When we know why we are doing something, our ability to commit to doing it (even if we are short on time or money or peace or energy) grows stronger. Our desire becomes stronger because we understand what we'll gain from the experience.
So if we know what we intend to get out of starting a journaling practice, it can be much easier to stay consistent with our writing. And consistency leads to results!
So how do we get in the right mindset to begin journaling for self-care?
Step 1: We define the practice.
What is journaling, and why should we do it?
Journaling is yoga for the mind. Journaling welcomes every single aspect of who you are - your broken pieces, your joyous heart, your overwhelmed emotions, your thrilling experiences, your jittery hopes and dreams, and your past despair.
It doesn’t require anything from you. It doesn’t ask that you behave in any particular way. And it won’t cut you off in the middle of a sentence. It doesn’t judge. It won’t stare at you with eyes filled with expectations and solutions. It simply opens the doors to the pathway of your own searching. It lets you explore your experiences while it holds your hand. It is everything you wish your best friend was.
Journaling is the process of having a conversation with your true self. Journaling is writing, but it is also more than that. It is taking the time to translate your deepest emotions into tangible language. It is your pathway to defining and creating the life you've always wanted.
It has honestly changed my life.
Before I started journaling consistently, I was completely caught up in my thoughts. Rushing back and forth from one judgment to another, from one hope to another fear. I was so confused about what I wanted in life because I wasn’t sure that I could actually reach my goals.
When I discovered that I thought my goals were too big, too lofty, too unrealistic, I was finally able to open a conversation with myself. Why was I so hesitant to pursue my dreams? What was really holding me back? And did I honestly believe in those limitations or was I soaking up the beliefs of other people?
There are some questions and situations we can’t grapple with in our heads. There are some situations that will give you a horrible headache if you hold onto them in your mind for too long. These questions fell into that category for me.
But when I wrote them down, I felt free. I knew what fears had a hold of me. I knew what frustrations held me captive. And I learned how to assess the frustrations and journal my way to a new understanding of the situation.
Words are simply a representation of the emotions you’re housing in your soul.
Our emotions turn into thoughts, our thoughts turn into ideas, our ideas turn into complete phrases, and when we turn those phrases into sentences on a page, we’ve created a way to actually SEE our intuition.
When we journal, we’ve opened a door to ourselves. And with the right questions to guide us through our emotions, we can really tap into our authenticity in a way we’ve never accessed before.
How do we begin tapping into ourselves?
Intentionality is everything.
The hopes and goals you have for an activity has a direct impact on how much fun you have doing it. Your intentions for journaling influence your ability to find peace and catharsis while writing. The energy you bring to your journaling practice determines whether journaling feels like the best self-care activity or if it feels like another boring chore.
And since we are journaling for self-care, if your writing sessions cause you more frustration than joy, then it isn’t really doing its job, right?
So the most important thing I want to ask you in the first journaling lesson is: What do you hope to get out of journaling?
Your first journaling assignment is to set your intention.
Write it down. Use blank printer paper, the empty pages of an old notebook, a sturdy napkin, anywhere you can actually use a pen to write down your thoughts.
Talk about what you believe writing will allow for you.
Write about what you believe turning your emotions into sentences will create in your life.
Why do you want to SEE your intuition in physical form?
What will you gain from knowing and loving yourself in a deeper way?
Pick a question that resonates with you, one that makes you feel excited to answer it, and write down the first thought that comes to mind. Continue writing until you feel a little clarity. Write until you are comfortable with your journaling intention.
The next time you begin journaling, begin with your intention in mind. Write what's on your mind or answer the prompts from Love My Life: 365 Days of Self-Care and Mindfulness while you think about what purpose you want journaling to serve in your life.
If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to journal as a self-care practice, I'd love it if you would share this post with them!
Can't wait to hear how your intention setting session went. Let me know!