement calls.
Experts say to “let it go” and “move on.” To stop resisting and create inner peace. To calm the voices and let your heart guide you. But how do you do that when The Crazies are omnipresent — they are infiltrating your every moment?
Journaling saved my sanity. I spent years resisting diving into the depths of my mind because, honestly, it is kind of a scary place at times. Thickets and weeds and snarling creatures hide behind every corner and wait to attack the upbeat, bouncy, happy woman as she makes her way down the brain’s neural pathway of positivity. Knowing this, I would get enough courage to write my thoughts every 3 months or so, blaming it not on resistance rather on lack of time. Looking back on those infrequent journal entries, I realized three major things that were the nail in the coffin of making my journaling a positive and regular habit:
- I thought I could only write about what was going on in my life, what was upsetting me or what was bringing me down.
- I did not have a committed practice in place.
- I had a fear that someone would read it.
It wasn’t until years later that I truly understood the power of a journal. As I started to explore the bliss of self-discovery and the truth that I could confide in a listening voice where it didn’t matter what I said or how much I cursed, I wouldn’t be judged. But it didn’t stop there.
I learned how to be grateful.
I learned how to stop blaming myself for that which I am not in control.
I learned my desires and my passions and what fuels my heart.
I learned what I will no longer tolerate.
I learned courage and how to face myself and my own personal demons.
I learned (and I listened).
Better than any textbook or self-help words of wisdom, I learned the depths of me — silly quirks and all.
Can you relate to this rollercoaster? Desperately wanting to let go of some fears and emotions that no longer serve you, but feeling like journaling has failed you time and time again? Or, maybe you never really tried the art of writing to help lead you to self-discovery.
I am not going to sit here and tell you about the benefits of journaling — we all have probably heard the run down of how journaling and writing down your thoughts can be so transformative. Instead, I am going to tell you about how to get started and to guide you through some of my pitfalls that held me back from making this a positive, healing habit for so long.
- Write about what comes to your mind, not what you think you should write about. Some days, make it a gratitude entry. Other days, make it problems you want to sort through. And other days? It could be a conversation with your higher being or even a letter to a friend. You pick what feels right and just go for it.
- Pick a specific time and commit to a length that you will write. You can commit to writing for one minute or one hour, that is totally up to you. It is about making the vow to yourself to do the work rather than shy away. It is about being consistent and showing up for yourself to say, “Hey, I see you and I honor you.”
- Draw pictures or doodle if you are not feeling the written word. Maybe writing is not our thing, but drawing is. Pick the medium that best inspires you.
- Put it somewhere safe. Journaling is about freeing your mind and your thoughts and allowing yourself to discover yourself. Nothing puts the brakes on faster than censorship over the fear of someone else reading it. Remember, this is your heart, protect it if you feel that you need to.
- Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation. It just doesn’t matter! When you are constantly looking to correct and you are going back to review for any mistakes, it can take away from the free flow of thoughts. Let your thoughts flow and the grammar and punctuation go!
- Let mistakes be. Don’t worry about fixing your mistakes or whiting anything out. There is power in mistakes and learning to move on from that. Plus, you never know what you might learn from a mistake — Freudian slip anyone?
- Have a pretty journal that inspires you, feels good in your hands, and makes you want to write in it! What you choose doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be inspiring and motivating so that you want to keep going back to it.
- Have fun and get rid of expectations. Let it be a fun practice rather than expecting anything out of it. When we are filled with expectations, it is harder to see the messages and the fun gets zapped out of us quickly!
Still not sure where to start? Here are 30 journaling prompts to prime the brain and get some juicy journaling started!
- Write a list of 5 things you love about yourself, and why they make you unique.
- If you could be the best in the world at one thing, what would you choose and why?
- When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up, and did you follow through with your dream?
- What quote inspires you on tough days?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
- If you won $1 million, what would you do with the money?
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
- If you could have lunch with one person who is no longer here with us, who would you choose and what one question would you ask them?
- What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve ever learned and how has it changed you?
- Describe a situation in your life that caused you to feel regret. If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
- Write about a book/movie that had a big impact on your life, and why it affected you so much.
- What 3 things do you want the people you love the most to remember about you after you’re gone?
- Fill in the blank: When I’m feeling anxious or stressed, I ___________.
- Describe something GOOD that happened to you today.
- What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
- What scares you?
- Discuss a time you failed at something important to you. If you could have a do-over, what would you change about the situation?
- What are you most grateful for in your life?
- Pick ONE positive word you’d like to focus on this week and brainstorm a list of things you can do to experience this feeling each day.
- Describe your favorite time of year. What do you love about it, who do you spend it with, and what activities do you enjoy during that time?
- Write a letter to someone who has done you wrong. Discuss what they did and how it made you feel, and then forgive them and let it go.
- If you had $1,000 to spend on nobody but yourself, what would you buy and why?
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Describe your perfect day.
- What qualities are important to you in a friendship/romantic relationship?
- List and describe the most important people in your life, and what you admire most about them.
- If you had one full day to yourself without any responsibilities, who would you choose to spend it with and what would you do?
- Discuss 3 things you’d like to change in your life, and brainstorm strategies to make these changes a reality.
- Describe your dream job.
As your thoughts expand and your inner world transformations (and your outer world may get a little, or a lot, wonky) allow your journal to be your companion and your confidant on your journey!
Journaling and inner work is only one form of detoxing your body — There are many more! Let me guide you on taking the next step of cleaning out and clearing up…
I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.
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