How to use your journal - The Basics
When I talk about journaling with new clients, friends...even my barista...I usually get a blank stare and I know this is what they're thinking, "Aren't you a little old to be writing Dear Diary?" Although sometimes I still start a journal entry with a little Dear Diary action, journaling is a major component of my life and my happiness. Within just a couple sessions I find that even those who haven't dusted off their journals in years are in love with the comfort it can bring. Let me show you how to use yours for the same! Step One - Do you own a journal?
May be an obvious one, but do you own a journal? And no, not that one you used when you were a kid. If you don't own a journal or you don't own one that feels good to write in gift yourself a new one. Sometimes I don't even fill a journal all the way because my life needs something fresh. I easily have 5 journals in use right now - and maybe that would drive you crazy or maybe, like me, you need to compartmentalize the different parts of your life. Like daily journaling, goal setting, dreams and ideas, prayers, etc. Find what works for you. I'm partial to the Ecojot journals. They're pretty and feel great to write in - you can see the collection here.
Step Two - Decide what you need today
What do you need from your journal today? Clarity or reflection? To vent and let go? To dream and be creative? Decide first what you need because that can change what type of journaling you do, what journal you use, even the journal prompt you use! Don't fret, I've included a few to get you started below.
Step Three - Find a quiet space
The space you use for journaling will make a difference. Maybe it's your deck, the kitchen table, in bed, on the bathroom floor (this is one of my favorites), at a coffee shop, while drinking wine or tea...there are many options! Try on a few different spaces and even time of day to find what fits you best. It's also best to find a space you won't be interrupted in. When you get into the heart of your journaling (3-5 minutes in to writing) you won't want to be distracted.
Step Four - Set a timer and start
For new journal writers I recommend using a timer until you're comfortable free writing. Start with 7 minutes and work your way up to 15 minutes. Sometimes you'll get into a flow and not want to stop when the timer chimes, that's ok, keep going! The timer makes it easier to start because you don't have to sit and ponder for too long what to write about. Once it starts put pen to paper. I promise words will come through.
Step Five - Let it all hang out
Journaling is freeing for the mind and body. Let it all hang out! Emotions, fears, dreams, even poor grammar. Just let it be. You may want to go back through and read what you wrote and your first reaction may sound like this, "Eck, that was so much cooler in my head..." That's ok! What matters is that you're writing. Keep writing!
As promised, here are a few of my favorite go to journal prompts. Simply write them at the top of your paper, set your timer, and start writing.
- If I knew I could not fail I would...
- My body is teaching me...
- If my future self were here they would tell me...
- Today I am grateful for...
Enjoy and happy journaling! -Andrea
If you're interested in trying journaling for 14 days check out my 14 Days of Body Love here.