Journaling is fast becoming the go-to self-help method today for most men and women. The impeccable benefits of daily journaling beat almost all other methods popular among mental wellness enthusiasts.
Staring journaling as a beginner is an easy task when you have the know-how. You need to purchase a notebook, select a journaling technique suitable for your specific situation, begin your journaling journey, and continuously keep it real.
Difficulty in sleeping, short attention span syndrome, and depression are a few common issues that can be alleviated through journaling. Starting a journal may come easy for a few. For the majority, however, a little guidance is needed. Here below is a step-by-step guide on how to start journaling.
Find a Notebook
A journaling book should be simple. Its pages can be ruled or come in form of plain paper. Feel free to get yourself an ornate, leather-bound notebook with a lock and key if that’s what suits your needs. But in the end, it’s all about having a place to confess what’s on your mind.
A lined notebook is better for journaling as it keeps you organized. Plain paper notebooks are excellent for when you plan to include stickers, drawings, or pictures inside. If you plan to carry your notebook in your pocket, backpack, or purse, find one that is small enough to fit.
Digital notebooks that support digital journaling also exist. In fact, they are more secure and easy to access on your phone, laptop, or other compatible devices. Be sure to save your journal entries in a password-protected folder. This keeps your thoughts and emotions private, should someone ever ask to use your computer.
Choose a Journaling Technique
There are many different journaling techniques you can lean on. The most common form is words written by pen and paper, but it doesn’t stop there. While writing is a technique that works best for most people, others prefer to express themselves differently. Voice notes, pictures, paper/magazine cutouts, sketches, and sticky notes are just some journaling techniques that might work for you.
The whole point of journaling is to express yourself. As a beginner, find the method that ignites inspiration and best accommodates your need to explore. Do not limit yourself, choose a method or two that best work for you.
Avoid Internal and External Judgment
Inner criticism and negative self-judgment are the number one hindrance against journaling. Wondering what others would think or say about your deepest thoughts makes journaling feel like a bad idea.
However, there’s no right or wrong way to journal. When you take time to journal, write for yourself, and don’t make up an imaginary audience. It’s just you and your feelings.
Avoid tolerating any kind of self-talk/thoughts. Journaling should be a safe and judgment-free space. Dismiss small issues like grammar, spelling, and practice self-compassion. Be as honest and authentic as possible.
Time for your First Entry
Your First entry is critical. It means that you’ve successfully faced your fears. Just remember to not put any pressure on yourself. It is also a great idea to make your journal as welcoming as possible. Decorate it with colors and imagery that really represent who you are as a person.
Date your Journal Entries
Dating each entry is a crucial part of maintaining a regular journal. It helps you track when and what you wrote about. Also, should you decide to look back and go through your journals you can tell how far you’ve come physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s an epic way to jog your memory.
Also consider jotting down other notes about your day such as weather patterns, mood, and morning breakfast round-ups.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Avoid setting a target for your journal. Write as little or as many words as you like in each entry. Don’t think much about it. Start writing and let thoughts trickle in. Avoid censoring yourself or lingering too much on thoughts and emotions that contribute nothing to your mental wellness.
Entertaining unreal expectations can cut short your journaling habit. The best thing you can do for yourself is to promise that you will journal every single day, but no boundaries about what that means exactly. Will you write one sentence or five pages? That’s up to how you feel.
Develop a Journaling Routine
It has been proven that journaling has profound positive effects on people who struggle with sleep, fatigue, and mental health issues. To get the most out of journaling, you must do it regularly.
Often, you feel motivated and inspired. But, on days you don’t feel like journaling, your routine forces you to make an entry. Set aside time every morning or evening to journal. For five, ten, or even thirty minutes, explore your emotions and truthfully express yourself in your journal. The more you stick to a routine, the easier it will be to keep your mind in check.
A successful journaling routine allows you to grow. Millions across the globe use journaling as a tool for relaxation, self-discovery, visualization, personal growth, and more.
Journaling Ideas For Beginners
Spoken-word, singing, art, and poetry are creative ways people choose to journal. Provided you get to express yourself, get as creative as you can.
Describe your thoughts using colorful words, paintings, or pictures. Here, the possibilities are endless. Some journaling topics you could explore include writing about;
- How your day was at work or when out with your friends.
- Unsaid words you should have told someone close to you that you can no longer access.
- Your emotions and write what inspires you.
- A list of things or people in your life you are grateful for.
- What brings you joy.
- What challenging situations you faced today.
Make journaling an outlet for anger, sadness, disappointment, grief, frustration, and other negative emotions.
Nothing beats the calming effects of journaling. But you have to make it a habit to reap maximum benefits. In the wake of increased emotional exhaustion and mental health problems, journaling is a doable, free-of-charge way to unload after a long day.
This method is an excellent way to gain clarity, unlock and experience the inner parts of you. It forces you to face and learn more about yourself. Manifest personal and professional progress by making a habit out of journaling today.