Why You Should Start a Journaling Practice
Here’s the deal: there’s an epidemic of busyness out there. If you’re like me, you likely find it hard to slow down and enjoy the present moment. Many of us even associate the idea of slowing down with laziness. For one, the modern world is centered around the idea of productivity and output. Similarly, we have become a society hooked on electronics. Screen-time is at an all-time high and there’s a lot of pressure to be on every social media platform, all while keeping up with the latest trends. But life's not all about those things. It’s about savouring the small moments of wonder, peace, and joy, and simply being instead of always doing.
Hands down, journaling is one of the most effective ways of carving out space and time to simply be. Never really journalled before? A great way to start is to set aside 10 minutes a day, whether right before bed or first thing in the morning, and practice free-flow writing (writing down whatever comes to you in the moment, no judgement). It doesn’t have to make sense or mean anything. It could be a few bullet points, or a couple of pages. The point is to just write. It’s about moving your thoughts/emotions out of your brain, into your body, and onto the page.
Here are three reasons why you should start a daily journaling habit:
Practice Being Present
When life gets busy our days often feel very full. Juggling all kinds of responsibilities—from work to home life, catching up with friends, and making sure we’re eating well and exercising—there’s often this sense of endless to-dos. Before we know it, we collapse into bed and wake up to do it all over again. And when we have any scraps of leisure time, they become just more ‘time confetti’, a term originally coined by Brigid Schulte in her book Overwhelmed to mean the way our time feels like so many bits of confetti without a moment to pause and rest.
Journaling is a way to take some time to actually savour the present moment. Instead of diving into your day headfirst, what if you sat down with your journal and your favourite pen and spilled your thoughts, emotions, hopes and dreams onto the page? Journaling is not about writing for anyone else or even with a specific goal or outcome in mind. In fact, the type of journaling I’m talking about here is a way to reclaim the present moment and learn to be with yourself in a different way.
Journaling is a way of being honest with yourself, even if it’s just to notice that you’re exhausted and need some time off but feel like there’s too much to do. A daily habit of journaling is an essential part of establishing a self-care routine precisely because it’s an easy entry point into what is going on with you right now, this very moment. And it’s just for you, like an internal weather check that can help you make decisions on how to manage your energy.
Related Post: How to Start a Self-Care Routine
Reconnect with Your Creative Self
The second huge benefit to journaling is how it allows you to reconnect with yourself and your creativity. When’s the last time you gave yourself permission to day dream? No destination, no answer, just letting your mind wander. Keeping a journal is like daydreaming on a page. You get to consider what your hopes and dreams are, what you really want, what you need right now. It’s a place where you can be honest and vulnerable, and often you can surprise yourself with what surfaces!
Creativity and downtime go hand in hand. Often we get our best ideas when we take a break and go for a walk, take a nap, or move our bodies. Building in rest, rather than being ‘lazy’, is actually the key to wellbeing, which is why journaling is so valuable. It’s a built-in pause at the beginning of the day to spend time with yourself and reflect.
Want a little help starting a journaling practice? Check out Meaningful Mornings, my 21-day meditation + journaling course.
Journaling is one of the best ways to practice gratitude. When life gets hard, we often forget to appreciate the little things. Whether it’s being able to play with your dog or the smell of coffee in the morning, it’s easy to take these simple pleasures for granted.
At the end of the day, rather than watching Netflix until bedtime or mindlessly scrolling through your socials, you could foster an evening ritual that involves practicing gratitude. Try writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day. It might be an experience you had in your day that really lit you up, or a general reflection on all the things you are grateful for that you typically take for granted.
Then, when you’re having a rough day you can look back and read your own gratitude lists to help remind you that life doesn’t always have to feel so hard.
Related Post: Learn How to Manage Your Energy
Find what works for you.
Journaling is one of the key foundational self-care practices that I recommend to all of my clients and teach to all my YTT students because it has this uncanny power of opening us up to new possibilities. It helps us appreciate the simple moments and create opportunities to release stress and reflect on our lives.
There’s no right or wrong way to journal. You can experiment with some of the ideas I’ve shared or come up with your own. What I know for sure is that with a little practice and consistency, you can find a way to do it every day so that it becomes an integral part of your life, just like it has in mine.
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