“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” ~ Lord Byron
Journal for peace of mind
I’ve been using journals consistently for over 10 years. It is one of my most prized possessions. Lord Byron’s quote really sums things up for me because writing in my journal is a way for me to clear my mind, to keep me at peace. My family and friends can confirm that if I’m out of sorts they’ll ask if I ate, if I slept or if I journal.
At night (and sometimes during the day) I take to my journal to do a “mental dump” of whatever is on my mind. Whether my mind is racing with ideas, excitement, concern, sadness, loss, grief or anger – writing in my journal helps me to slow down. A new journal is exciting and it represents possibilities. A journal can be used for many things such as reflection, big picture thinking, capturing ideas or writing through your emotions.
- Reflection – It’s where I reflect on my day, week, month, events, experiences and life.
- Big Picture – It’s where I first write my goals and why these goals are important to me.
- My journal is where I capture my ideas, write through my failures and triumphs.
- Express myself – At any given time we experience a range of emotions – gratitude, joy, sadness, frustration etc. Using the journal is a great way to write through the emotions whether it’s to identify root causes, come to a resolution, or a solution.
- In the most challenging of times it’s where I write letters to God when my faith and every is tested.
“If I waited till I felt like writing I’d never write at all.” ~ Anne Tyler
It takes practice
Writing doesn’t come easy for everyone. Writing in a journal takes practice and some patience. I started out very slow, and at times got frustrated. In the beginning, there were times I didn’t know what to write about and I know that there are times, I wasn’t in the mood to write. But I kept at it because it has helped me in hard times and good times.
Which is why, it was important for me to include these guidelines that have helped me and I believe will be helpful as to you build a consistent writing habit.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” –William Wordsworth
How to develop a better journal habit
“If you go to your designated place to think expecting to generate good thoughts…eventually you will come up with some.” ~ John C. Maxwell.
The same applies to writing, you have to find the right place to write your thoughts.
When you’re starting out, its best you pick the same time of day or night to write to make it a habit. You should also pick a quiet place where you can write uninterrupted for 5 -10 minutes to start. As you get used to writing you will notice that you can write for longer times.
Where is the best place for you to write? For me, it’s usually in bed, before I go to sleep. In the summer, I bring my journal with me so I can go in the park. When I’m traveling, it’s on the plane. Identify the place where you will have little interruption and designate as your writing place.
Capture your “internal dialogue,” you know, thoughts that are constantly going through your mind – almost as if you are talking to yourself. It’s very important to write down as much of this “internal dialogue” without stopping to correct.
There’s no wrong way about this. There’s no grammar police or spell check. Don’t worry about sentence structure. It’s just you and your journal holding space for your thoughts, hopes and dreams. Whatever it is just write and keep writing until you can’t write anymore.
I truly believe that by developing the habit of writing consistently in a journal you will experience extraordinary things unfolding in your life.
Don’t worry about grammar or neatness or anything you learned in English Language about writing essays. No one’s grading your journal so it doesn’t apply here.
What’s important is that you write as if no one will ever read it. That you capture the whats in your heart or on your mind.
The more you write the better you become at it. And so with a journal you can hatch your next idea, celebrate your wins, and overcome a challenge. Whatever you do, don’t give up – keep going, keep writing.
I would love to support you develop this habit. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how I can help!