How to Start A Journalling Practice

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How to Start A Journalling Practice

Creating a journaling practice has been one of the best habits I have built for myself. I have always been the type of person that gets relief from writing things out instead of keeping them all bundled up in my head.

As a child, I had countless journals filled with random thoughts but never kept up with it regularly. In my teens, I turned to write when things felt overwhelming when I was lost or going through a hard time. In my late teens I managed to write every day for an entire year, and then dropped it after missing a few days.

This past year though, I really hit my stride and brought it back into my life, and it has been magical. After consistently doing it, and learning a few different techniques, I believe that journaling will connect us to something higher than ourselves. When we journal we are able to tap into our intuition, inner being, guiding force, whatever you want to call it. You have all the answers within you, and it’s just a matter of tuning out all the noise to hear them.

Benefits of a regular journalling practice:

Re-align with yourself

Unpack and work through things that are going on in your life. Anything, small, big, old, new. Things happening right now or in your childhood. I have used this tool for everything. Gets you out of your head, and able to work through things in a different medium. I am a chronic worrier and live in my head all day long. By journaling, I’m able to work through things in a different way instead of just cycling through the same thoughts or worries.

“There’s a voice that knows the answer, before you even ask the question.” - Buddah

Makes you happier

By incorporating a gratitude practice, you are re-wiring your brain to see all the good things you have in your life, instead of all the things you don’t have. According to Harvard Health,

“Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” -Harvard Health

Make decisions easily

Allows you to tap into the power within you, instead of looking to others for the answers. This is one of the biggest realizations I’ve had from consistently journaling. When I was grappling with a decision, I would ask everyone around me what to do, what they thought. When I really knew the choice I wanted to make, I just hadn’t come to terms or accepted it yet. I use journalling now to tap into my intuition and work through those questions myself. I am in control of my life, I get to make the choices that pave my experience. You have all the answers. No one can make choices for you except yourself. You can use this tool to work through those choices and help you make decisions.

It’s a practice. The more you do it, the easier it is to pick up your book and just write. My sixth-grade teacher used to make us do this as a writing exercise. We had to write for 20 minutes, and the pen could not be put down or paused. If we didn’t know what to write about, we had to write “I don’t know what to write about” over and over until another thought came through.

My practice has evolved and changed over the years, and It will likely continue to change. Some days I can put pen to paper and write without looking up. Other days it doesn’t come as naturally, so I use tools to help bring out ideas or thoughts.

My Journalling Practice

Depending on the day and how I'm feeling, I may do one of these, or pick from a few. If I’m having a hard time writing, I’ll pull a journaling prompt to help the writing flow.

Brain Dump

This is a really great place to start in the morning. Just put pen to paper and write whatever comes to mind. What are you currently thinking about? Worried about? Want to work on today? Did something come up yesterday that you want to celebrate? Work through? Remember? Write whatever you want, there is no wrong place to start. The key here is just to clear your mind and get it out of your head.

Gratitude

I list out everything I’m grateful for. I try to fill a page full every day. The list is usually half of things I am grateful for right now, that are currently in my life. While the other half are things that I want to have, are currently working towards, or want to manifest into my life.

To start, write down “Thank you for” until you’ve filled a page.

Intention Setting

This is a powerful one because you are telling the universe how you want to feel, or how you want things to go before they even happen. Sometimes I’ll write an intention for the day, or the start of a new month, or even before working on a task.

To start, write: “today I want to feel” or “this month I want to feel” or “When I start X task or project, I want it to feel or be X.” For example I want to feel excited about my business today. Or I want to this month to be productive. Or when I sit down to design this brand, I want it to flow easily and effortlessly.

Affirmations

There are a few ways you can do this one. In it’s simplest item, you can simply google and copy affirmations that relate or resonate with you. There are usually a few that I write down every day.

The second way to do this it to write how you want things to go. This can be personal or business related. For me, I’ve been writing a few paragraphs about how money flows easily into my business, how I open my inbox to orders from my online shop and client inquiries. I talk about how excited I am to share my ideas and products with the world. I just let this flow the way it needs too, while always staying in the positive. This has been so impactful for me, as my brain usually goes straight to worry and all the ways things could go wrong. This flips the script and allows me to think about all the ways things could go right.

Magic lists

This is a brand new one recommended to me by my coach. I’ll be experimenting with this one after dinner every day when my anxiety creeps in. Similar to a gratitude list, make a list of all the magic that happened in your life today. Maybe you saw a butterfly, bought your favourite flavour of sparkling water, saved $2 on dinner, had a great chat with a friend etc. Any little moment that was a piece of magic, write it down!

Other Resources For Journalling

I did not come up with all of my practices or techniques. I have learned a lot about journaling from others as well and how they approach this practice. Here are some more resources to check out if you want to dive even further.

Jess Lively: Inner Voice Practice

This is one of my favourites because it teaches you how to talk to your intuition or inner voice. Jess uses a simple question and answer format to dig deep into yourself and what you want. I do this quite a bit, and start with “Inner voice” and then ask a question after. I write down what comes forward and keep asking questions until I feel content.

Holistic Psychologist: Future Self Journaling

I’ve been doing this one fairly consistently for a few weeks, and love that she helps you step into who you want to be. She has some great prompts to write with every day, this would be a great place to start for a beginner.

Devan Danielle: Tune in Cards

When I heard that Devan had created these, I was so excited because there isn’t anything on the market like this. Sometimes I don’t know what to write about, so I shuffle my deck and pull a card. 9/10 times, the prompt is exactly what I needed. This is also a great place to start for a beginner, just shuffle, pick a card, and write.

Do you have a journalling practice? If not, what’s holding you back? If so, what’s your favourite thing to do?