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Articles on Journaling: How to Journal Your Way to Clarity

Are you looking for articles on journaling because you want clarity in your life?

Your mind is spinning, emotions are exploding, and you need a trusted, but non-advice giving confidant?

A journal is the perfect confidant.

If you fear other people finding your cherished thoughts and knowing how you really feel… hide it in a good place!

At the top of the list of the benefits of journaling is that it helps you feel better and gives you clarity about the part of you that is eternal, knowing, and unique. 

This was pre-journaling age… when everything was written in little notes to myself.

Why journaling is important 

Journaling is an opportunity to say it like it is. To be honest with yourself. 

We don’t get to do that in normal everyday life. We tend to filter, hide stuff, make things seem better or worse than they are…

Or is that just me?

Journaling is a form of expression that’s both personal and honors you where you’re at in your life. 

In The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, she suggests a form of journaling called “morning pages”. What are morning pages? put simply the morning pages are three pages of long hand writing, strictly stream of consciousness: oh God another morning I have nothing to say I need to wash the curtains… There is no wrong way to do morning pages.

She adds on page 11 that “The morning pages are the primary tool of creative recovery.”

The Town of Harvard Community Education offers Introduction to Journaling to help students since there are so many journaling benefits.

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Where to begin with journaling

First, go to a bookstore or art store and buy yourself a journal. I prefer blank white pages, no lines to keep your creativity flowing. 

Or grab an old notebook from home that your son or daughter bought for school and didn’t use.

Most of my journals are notebooks my sons were required to buy for school. They wrote in the first 10 pages, then stopped! The rule of thumb that I give my coaching clients is to write for the trash can. 

When you write for the trash can, you write like you plan to throw it away. No one will read it. You won’t read it… when you’re done writing it’ll go into the waste paper basket!

By doing this, you’ll hopefully let go of over thinking what you’re writing and let your ideas naturally flow onto the page.

Find a quiet place where you can write without distractions. 

This could be a corner of your bedroom, a park bench, or even a coffee shop.

Quiet is the key thing you need. While it’s not easy to find a quiet place in this loud world, quiet helps your mind be quiet so that words will flow.

While coffee shops aren’t quiet, sometimes the light chatter is enough white noise to be the perfect place.

Not too quiet. Not too loud. Just right.

Start by writing about your day-to-day thoughts and feelings. 

Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write whatever comes to mind. This is a great way to process your emotions and to reflect on your life.

Why this is the best post for articles on journaling

Why is this one of the best articles on journaling? 

Because I offer specific journal prompts. They are questions to ask yourself that will ultimately give you the clarity you seek.

I’ve kept many, many, many dozens of journals during my life. And no, this doesn’t make me an expert. But, it does mean that I have extensive experience.

In addition, I’ve coached people for over 25 years and I’ve asked them ALL to keep a journal. 

All of them… even if they fought me on it!

So, I’ve heard the pitfalls of journaling from every angle.  While people talk about the emotional relief and clarity that journaling brings, they also have some complaints.

SOME COMPLAINTS ABOUT JOURNALING

There’s a frustration associated with keeping a journal because it feels like pressure.

It’s one more thing to do!

Most of us don’t want one more thing to do.

Then, some people feel performance anxiety… like they have to get it all out on the page in a perfect way. 

So, I tell all of my clients: Write for the trash can.  Write like no one will ever read it. Including you!

My journaling history

I’ve kept a journal since I was four years old. OK, total disclosure, it was a diary at first.

It was blue and had a lock and key.

I kept the key hidden in a special place so my brother and parents wouldn’t find it. 

But, it was the beginning of a long relationship with my own thoughts. 

It was the beginning of expressive writing for me.

Then, I graduated to lab books, to hide the contents.

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You’ll see “Physiology Lab Book” on the cover to fool snooping eyes.

5 best journaling questions…

As a person who loves the soul, I have a desire for self-knowledge.

These journal questions below, I call them journal prompts, will help you drop a little deeper than usual in your quest to know yourself.

Like soul deep. 

Or, if you prefer to stay in the shallow end until you like the temperature of the water, you can do that too!

This is YOUR journal… no rules here. 

Just scribble a few sentences if you want. Or write pages of nonsense. 

Let your soul guide you

Let your spiritual guidance come through your spirit guides!

There are enough rules in life!

1. What do you need me to do?

Ask your unique soul what you should do. I do it all the time.

The soul is real…. and it’s right there with you.

I realize that asking your SOUL something might be new to you, but it’s a great way to access your heart … not your head.

So, when you’re struggling or upset, drop deeper and ask: What do you need me to do? Then just write without thinking … this is autowriting: You’re writing without consciously thinking.

2. What am I thinking about?

Your thoughts create your emotions and those emotions can run you in circles.

