Writing has always been one of my first loves. Whether or not it’s something you’ve found solace in, the truth is, it the majority of people who give it an honest effort find it incredibly healing and transformative.
Interestingly, there are many different ways to ‘journal.’ If you’ve never gotten into it before, or it’s a habit that has gotten stale, today my hope is to introduce to you something that feels good, and something that is easily woven into a hectic schedule.
But first, WHY?! What is the point of writing if it is actually not one of your natural inclinations? Well, first and foremost, it does not have to be for everybody. The tiny little catch with that, though, is you have to at least try before you decide it’s not for you. Annnndd, when you first try something new, know up front that you’re likely to experience at least some resistance. So I would recommend choosing one of the options for journaling I’ll share below and working with it consistently for a month. No, I didn’t mistype that—a month! A month is a good amount of time to see how something really feels and whether or not it is helping you to feel better.
Ok, back to the WHY. Regardless of what your journaling style may be, writing of any kind is a great way to get emotion OUT. We as humans have a strong tendency to bottle things up, shove them down, pretend they don’t exist… until years later we develop a really serious disease, illness, or have chronic pain that leaves us saying, “I just don’t understand why this happened to me.” Well, I’ll tell you, emotion is a strong, strong, STRONG cause of disease. In fact, it is one of the major factors Chinese medicine accounts for. We all have “stuff”, we all “feel”, but we all don’t deal with those things in a healthy way. Journaling helps this process flow naturally, freely, and it allows for deep healing, forgiving, and letting go.
If you’re not into the whole healing thing, which, if you’re here and still reading, I highly doubt, but if, you can look at this process in a more practical way. The act of journaling will directly and positively impact your life and your relationships. What happens when we don’t deal with emotions or situations that come up and upset us? Well, most commonly, we push things down, and later release them on to someone close to us, usually a family member, a partner, a friend… i.e. someone who really doesn’t deserve it. This can cause a very tired, old, repetitive cycle that can really inflict havoc on relationships. So, if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones!
Below are 3 of my favorite methods I use to journal. I tend to go back and forth between these, but if this is brand new to you, I recommend picking one and sticking with it for a good amount of time (at least a month) so you can really feel the shift.
#1: Morning Pages
I borrowed this idea from a book called The Artist’s Way. If you’re really looking into bumping up your journaling game, you can check out the book—I personally really loved it.
Morning pages are simple, you do them first thing when you wake up, and you set a timer for 20-30 minutes. There is no specific topic or task, you just write whatever is on your mind and whatever comes up. That could be as simple as what you want to have for breakfast, or as complex as working your thoughts out on a particularly weird dream from the night before. The idea is that you get out whatever is on your mind early on so that you can start your day with a fresh slate. It is known to increase your creative energy immensely when you do a practice like this consistently.
#2: Write Yourself a Love Letter
Sound corny? Good! Get comfortable with the corn! This is simple, but not easy. Once you begin, you’ll understand the distinction. The “directions” are really just that, tell yourself all the things you love about yourself. The hard part is actually coming to terms with what you love. This is a really powerful and transformative practice. I truthfully think everyone and their mom could benefit. Once you get really good at it, you can start reading it aloud to yourself in front of the mirror- that’s when the real vulnerability comes in!
#3: Write Someone else a Letter
Have beef with someone? Someone driving you crazy? Feel your partner is the root of all evil in this world? Write to them! No, you don’t have to send it. Start with their name at the the top, Dear so and so… and then just let it all out. Oftentimes when I start this process I think I will indeed send the letter (totally optional) but when I get to the bottom, I feel that I have already let go of the attachment, anger, or frustration and don’t feel the need anymore. This as well, can be incredibly healing.
There are many more options for journaling that I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post on, but these are a few of the good ‘beginning’ ones. Who would have ever though there was so much to journaling?! Either way, make sure to set yourself up for success:
✔️Choose one to stick with
✔️Do it at the same time every day
✔️Make a goal to do it for at least a month
✔️Hold yourself accountable- tell a friend about this practice you are starting, maybe even ask them to check in on you throughout the month!
So much love to all of you!