A beginner’s guide to journaling
Beginner's Guide to journalling
Don’t be put off by Instagram-worthy notebooks and fancy, flowing pens, journalling is a great release for the mind and to get started, you just need a pen and paper. Here is our beginner’s guide to journaling and the benefits of letting those thoughts out.
Journalling is a powerful tool that plenty of people use to get clear on their thoughts, feelings and actions. There are a whole host of benefits to journaling, such as finding clarity, reducing stress, and also boosting your mood, as you get to reflect on things you may have otherwise forgotten.
The first step to starting journaling is realising what you want to get out of it. While it is more than okay to go on ahead without finding this out, we have always found that we get sidetracked and don’t stick with it, if there isn’t a clear goal in mind. Some people start journaling to get to know themselves better, others may be looking for a place to record their thoughts, or you may have a totally different reason altogether, which is more than okay as well! All that matters is you know what your reason is, as you are more likely to stick with it then.
A common misconception is that you have to journal every single day and this isn’t true. Many people only journal when they feel called to do so, or basically when they have something that they feel like writing about! The truth is, there are no set guidelines on when and how you should journal, as it is a totally personal practice and it is completely up to you, but we do have some tips to help you get going…
If you want to write regularly, set aside some time for it. If you want to do your own thing and pick up a pen when the moment strikes then that is more than okay but, if you want to form a habit, mark some time outreach day or week to write things down. Remember you can start small as well! We have this perception that journaling has to be this labour of love with pages of feelings notes poured out, but it can be as simple as a word or even a sentence to get things going.
On this subject, if you set a schedule and things go awry, don’t be so hard on yourself and make sure you give yourself credit and cut yourself some slack, it is meant to be an enjoyable experience.
What to write
Next up is knowing what to write about. Some days, it will all come out and those are the days we look forward to, but sometimes it just won’t flow. If this is the case, start with gratitude. A gratitude list is simply a note of the things we are grateful for. It can be a bullet pointed list of your family, friends and anything else you want to put on there, and you might leave it at that for the day. Sometimes, it might spark more of an interest and bring up some other thoughts to keep that journal entry going.
Your environment is also something that matters, and a subtle power-up in this department can be a game-changer for journaling. Think about lighting a candle, sitting on your bed, or maybe in the sun with a coffee, and write those thoughts down. It is amazing how a tiny change in environment can impact your thoughts and your creativity too.
Know that it doesn’t have to follow a pattern or be linear. One day it could be your deepest dreams and biggest feelings, and the next it could be a list of all the books you want to read this year. It is your journal and your practice and it should be whatever works for you, not what the internet tells you it should be.
How to start
While fancy pens can bring joy, it really isn’t about that. We see a lot of bullet journals that are adorned within an inch of their pages but if the content doesn’t help you, it isn’t much use in our opinion! If you want to go to town on decorations and such then more power to you, but those first steps of writing things down can be hard enough so don’t hold yourself back waiting for that perfect aesthetic…
Deviating from the pages is something we would recommend too. You may not have your journal out and about with you, and if inspiration strikes or you feel the urge to write something down, take matters to the notes section in your phone and know that it is still journalling, despite not having the tools you would normally use. Hey, you can make the whole thing digital if you would like to!
If you are nervous to write things down at first, know that you are not alone in these thoughts or feelings, as it can be really daunting to get started with. It can be quite nerve wracking to see your own thoughts written down on paper but we promise it does get easier and doesn’t feel alien after a few entries!
If you are nervous to write things down at first, know that you are not alone in these thoughts or feelings, as it can be really daunting to get started with. It can be quite nerve-wracking to see your own thoughts written down on paper but we promise it does get easier and doesn’t feel alien after a few entries!
We think your journal should be for your eyes only but that is a call for you to make. They are really personal things and you don’t want the added pressure of someone else pawing over it and looking through your pages, but again, that is our personal preference.
Journalling is such a powerful tool and when added to your routine, it can make change happen. Whether you want to find more joy in the every day or to move your body more, journalling can help you stay accountable and keep a track of how you are feeling.
If wellness is creeping up to the top of your agenda, take a look at MADE on Demand to see how meditation, yoga and movement can be built into your routine, alongside those journal entries. We have a two week free trial available too if you would like to try it out!