In my Why I Have A Blog update the other day, I shared that I have a personal journal that I write in regularly. Today, I thought it might be fun to dive a little deeper into my journaling practice for anyone else considering a journal or any type of tracking method for yourself.
Why: because I’ve got a lot of crazies inside my mind. Letting out the crazies creates space for peace and calm ideas.
But also, because journaling allows me a safe place to explain my thoughts to myself. Sounds a little weird, right? Explaining your thoughts to yourself? Well, when you’re someone like me with roughly 10 million ideas bouncing around in your head at once you need to get some of them out. However, even if you’re not like me and you just have 10 or 5 or 1 idea bouncing around in there, it’ a really good practice to express those ideas in an elongated manner. Expression is crucial to the human experience. The form it takes can resemble anything, but thoughts, ideas, and emotions need to be expressed. The end.
Journaling, for me, is the rough draft of my creative process. Sometimes, the things I journal about make an appearance on my blog. A lot of times they don’t. But giving my ideas a place to live that is not in my head and free of restrictions is completely necessary to my existence. Like how we all need water to exist, I need to write to be sane. It is what it is.
Start small. Get a journal you like and write with a pen you love. Or go electronic and use the Notes app on your phone. I use the Notes app for my dream journal, because duh, of course, I keep multiple journals for multiple parts of my mind. I’m excessive. But it works.
Make sure you feel safe. I didn’t keep a journal for years because my privacy was disrespected by my mom when she read my personal journals while I was at school. There was nothing damning in there, besides that my crushes had talked to me or sat next to me during an assembly, but it was enough to make me feel violated and unsafe to share my inner thoughts and feelings in a written format. I’ve been able to return to my beloved journaling after many years now and the practice has truly changed my life.
If you are not safe to write, here are some ideas of how you can still write but keep no trace: Electronic, password protected. Write it down and throw it into a flame. Write it down and shred it. Store your journals in a safe place away from anyone who will disrespect personal boundaries. (Keep it in a locker at school, in your purse, hidden in the body of a stuffed animal, 40 paces north of a natural water supply, buried 3 feet beneath the earth. The options are truly endless.)
I wrote in my mind for years before I returned to my practice of keeping a journal. I would practice verbalizing my experiences, thoughts, and emotions surrounding my life events for a deeper understanding and personal reflection. This practice, I think, was a crucial aspect of my journaling experience as it truly helped me be able to transform my thoughts and feelings into words that I could use to understand and evaluate myself and my experiences.
You don’t have to spend years in your head though. I personally am giving you permission to express yourself in written form in the here and now. So if you’re waiting for an invitation, this is it.
With a rise in the rates of depression and anxiety medications being prescribed, I believe there needs to be an equal distribution of therapeutic services being accessed in today’s world and my thoughts on the matter don’t create that reality.
Not everyone can afford a therapist. I feel it is part of my mission to share what I have learned from my privileged position of being able to have access to many modes of therapeutic healing. I can’t prescribe medications or give you a referral for mental health services, but I can tell you what’s worked for me and suggest options. Taking the healing of my mind into my own hands has been a challenging and worthwhile journey. I am still tackling it every day that I wake up on this earth. Because of journaling though, I am thankful to wake up here on earth and that hasn’t always been the case.
Start by recording just events in your day. You don’t have to include all of them unless you want to. Sometimes, I will write in my planner that I drank a green juice or mopped the floor that day. I have a warped sense of time so that also helps me remember how long it’s been since I’ve done various activities like shampoo the carpet or dust certain areas of the house. (More organized people may disregard that tip, you’re superior in life organization than I am.)
When you feel space available to visit different aspects of WHY you feel certain ways about certain events, begin there. Ask yourself what triggered a different type of response in you or why you reacted to something in a certain way. Write down whatever comes to mind, even if it’s confusion about the “why”. Write it down. Express the confusion. There is no wrong way to document your thoughts and experiences.
If you want to, message me and let me know how your journaling experience is going! I love being able to connect with people. We don’t have to talk about what you write unless you want to, but I would love to connect about it.
I look forward to seeing who joins this amazing journaling experience and what you are able to gain from it.