Journaling as self-therapy
What is journaling?
Journaling is like keeping a diary, but it is more focused on awareness. You write down what keeps you preoccupied, what goes on in your head and how you feel. It is a way to make yourself (more) aware of your thoughts and how they influence your behaviour. You can consider it as a form of self-therapy. It is very personal. Not only what you write, but also how you write it.
Why should you really start journalling?
Our generation is under considerable emotional pressure, we cannot deny it. This is partly due to the expectations of others and a high workload with many uncertainties. But also perfectionism and distractions in the form of social media. This makes for an emotionally challenging combo.
When things get too much for us, we spend hours scrolling through Instagram, binge eating or watching Netflix all day. But we don’t express anything with this, we only suppress the feelings.
To give your thoughts and emotions some space, to sort them out or to find out what emotions are playing around in you at all, journaling can be the solution. In journaling, you put your emotions, wishes, thoughts and worries on paper. You can see it as an old school diary, but just a little more effective.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Instead of describing your day, journaling is putting down on paper what’s going on in your head. Some reasons to take up journaling today are because journaling is scientifically proven to relieve stress, make you more mindful, boost your memory and allow you to communicate more clearly.
Journaling is a way to get closer to your emotions and embrace them. Journalling also helps to clear your head by writing down your thoughts on paper. A head without worries automatically leads to more sleep, more self-confidence and better focus. And less stress also makes for a healthier body. Yay!
How do you start journaling?
Start by looking for an empty notebook or decide to buy a new, special one. It is going to be a notebook especially for journaling. If you prefer to use your laptop or your phone, that’s totally fine too! It’s important to ask yourself why you are writing. Then you can decide whether you want to sit down and do it every day or only write when you feel the need. You can do it in the morning to set the tone for the day, or in the evening to get the day off your chest.
You don’t need to know exactly what you are going to write before you start. Start with a word and let your pen do the rest of the work. This works especially well if you first meditate for a few minutes so that your writing comes less from your head and more from your heart. You might be surprised of all the things that appear on paper then…
Six different ways of journalling
You absolutely don’t have to journal for long, 5 to 15 minutes is enough! You can give your journal the following formats, for every day or just to use when you need it. Important to remember: there is no right or wrong.
Journal before the day begins. You can write down what you want to pay extra attention to today, what goal(s) you want to achieve or the positive vibe you want to keep. Or reflect on the day before, what could have been better? By writing in the morning, you not only start your day with a clean mind, but also with a calm, fresh start to make it another great day. Let’s go!
Write (every day) about the (small) highlights of the day, the things that made you happy or that you are grateful for. You can also write down wishes, beautiful memories or the cutest jokes of the day. A gratitude journal is a great way of becoming more positive and optimistic. When you write daily about the good things in life, it becomes easy to look at life this way. Positive energy is key!
Journal about lesser moments that you encounter and the feelings that bubble up in the process. All the restless, grinding thoughts that keep popping up in your head are given a place in the journal. It is not only important to write down the event, but especially the emotions that come along. By journalling in this fashion you can give the emotions a place, but you will also become aware of trigger points. This is very nice when you are in a stressful period and you feel that the bucket is threatening to overflow.
Do you suffer from a lot of pent-up anger? Then this might be the best kind of journalling for you. Write down all the nasty, mean or shameful thoughts that come to mind. Throw all the crap on the table and write the anger out! Everything you write down really doesn’t have to be legible. Nobody can express pent-up anger in their best handwriting. Perhaps an even better idea… Tear the written pages out of the book when you are finished. Throw it away, scratch it or burn those angry emotions so no one has to read it, but you can get rid of them. Grrr!
The moon has an influence on the water on earth (think ebb and flow), our bodies consist largely of water and it is therefore not strange that the position of the moon has an influence on our bodies! And especially on our emotions. The moon moves every 2 or 3 days, along different constellations. In order to get a better grip on the influence of the moon on you, but also on your own emotions, you can follow the moon’s transition. You can do this by writing down the different phases of the moon and which emotions or feelings arise in you at that moment.
New/full moon journal
The moon has its energy highs during new and full moon. Not only do the tides get stronger then, you can also notice it in your own energy and emotions. Full and new moon are perfect moments to write down new intentions, but also to let go of things. So read out and write everything down!
The best day ever, every day
In the Your 50 Days of Green Happiness winter book, you can read about our morning ritual that helps you wake up feeling happier. It really works!