The art of journaling and how it could improve your life

23 September 2022

Journaling sounds like a great idea until you actually sit down to start. What do I write? Do I need fancy gel pens? (short answer: yes) Is this even going to do anything?

This has been me many times when I've wanted to start journaling but failed because I don't make time for it. I went through a period of writing gratitudes throughout the summer and when I fell off the bandwagon, it made me realise how much of a positive effect it had on me. 

I personally am quite a negative person, where one thing goes wrong and my mood can instantly change but taking time out of my morning to write out a few things I was grateful for, helps to set a much better tone for my day. 

For my birthday, my sister bought me a 'wellness journal' and firstly, the cover is beautiful (see photo below) but it is laid out so well and has everything you need on a double page spread. I have used it every day since and I'm starting to see the positive difference writing daily gratitudes had on me again. 

If this has any interest in you, here are some ways you could section your pages to create one yourself. 

  • 'Today's mood'
Have you ever taken a second to ask yourself how you are feeling? I think it's so easy to go through your day and forget to check in with yourself and this is a good opportunity to jot it down and also check back through previous days to track progress or notice any patterns. 

  • 'Focus'
This section is a bit like a to-do list which seems to be second nature to me with hundreds of lists in my notes section on my phone or random bits of paper lying about my desk. However, sometimes I can go crazy and write things down that aren't necessary for that day but I feel like the word 'focus' only allows for the important things so you don't end up overwhelming yourself. Choose carefully the tasks you actually want to achieve in the day and remember to be realistic.

  • 'Gratitude'
You can either go big or go home, be specific or general. I quite like to do some general ones first and then write some that are more niche; maybe it's your outfit, the colour of your nails, the music you have been listening to, food or drink, moon, sunsets. I love it when I'm doing something/ notice something and I know that it will be going on this list later, true 'living in the moment' style.

  • 'Track it'
Quite simply, a section to keep track of your mood, how much water you've drank, exercise, time off your phone etc.

  • 'I will honour my mind/body/spirit by:'
A section that's away from the to-dos/things you have to do and instead, things you want to do because it's going to benefit you in some way. I have previously written; taking time out to practice my yoga, making sure I get outside on a walk, having interaction on days where I'm on my own, seeing friends and listening to my favourite music. In short, things that are going to make you feel good inside. 

  • 'I will let go of...'
As many negative thoughts that creep into your mind, habits you want free from, jot them down. Writing any problem down on paper can be such a cathartic process and can eventually result in a positive, liberating outcome. 

  • 'I will celebrate...'
Small or big, it's important to always give yourself credit (taking my own advice as I type, this section in a journal can be hard!) and celebrate ourselves, something we as humans forget to do. 

  • 'Free thoughts' (self explanatory)

Obviously, this isn't how you have to do it but if you're a bit clueless then these are simple sections to start with. 

How to make it a priority, rather than a habit that lasts a few days

  • Set a daily reminder on your phone
  • Take your journal on a solo walk
  • Journal before bed and write what you've achieved in that day rather than what you plan to do
  • Journal as soon as you wake up instead of going on your phone and scrolling social media
  • Let go of any judgement (journalling IS cool)
  • Get as creative as possible, the more appealing it is to you, the more you're going to do it

Journaling has been proven to be an incredible stress management tool. I know for me, it makes my mind clearer, shifts my mindset to be more positive when shining a light on things I should celebrate and keeps me on track with tasks and makes sure I take time out of my day for me; almost like conducting your own therapy session.

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.” – Lucy Dacus

Bethan xx

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