Remember when you were 12 years old and would journal all the drama unfolding in your life as a middle schooler? Well it is time to bring that practice back! We live in a world that is constantly moving and it leaves little to no time to decompress and process our thoughts and feeling. Journaling is one of the best practices to help center thoughts and get mentally organized.
The number 1 rule to journaling is that there doesn’t have to be any particular structure. It is a personal practice and should be built for your success. In case you are lost on where to start or what to upgrade your journaling skills, here are our 5 best tips.
1. Gratitude: When I am stuck in a me-centric mindset or am sad, the number one way that I pull myself out of it is by expressing gratitude. I will make a list of people of things that I am grateful for and describe why. This small acknowledgement goes a long way in switching your energy outward. It is almost impossible to stay sad or negative when you are in a place of gratitude.
2. Stream of Consciousness: This method is best for when you are in feelings or have an overly distracted mind. All that is involved is that you keep your pen to paper. Just keep writing anything that pops into your brain. Mine often are narratives of a certain event. Sometimes they are just random thoughts and ideas. After I finish a session of this I find that my brain is free of the clutter thoughts and that I am more centered.
3. Doodle: I am a firm believer that the more you create, the more creative you become. These doodle don’t have to be Picasso masterpieces - sometimes it is best to break out the hearts and stars. Bonus: it is a proven fact that doodling can help you concentrate. Let your mind go and create and destress.
4. Happy List: Much like gratitude, acknowledging the good times is so important and can help with mindfulness. I like to write down my happy memories whether it be a funny joke or something as simple as buying myself flowers. Having a list of the goodness in your life will be helpful on bad days and can help you get out of that negative place.
5. Documentation: This is one of my favorite uses of my journal. I tend to do it most when I am traveling or for a big event. You can store your pictures, ticket stubs, napkins...etc. with little notes and detail behind it. It is a way to story tell. I have photobooth pictures from homecoming, taped in flowers from prom and wristbands from college concerts. It will bring to life your greatest stories and keep them special in your mind.