Written by Kylie
There are many articles out there for you to google and read all about the scientific reasons for why journaling has many health benefits. I could rehash them here for you now but I am not going to. The benefits sound good in theory but its hard to connect with them if you can’t get started right? I am going to share with you in a nutshell my real life experience in hope it meets YOU where you’re at right now. So let me begin……
My journaling journey began about 7 years ago when I found myself suddenly questioning everything I had ever known.
My goal: transform myself from antidepressant dependent into emotionally intelligent and self aware.
On a quest to find more meaning and connection in life, my journal became my trusted stead. A safe place where I began unlocking my deepest desires and connecting with insights that lead me to untangling my SEVERELY bottled up emotions. Spending time in deep reflection became my comfort and focus. The clarity of thought and feelings I received and continue to receive from this process, contributes to my ability to have a peaceful inner life.
One of the greatest life giving tools responsible for setting me on my path to emotional freedom – Journaling.
5 practical tips: How to get started
- Choose a medium that suits you: book, electronic file or voice recorder? There is no right way and it depends entirely on what suits your lifestyle. I use a book because I love the feeling of handwriting and the tactile experience it provides. My firsts were among 50c exercise pads that I decorated to personalise. These days I use the A5 pretty hardcover notebooks from Kmart.
- Develop a journaling routine: try to journal at the same times but don’t stress if its not everyday. You may have seasons where you need to daily and others where it’s only once or twice a week. Aim for about the time it takes to sit with a cuppa and enjoy a little quiet time reflecting on your OWN inner life.
- What to journal about: gratitude is a nice way to start until you find your rhythm. Make a list of things you are grateful for, happy memories and what your perfect day might like to you. This may take some time but will give you food for thought as your emotions begin to thaw out. It’s important to remember there is no particular structure needed. Just write what ever floats up. As more challenging topics arise and unhealed bruises reveal themselves, you may need to invest in new tools that can support you let go, heal or change desired behaviours and toxic thinking habits.
- Be free: your journal is a space for expression not critique. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation. So long as you understand it that’s all that matters. Get creative and don’t restrict yourself to boring biros and straight lines. Write in pictures, circles, across the page or even in bright colours. The sky is the limit. Take the opportunity to just express what is alive in you.
- Revise and learn: when you feel empty of emotion on a particular situation/theme, it will be time to trace, face and replace unwanted thoughts and behaviours. As you begin to unlock your own desires and connect with insights that lead you to untangle bottled up emotions, patterns will immerge and become recognisable. This is where you can choose to take accountability and let go. At a time when you are feeling light and ready (I aim to do this at the end of the month), read over your writing and take to it with a highlighter pen. Enjoy learning about yourself and identify areas you may need to focus on or find support in.
That’s it – my take on how to start. I am no professional but I know what worked for me. I hope you find what works for you and as you embark on your journaling journey remember this:
We are all imperfect humans so be gentle on yourself and others.
What will be your first step? Are you ready to grow toward emotional freedom?
Go ahead – give yourself the time to ponder.
OWN your journey, CHOOSE and LIVE with LOVE.