In previous posts I’ve mentioned that I enjoy journal writing and I’ve expressed how much value I get out of this powerful self-development practice.
For me journal writing is a release. I use it to empty my head and my heart.
When things aren’t going well, I journal. When things are going great, I journal.
Journal writing provides an opportunity for me to connect with exactly what’s going on internally.
It’s a chance for me to delve into a process of self-enquiry and to discover my truth.
I understand that if you’re new to journaling it can be a bit confusing. Looking at a blank page with the purpose of exploring your feelings and actually writing them down can seem daunting.
So to ward off any negative feelings I’m going to provide you with some guidance and a loose structure so you can start your very own journal writing practice.
Types of Journal Writing
There are so many journal writing techniques you can explore and the great news is, there is no right or wrong way! You just have to find the best way for you.
Below I share the few different techniques I use on a daily basis.
1. Stream of Consciousness Writing
I often do ‘stream of consciousness’ writing as soon as I wake up. This technique is great for clearing space in your mind and starting the day feeling fresh.
This journaling technique is adapted from Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages.’ As a part of this practice Julia encourages you to write 3 pages of everything that is crossing your consciousness.
When Julia says anything, she means anything!
Here’s a ‘made up’ example:
‘Oh I feel so tired. I hardly slept. God, I have to do three loads of washing today and pick up the dry cleaning. What are we going to have for dinner? I have to ring mum back….hope she isn’t angry. Ahh I’m so excited it’s Friday….cannot wait for the weekend. But I’m so stressed about today’s presentation. I really hope I nail it!”
The purpose of this journal writing technique is to become acquainted with everything that is running through your mind. By getting it all down on paper it stops you ruminating on every little task you have to complete as well as releasing any negative feelings you have building up internally.
I like to think of ‘stream of conscious’ style writing as me doing the housework – I’m clearing and cleansing my mind so I can be more conscious during the day.
Once you complete this type of journal writing you will feel lighter and more clear headed.
2. Gratitude Journalling
Practicing gratitude is one of my favourite things to do.
Each morning I like to write down a minimum of six things that I’m grateful for in my life…usually it’s things from the day before. Often I start looking at the ‘big picture’ and then work my way down to little things. It’s such a powerful way to reflect.
To practice gratitude, all you need to do is to think about who and what you are grateful for and write it all down!
Here is a random excerpt from my journal to give you an idea:
Today I’m grateful for…
- Having the stamina and strength to run 5km on the treadmill and feel good
- Laughing with James as we watch Rake
- The positive comments I’ve been receiving about my blog
- Spending time exploring Aberdeen Street and Gough Street and finding cool little boutiques
- Receiving an invitation to my best friend’s engagement party in the mail
- Uncovering so much wisdom from Oprah and her book ‘What I know for sure’
- Having the financial freedom to enrol in the coaching course I’ve had my heart set on
- Enjoying soulful chats with my friend Lisa and her mum over the best glass of organic wine I’ve had here in Hong Kong
I try and write new things each day.
I promise you that the more often you practice gratitude, the easier it becomes and the better you feel!
If you want to take your gratitude practice to the next level you need to get super specific.
If you have the time try and write a paragraph on each thing you are grateful for in your life.
In Robert Emmon’s science-based book ‘Gratitude Works,’ he stresses that by expressing your gratitude in detail the more likely your well being will be enhanced and your happiness will increase.
Sounds great to me!
3. Focused Journalling
This type of journalling is a more structured technique and is great to use when there is a specific issue you want to work through.
First choose the area you want to focus on and start by writing how you feel about it and what is going on in your life.
There may be an area in your life that you simply need to examine and work out. It could be something related to your work, relationships, love, health etc.
I usually write the area I want to focus on at the top of my page eg. WORK, and then start to ‘tell my story.’
Tell your own story by expressing how you feel about the issue and write in detail what’s going on in your life.
Also, if you get stuck, ask yourself questions. Asking questions is a really great way to gain clarity and insight. Delving into thought-provoking questions helps you to actually see the issue and uncover the truth.
Questions that I like to ask include:
What’s not working?
Why am I feeling angry/hurt/frustrated etc?
What is the lesson here? What is this situation trying to teach me?
+ Journal Joy Gift +
I’ve crafted a FREE Journalling Guide where I share ’30 Thought Provoking Journal Prompts To Help Kick Start Your Joy of Journalling!’
If you’re keen to have even more great journal prompts up your sleeve make sure you sign-up here and I’ll send you a copy of my journalling guide!
If you have any questions about journalling feel free to leave your questions in the comments below or send me an email.
Happy to help you out!