Journaling… a practice I never thought that I would return to. After all, I’m not 13 and pining for the latest school crush.
I’ve heard every self-help person talk about journaling and I’ve always ignored it. I have notes synced across all of my devices and my motto was ‘If it’s in the cloud then it’s at least out of my head!’
I HATE wasting paper and since I move a lot, most paper always ends up in the recycling bin. So with this narrow mentality, I ignored the advice of many and never journaled.
So What Changed?
I’ve been reading a book called ‘Directing Your Destiny’ by Jennifer Grace. And she swears by journaling. But she doesn’t just tell you to journal. She actually gives you 5 methods to help your journaling practice.
I find nothing worse than staring at a blank page and writing shallow things that my ego seems to be spitting out.
So reluctantly I’ve started. And I made a pact with myself that I will do it consistently for 8 weeks no matter what excuses arise.
And it’s been the most insightful thing I’ve done in a long time. It’s a particularly good practice if you’re looking for clarity or working through a big decision.
“Confusion becomes clarity when the thoughts and feelings within us are written down.” Jennifer Grace
Here are 5 journaling practices to help you sort through those thoughts swirling around in your head.
5 Journaling Exercises
Put your pen to paper and let the words spill out for 5 timed minutes. Don’t let your pen leave the paper until the timer goes off. At first, you’ll probably just be writing about anything, but don’t let your ego or mind direct you. Your journal won’t judge you and no one has to see it. In fact, you can write your thoughts down, then rip it up immediately once you are done.
Try these prompts if you’re not sure where to start:
- I am obsessed with…
- I need to accept…
- I am aware of…
- I know this is true…
- Write a letter from your 90-year-old self to your current self.
- Write a letter from your 7-year-old self to your current self
It is said that Thomas Edison used to fall asleep with a fork in his hand and a silver plate underneath. As he would drift off, the fork would hit the plate and the sound would wake him. He would immediately wake up and begin to write. This is when he would have his greatest epiphanies about electricity.
He was accessing what is called ‘The Twilight State’, the time between when we are conscious and unconscious. We can all access this time and use it to tap into our creativity.
Before you go to sleep at night, write a problem that you have been trying to solve at the top of a page in your journal. The moment you wake up, respond to it and don’t stop writing for 5 minutes. You would be surprised with what comes up.
Morning Porthole Writing
How many times have you woken up from a dream and felt like you had an epiphany, only to realize you couldn’t remember it in your waking state?
You can use something called the ‘Morning Porthole Writing’ to access these lost thoughts. Place a journal and pen by your bed and as soon as you wake up, grab it and start writing. Do this for 5 timed minutes.
Some people also call this Dream Journaling, but don’t worry if you can’t remember your dreams. Just write whatever comes to mind as soon as you wake up.
This has been a great morning routine to get me writing and flowing rather than looking at the news or emails first thing in the morning.
Future Self Writing
This journaling practice involves a meditation.
Go to jennifergrace.com and sign up for her ‘The Future Self Meditation’.
The 5-minute meditation will take you on a journey 20 years into the future where you see the future home you live in and meet your future self.
It is an excellent resource to use if you feel like you are at a crossroads in life or having trouble making decisions. Instead of asking other people for advice, turn to your intuition for guidance.
You’ll have the chance to interview your future self so you can use these prompts:
- What would be good next steps for my career?
- What steps should I take to improve my health?
- What would be good next steps for _______?
- What should I do about this relationship?
Choose whatever questions that you would like answered.
Don’t worry if you have never meditated before or are having trouble visualizing. Just notice what comes to mind without any judgment.
Once you’re done the meditation, write down what you saw.
You may be wondering how or why this could even be true. Are you even accessing something that’s real?
The ability for the brain to ‘see into the future’ is called the Psi Phenomena and has been studied by Dr. Daryl J Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University. Click here to read a paper and a few studies conducted about this phenomena.
Evening Reflection Writing
This is a GREAT stress reliever after a long day and is the perfect time to reflect on what happened in your day, without judgment. It’s like your own personal detective story.
Here, Jennifer recommends to not use a timer and just write until you feel you are finished.
After you’ve reflected on the day, you can use some of these prompts to create lists to help further this reflection.
- Ten things you love to do
- Ten places you love or would love to visit
- 5 things you want to create
- Ten material objects that you love or would love to have
These lists really help you dig into the life you want to create for yourself.
This is really just a short piece of how to incorporate a really healthy and insightful journaling practice in your life.
If you want to learn more, grab Jennifer’s book below called ‘Directing Your Destiny’. She has a lot of in-depth exercises to help you cultivate your journaling practice.
Lindsey is the author of A Life Well-Balanced, a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping people live a more balanced life – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.