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  • Writer's pictureAtsuko

Writing Your Way to Clarity: 7 Tips for Journaling

Do you journal?

Let's define what journaling is and what it involves. Journaling is keeping a written record of one or multiple elements of your life. In short, it's writing down whatever you want to write. There are no rules; you can just write whatever you like. However, people usually jot down the events of the day and their personal thoughts and feelings. Essentially, it's like keeping diaries. This practice is nothing new; people have been doing it for centuries.

I've been journaling since my early teenage years. It was a simple act with pen and notebook, jotting down whatever I felt like. However, I stopped in my late 20s (can't remember why, probably just got busy), but I held onto those notebooks through various moves. When I stumbled upon them after moving home two years ago, I decided to take a peek. Oh my, how embarrassing! I didn’t hesitate to get rid of them this time!

Anyway, recently there has been more and more scientific pieces of evidence about journaling’s therapeutic values. There is now enough proof to confirm that journaling helps with anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and helps one to be objective to one’s own thoughts. When I heard this a few months ago, I decided to start journaling again. I typically write at night, just before bed, using a good old pen and notebook. There are no strict rules, but I prefer not to dwell on negative things. Instead, I write about what inspired me or what I learned during the day. Additionally, I jot down three things I'm grateful for about the day's events. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it!

One of the key things I learned recently is that it is never to be ever read by anyone, including yourself again. Sure, you can read them if you like, but essentially, journaling is about the act of writing and expressing, rather than creating a permanent record. In one study, participants were instructed to journal using only their fingers (an 'air-pen'), and surprisingly, it was still effective as a therapeutic tool!

This realisation has been game changing for me. No more cringing while reading old diaries filled with self-obsession and self-pity! You simply write your thoughts in a journal, put them on paper, and let go! While journaling at the end of the day might be more common, I know people who prefer to journal in the morning to set the right tone for the day. If it works for you, perhaps give morning journaling a try.

If you haven’t journaled before, or if writing isn't your thing, starting might feel a bit daunting. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  1. Your journal can be in any style and length, covering any subject. You might start by jotting down your day's events in a couple of short sentences or even bullet points. 

  2. Feel free to write about anything, from people you met to food you ate, or even TV shows, books, and films. 

  3. It doesn’t have to be all about 'deep personal thoughts and feelings.' Personally, I prefer to focus on positive things, but you can be as dramatic and self-pitying as you like. 

  4. Remember, nobody, including yourself, will ever read it! 

  5. Your entries can be long or just a few sentences. 

  6. You can write with pen and paper or digitally. 

  7. It's good to aim for regularity, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day.

After all, you're doing it for yourself. Just give it a try and see where it takes you!

And to take your mornings to even higher level, try my Beautiful Morning Starter Kit, with yoga videos and morning tips. Signup from this link for free!

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