For something so simple, there are an amazing number of benefits linked to journaling. These benefits are both subjective (personally felt) and objective (scientifically proven).
How to start:
1. Don’t worry about the medium
If you like to cogitate over your thoughts and go slowly, writing in a traditional paper diary might be the best for you. However, if you prefer the convenience of typing and if you like to move quickly with your thoughts, you might like to try an online diary Try exploring both and see what you like better.
2. Keep your diary private
Your diary should be for your eyes Your journal should be a place where you can write freely without the fear of judgment or scrutiny – this is why it’s better to keep it private. No one is saying that you can’t share some of your private reflections verbally with others, but just try to keep what you have written to yourself.
3. Don’t bother with spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Try to avoid being anal-retentive about writing: just let it all out – it feels so much better!
4. Forget about being a “good writer”
The purpose of journaling isn’t to write a literary masterpiece, it is to self-reflect and record the thoughts and feelings you’ve been having for self-growth. Simply write whatever comes to mind and don’t worry about whether it sounds poetic or eloquent.
5. Set a regular time of day
Making journaling into a habit requires you to set aside time every day. Pick a time of the day and try to stick to it. For example, you might like to write first thing in the morning, after morning tea, after lunch time, or last thing at night. If you feel inspired to write at a time of the day you’re not accustomed to writing, just flow with it. There are no set-in-stone rules here.
6. Write your deepest thoughts and feelings
Journaling is an intuitive activity because it requires you to tune into your feelings and blurt all of that out on paper. journaling is the most effective when it is a space where our deepest thoughts and feelings can be shared and mulled over. So don’t be afraid to delve deeply into your mind and heart.
7. There’s no need for time restrictions
Try to avoid setting rigid time limits: it’s best just to allow your writing to flow. But if you have a bit of spare time, enjoy the feeling of letting your inner self materialize on paper.
8. If you’re struggling, ask these questions …
Sometimes we just don’t feel “in the flow” of writing, and sharing our thoughts doesn’t come naturally, it’s just part of the natural ebb and flow of life. If you ever feel this way, here are some useful question you can ask yourself which will stimulate thought:
How am I feeling today?
What is an issue I’m facing?
What can I do about my most recent problem?
What spiritual lesson is hidden in a difficult situation I’m facing?
What thoughts are triggering my current feelings?
Why do I keep having these thoughts?
What was the message hidden in last night’s dream?
What do I feel the need to change or improve about myself? (And why?)
Am I being self-compassionate?
Am I seeing the entire picture?
How am I being dishonest with myself or others?
In what ways can I be more mindful?
What mistaken beliefs am I buying into?
What is my plan of action to achieve my goals?
What setbacks and obstacles am I facing?
These are only a few of the many potential questions you can ask yourself.
9. Don’t be afraid to explore traumatic experiences
Journaling is about growth, and growth often includes digesting past experiences. Sometimes the experiences we went through in the past were disturbing, traumatic or upsetting. Don’t be afraid to explore these experiences – but just remember not to wallow in self-pity. It’s OK to express your feelings loud and clear on paper; this is a terrific form of catharsis. But once you start ruminating and obsessing over these past experiences, then it’s time to switch to your left hemisphere brain and start thinking about how you can overcome the pain inside of you practically.
10. Reflect on what you’ve written
After you’ve finished your journal entry, you might like to read back over what you’ve written with the intention of gaining clarity. What matters is that you gain a big picture perspective on how you think and feel. If any thoughts, feelings or realizations stand out to you, try highlighting them
Reflection is what allows you to integrate your thoughts into knowledge, understanding, and inner transformation.
11. Write for the joy of it
Don’t journal out of duty or obligation, do it because you enjoy doing it! Journaling isn’t for everyone, so if you don’t resonate with it, that’s OK. There’s probably something else out there equally as beneficial. But if you do enjoy and benefit from this practice, pay attention to the benefits! Don’t just make journaling into something else to check off your “to-do” list.