Journaling: Getting Started

 

Why use a journal?  Journaling has been proven to help with stress management and emotional health and wellbeing.  It is different from a web-post or public blog.  Public web-posts are designed to be read by others and are for connection in a social network - this  can be a very good thing for finding a support group and sharing experience!  A journal, however, is not meant to be read by anyone except you.  It is your confidant and the keeper of your creative meanderings, your unselfconscious emotions and stream-of-consciousness thoughts - things you are not yet ready to share publicly. Your hopes, dreams, plans, needs, desires, aspirations, anger, pain, fear, guilt, worry and grief all put into a safe, personal space. 

There are a lot of ways to make use of journals, here are some of them:

 
1)      The Unwinding Page - write everything crowding up your brain-space, just dump it onto the journal page, leaping around to different topics, jotting down to-do items next to the rant on the morning’s chaos, flowing to how you want a vacation and where that would be and how jealous you are of so and so who gets to go to Europe every year, blah, blah, blah.  That is The Unwinding Page.  Write steadily for around ten minutes, then put down the pen and skim through what you’ve written.  If there are valuable things, like not forgetting to pick up the dry-cleaning for your spouse’s trip, transfer that to a To-Do list immediately, and schedule it.
 
2)      Event Journaling:  This is taking a specific thing that happened and writing only about it – it can be a positive or a negative event, go through all the juicy details and just get it off your chest, like you would to your most trusted friend.  Read it back to yourself.  Look for themes.  Do these situations and feelings come up in your life a lot?  Was this unusual?  What would you do if you could rewind and write it the way you wished it had happened, what would be different?  
 
3)      Lists:  Lists are a great way to focus on specific things.  Try a daily Gratitude List, a List of Dreams, a List of Things I Want To Improve, a List of Triggers (things that set you off, times your coping skills are less than great, your weak spots), List of Things I Love, List of People I Love, List of Needs, List of Support People, etc.  101 Things I Love About My Life, etc.
 
4)      Planning Pages – journals are great for writing down plans and figuring things out, talking yourself through what you might do, need, say, etc.  If you are going on a trip, use your journal to write out travel options, a list of things you have to do before you leave town, places you want to see, people you want to visit, what you hope to get out of the trip, your vision of the perfect trip, what you need to do to make things go smoothly, etc., etc., etc.
 
5)      Doodling, Collages, and More!
 
6)   Worry Pages - purge the worry - write it down and then check your language to see if you are making things
       worse than they are, where your point of power is with your worries and make an effort to let them go for a while. Follow up with some Gratitude Pages!
 
7)  Gratitude Pages - journal about things you are grateful for - it is a wonderful lift of the spirit and can help focus life on the positive, even in the midst of chaos.
 
 
To get started with your journaling experience, you will first need a journal (well, duh...)  Spiral notebooks, plain black, leather or cloth or paper covered, beautiful, creative, whatever you want - just so long as there is a welcoming space to write.  
(Now Available - The Complete Caregiver Journal/Workbook!!!)
 
Next, stock up on pens, or use one you really like and keep it with your journal.
 
Finally, open the thing and write!  You can choose one of the ideas above to get your pen moving across the page.  Your thoughts and feelings count!  Let them out...
 
 

 

Launch Your Journal

  • The Unwinding Page
  • Event Journaling
  • Worry Pages
  • Lists
  • Planning Pages
  • Drawing, Doodling & More
  • Action Pages
  • Love Pages
  • Work The Solution
  • Dreams
  • Goal Setting
  • What Inspires You?
  • Play Pages
  • Big Ideas
  • What I Love To Do
  • Poetry Pages
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