This makes you wonder: When will I stop thinking of all the bad stuff, so I can get on with living?

So, to increase your awareness of low-vibe thinking and help you start high-vibe thinking™, start journaling what you’re thinking in difficult moments.

For example: I have to do everything. I feel powerless. I have no control. Don’t give the negative thoughts more power, just write the thoughts like a mind dump.

3. How do I feel?

A great way to connect with yourself is to check in with yourself emotionally. Ask yourself: Am I OK? How do I feel right now? Then name it. I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed. I feel anxious. I feel angry.

N O W  B R E A T H E !

And don’t analyze the emotion, just write how you feel.

One of the biggest problems people face, and they don’t realize it, is that they overanalyze their emotions.

The maxim: We feel it to heal it… is just that. We must allow the energy of the emotion and practice staying out of our heads.

This isn’t easy to do and takes lots of practice.

AN EMOTIONAL TECHNIQUE WHILE JOURNALING

One technique to try, so that you’ll stay with the emotion instead of overanalyzing is this…

When you find yourself thinking, say to yourself: Thinking.

Pema Chodron recommends this in her incredible book, When Things Fall Apart: Hard Advice for Difficult Times.

When Things Fall Apart is one of the first books I read on my spiritual path and it’s also one of my top 5 favorites.

It’s so easy to read, with gold nuggets on every page.

The excerpt about saying “thinking” is on page 20 and here:

“After some time, Rinpoche added another refinement to the instruction.  He began to ask us to label our thoughts ‘thinking’.  We’d be sitting there with the out-breath, and before we know what had happened, we were gone – planning wearing fantasizing – completely in another world a world totally made of thoughts. At the point when we realized we’d gone off, we were instructed to say to ourselves ‘thinking’ and, without making it a big deal, just simply return again to the breath.”

While this technique isn’t about journaling, it’s helpful for you to use this technique WHILE journaling!

Journaling can bring up all kinds of emotions, so use the opportunity to FEEL while you’re journaling, while the emotions are fresh, present, and with you.

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4. What does my body need?

Your body is carrying you through your life right?

So check in with your body from time to time. Scan your body for tension.

Then write about… What does this part of my body need right now? Maybe it needs to relax, or it needs relief, or soothing. Write TO YOUR BODY: We’re in this together. I need you to support me, tell me what you need.

Write whatever comes up for you.

5. What is working in my life?

Write about the times during the day when you felt grateful for what is going RIGHT. You can even keep a gratitude journal that’s focused only writing about what you’re grateful for.

We cannot be stressed and grateful at the same time!

Include being grateful for QUALITIES in you. I’m grateful I’m creative, smart, flexible… etc. Or maybe you got a warm feeling out of nowhere and it gave you comfort … write that!

Write what you’re GRATEFUL for, the more specific the better.

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Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health

There are many benefits of journaling for mental health. It can help you process thoughts and feelings. 

Journaling can help you identify negative thought patterns. This is key as you’re working on reversing negative thinking

Add to that journaling increases self-awareness and improves your mood. 

If you are struggling with mental health, journaling can be a helpful tool. However, it is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing serious symptoms of mental illness.

Use your journal for expressive writing.

If you’re like me and your expressive drive is strong… use a journal to SAY IT ALL. 

Expressive writing is a form of writing that allows people to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and non-judgmental environment. It can be used to process difficult emotions, explore personal growth, and connect with others.

Expressive writing has been shown to have a number of benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and promoting creativity as Julia Cameron suggests. 

Self-expression through writing is a powerful tool that can help you to connect with your inner self, your higher self, and your soul

At the end of the day, your soul is the blueprint of your life and needs your regular love and attention.  

Physical health benefits of journaling

Journaling has been shown to have benefits for both mental and physical health.

Psyche Central writes in the Health Benefits of Journaling: “Journaling is an example of an expressive coping method, which is a technique that helps a person process negative thoughts, feelings, or experiences by releasing them. By putting these things on the page, they can have less power over you.”

The act of journaling can help to release stress and anxiety by providing a safe space to express thoughts and feelings. 

It can also help to improve sleep quality by allowing people to process their thoughts and emotions before bed. 

You know, it’s the same idea that if you make a list of TO DO’s, you move it out of your head, and onto paper, so you don’t have to think about it anymore! 

Furthermore, journaling has also been shown to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, and to process negative emotions and mental distress.

Summary

Think of journaling as talking to a trusted, non-judgemental friend. Your next journaling session is there for you without unsolicited advice, and no looking down its nose at you.

Furthermore, journaling is a phenomenal practice to deepen your relationship with yourself. And at the end of the day, that’s priceless. 

The benefits of journaling has so many positive aspects and it can help you improve your self-talk as well… and that’s why I’ve been journaling all of my life.

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