How To Start A Journal And Enrich Your Mental Health
Today I want to share with you some tips on how to start writing in a journal. When we first start writing in a journal it can be intimidating for some people. If we feel intimidated or overwhelmed we may not even start the process. I want to break down these simple steps so that you can have success when you start the journaling process. We tend to complicate things and get discouraged. I want to encourage you to use the “KISS” approach — keep it simple sweetheart.
Steps To Follow To Start A Journal
The following is some guidance that you can follow when you start writing in your journal.
Physical Book or Notebook
In order to start writing in a journal you will need a physical book that you can write in. I have several different ones as I keep a few different types of journals. You can use a basic notebook or can treat yourself to one of the fancier books. There are journals that will appeal to all different interests and personalities. I suggest that your journal have lines unless you plan on adding drawings to your writing.
Alternatively you can decide to utilize an online journal and forgo the paper type. There are also journal apps that you can download. I have personally used an online journal and had success with it, however I have not yet tried one of the apps. My personal preference is a paper journal as I like using a variety of different pens.
When you are utilizing a paper journal then a pen is a must. You can use a pencil, however I find that a pens ink will not fade like a pencil. I like to read back issues of my journals so I don’t want the ink to be faded. To make journaling more enjoyable, I use a variety of different pens with different colored inks. I treat myself and buy fine tipped markers.
Place and Time
Choose a time and a place that you can go to when you are going to journal. I prefer journaling in the morning when I am alone in my home. I will either use my bedroom or will sit at the kitchen table. If it is a nice day, you can even find me sitting outside on our balcony. It is important to choose a place that you are comfortable in as well as a place that you can have some time alone. It doesn’t have to be a long duration of time. Even a 5-10 minute journaling period will be helpful for your mental health.
It is important to date your journal entries. This way you will know when you wrote it. At some point you will want to go back and read your past entries. It can be therapeutic to see how you were feeling at different points in your life. You may be surprised at the personal growth that you will find.
When you start writing in your journal, first close your eyes and reflect on the past 24 hours. I find that this is easier when it is relatively quiet as it helps me to focus. You are wanting to express your thoughts, feelings, opinions, rants and opinions.
Ask Yourself Questions When You Start Writing in Your Journal
A great way to start a journal entry is by asking yourself the following questions on a daily basis:
What did I like about the past 24 hours?
Is there anything that I didn’t like about the past 24 hours?
Was I resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
Is there something that I need to let go of?
Did faith or fear control me?
In what ways was I kind and loving towards others?
Do I need to make amends with anyone?
Is there anyone that I need to forgive?
How did I take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually?
What could I have done better?
What am I grateful for?
I always end each journal entry with at least 5 things that I am grateful for.
Tell yourself the truth. This is a for your eyes only. We can’t change anything that we don’t first acknowledge and too often we lie to ourselves. We all struggle, we all get angry, we all at one point feel defeated. It is important to get gut level honest with yourself. A lot of healing comes out of honesty.
Enjoy your journaling process. You can add pictures (whether you draw them yourself or use cut out pictures from magazines). I often will use stickers in my journals in addition to the colored pens/markers that I shared about earlier. The point is to make your journal personable to you.
Don’t try and be someone that you are not. This is not for anyone else but you. If you don’t use big and fluffy words in your daily speech with others, then don’t force yourself to use them in your journal.
Don’t think about it too much. Just keep writing whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense to you. Often as we write out our thoughts and feelings we end up feeling a release and greater peace and tranquility. You can always make sense of what you have written later.
Don’t make journaling a chore. It is important to have guidelines, however we need to be mindful that we are not too rigid. I make journaling fun by using stickers and colored pens. I also don’t keep a rigid schedule as I know that I will feel pressure from myself and will not always succeed. This then makes me want to give up altogether. Life throws us curveballs and sometimes it gets in the way of our journaling. It is during these times that journaling can benefit us the most. Instead of setting a rigid everyday for 1/2 hour, try giving yourself some grace and journal for 5-10 minutes that day.
You may get tired of reading this, however I believe this is an absolute vital component to journaling. Expressing what you are grateful for. It has truly been a life changing experience for me and for many other people that I know who have taken on this practice. Finding gratitude can be a boost to your over all wellbeing and can have a major impact on your mental health. I usually do at least 5 and often will challenge myself to come up with even more. Even on the most challenging days I am able to come up with gratitude – even if it’s merely my bed, my pillow, the day has ended, I got through the day and I have clean drinking water. You get the point 😊.
I have created several journal prompts challenges. This is a fabulous tool to utilize in your journaling process. Everyday you answer one question that correlates with the day of the month. These can be found in the following links:
Onward and Forward
I hope that this has been helpful for you. We weren’t meant to live defeated lives. I have a passion and a desire to see women (and men) live victorious lives. It is possible – however we have a part to play in it. I wish I could say that it will be given to us on a silver platter. The truth is we have to put in some of the work. Journaling will lead you to victorious living as it will enrich your mental health and overall wellbeing. I invite you to add this living well “tool” to your “toolbox” of life skills.
Do you currently journal? Do you have any tips to help others with the process of journaling? If you don’t currently journal, are you willing to give it a try?
Please let me know in the comments. I love hearing from my readers and giving encouragement as well as prayer.
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