The Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness

Chapter 7: Introduction to Journaling

Journaling header

What is Journaling?

Journaling (or writing of any kind) is an exercise in thinking and reflection.

Writing is the practice of translating intangible thoughts into words on a page.

What are the Benefits of Journaling?

Journaling has many benefits. You'll experience it differently depending on the style and frequency of your practice.

Here are a few benefits that stand out to me from my own practice:

  1. Building self-awareness
    Putting words on the page helps you see your thoughts for what they really are. It helps foster a sense of objectivity in your life.
  2. Synthesizing your thoughts
    Writing helps you think more clearly by forcing you to articulate what you are feeling and why.
  3. Cultivating self-understanding
    Over time, awareness and curiosity lead to understanding. And when you understand yourself better, it's easier to make decisions in life that align with your values and priorities.

What Does Journaling Look Like?

It's pretty simple! You, sitting down with pen/paper or keyboard in hand, writing. The process transforms your intangible thoughts into concrete and visible words.

I prefer the act of writing in a physical notebook. Most people spend all day on the computer. It's filled with distractions. A pen and notebook create an ideal environment for thinking and reflection.

Journaling in Everyday Life

You’ll find yourself reaching for your notebook/journal/digital notes on a regular basis to record important questions, thoughts, learnings, and insights.

I started noticing valuable insights and interesting learnings more frequently when I started writing them down.

I use a field notes notebook for my gratitude journal.

Getting Started With Journaling

There are absolutely zero barriers to entry with a journaling practice. Documenting my thoughts through writing is one of the most valuable skills I've developed in recent years.

Here are few styles of journaling you can try for yourself:

Gratitude Journaling

Once a day (I recommend right before bed) write down a few things that you are grateful for. Cultivating gratitude helps foster positive emotions and reduce stress.

[Read more: Why Keep a Gratitude Journal? (4 Steps to Get You Started)]

Free-Writing / "Morning Pages"

Start writing about whatever is on your mind. Write freely for a set amount of time. Even if you don't think you have anything to write about, keep writing. This practice is referred to by some as Morning Pages, which you do first thing upon waking up. It helps to clear the mind of nagging thoughts by getting them out on paper.

Weekly Reflection

Block 30-60 minutes every weekend to reflect on the week. Write whatever comes to your mind.

What good things happened this week?
What challenges did you face?
Did you spend your time in a way that aligns with your priorities?
What are you working on moving forward?

There's no right or wrong way to do this. The act of writing will bring about new thoughts and insights, and foster a greater connection with yourself.

Morning Intentions

Create the day you want to live by priming yourself within the first hour of waking up. It all starts with a simple question: What can I do today to make it a great day?

Keep Reading! Up Next: 
Chapter 8: Mindfulness Resources

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