What The Heck Is Journaling All About? (And How Can It Benefit YOU?)

They say that journalling is  the next ‘big thing’ when it comes to transforming your life.

The simple act of taking pen (or pencil) to paper is said to help you achieve your dreams, help beat depression and anxiety, push you forwards in your life and help you become happier, more confident and ultra-productive.

And this all sounds pretty amazing.

I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy all of these amazing things in their lives.? When you say it like that, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t at least give it a go.

But the trouble is, whilst they’re very happy to provide long lists of the benefits of writing on a daily basis, no one ever seems interested in spelling out exactly how to start a journaling practice. And so, even if you invest in a funky notebook and gorgeous pen as your creative weapons of choice, you’re quite likely to find yourself chewing the end of that fancy pen and staring at a blank space.

So here’s the thing- today I’m going to do what so many others haven’t. I’m actually going to spell out what a journalling practice is, the kind of transformations you can expect when you start doing it on a regular basis, and exactly what you should be writing.

Are you ready? Then let’s get started!

What a journalling practice really is

In a nutshell, journalling is about putting pen to paper in order to record your thoughts, experiences and observations about your life and the world around you. Put like this, writing can sound rather mechanical and dull, and more the kind of thing you’d read in a Jane Austen book (no offence intended Jane!)

But it’s much much more than just scribbling a few words on a page.

It’s about unlocking your inner world in a way that is safe and non-judgmental. It’s about allowing each and every one of those thoughts that you keep buried deep inside to finally come out into the open if you so choose. It’s about connecting with the reality of your life and being honest with yourself about what really matters to you. This is what journalling is.

Keeping a journal can benefit YOU!

Only you can really know the ways in which journalling can work its magic on your life, because you are living your own unique experience with your own unique hopes, dreams and values. And to get there, you’re just going to have to write.

In my personal and professional experience, I’ve found that journalling can allow you to…

#1: Release Stress And Frustration

Are you finding life hard to cope with at the moment? Wish you had a different job, a different partner or a different set of friends? (We’ve all been there!). Journalling is the perfect way to get it all off your chest without needing to fear the consequences.

#2: Reconnect With Your Inner Thoughts And Desires

Writing a journal is the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the outside world, and concentrate on yourself for a change. These days we often forget to do this. Heck, finding the time to do this is a luxury. But if we don’t, we could be pushing ourselves further towards depression, low self-esteem or a general sense of dissatisfaction with our lives.

#3: Practice Gratitude On A Daily Basis

Studies show that if you feel and express gratitude, you are more likely to be happier than those who don’t. What easier way to express that gratitude than to make a regular practice of writing it down on paper? Happiness here I come!

#4: Reignite Your Creativity

When you write on a regular basis, you are able to express yourself more clearly and to process your thoughts more effectively to turn them into those sentences. It also allows you a certain degree of objectivity that can help you see your situation or experience in a whole new (creative) light.

#5: Remember

And lastly, journalling provides a snapshot of your life. When you write regularly, you’ll find that you can now simply flick back a year or so, and remember how you felt back then, what your circumstances were and how far you’ve come in your journey towards happiness and inner strength.

What You Should Be Writing

Sorry- there isn’t actually a right or wrong thing to be writing in your journal. So if you feel inspired or driven to express a particular event, emotion or thought, then go for it.

But for most of us, we need a little push in the right direction. We need guidance about what to get started with, or else we risk crashing before we’ve even found our writing wings. So here are the journaling prompts that I’ve found to be most effective so far:

  • Gratitude: Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for in your life. Do it twice per day.
  • Write On A Specific Theme: Experiment with one of these excellent journaling prompts.
  • Thoughts And Feelings: Write a detailed explanation about the strongest emotion you’ve experienced that day.
  • Best Part Of Your Day: No matter how bad your day has been, you can always find at least one positive in there.
  • Goals And Ambitions: This is a great opportunity to outline your goals and ambitions, and to consider how you can make them happen.

This most definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of ideas on what you can write about. If you’re looking for yet more inspiration, be sure to check out my popular journalling prompts article so you can start writing, releasing and allowing the best version of you to emerge from under that rock and blossom.

Keeping a creative journal is just one of the ways you can start to improve your happiness, overcome depression and anxiety, boost your inner strength, and even make your dreams become a reality.

So what are you waiting for? Go out there, get hold of a stunning notebook and get writing!

But first, I’d love it if you’d join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments box below.

What draws you towards beginning a journalling practice? And if you already write, how has your life improved since you started?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. x

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