The Power of Journaling
You know Homefulness is all about feeling better in your home, your nest. We truly believe that an organised and aesthetic home is a source of energy and wellbeing.
Today, we asked Laura Cruise, self-belief and confidence coach, to help us go a bit further in the world of wellbeing at home. Her advice is to start journaling, a healthy habit which will have brilliant benefits.
By Laura Cruise.
How often do you write things down? With a pen? On a piece of paper? I don’t mean a shopping list, or a birthday card, or signing a form. I mean actually, consciously, sit down with a cuppa, in a quiet spot, and write down all of the thoughts in your head? I bet it’s been a really long time. As technology has overtaken the world we have all gotten out of the habit of using pen and paper. I really want to encourage you to think about how you might rediscover the art of writing by journaling. Here’s why – and how!
Put simply, the art of journaling is about moving your thoughts out of your head and getting them down on paper. The word sounds kinda fancy but honestly, that’s all it really is. You might have kept a diary as a teenager where you wrote pages and pages about how much you really fancied that boy or girl who sat next to you in class, and you probably doodled their name and drew a load of hearts. If you did that then you already know that journaling is really powerful! When you saw all of that stuff written down about your big crush you probably felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Let journaling do the same for you now.
One of the reasons people often find it hard to get into journaling is they feel that they don’t know what to write. If it is a new habit you are trying to form it can feel quite clunky and forced to start with but go with it – journaling is a muscle that you need to build and keep flexing. The more you write, the more you will find to write about, and the more you will want to write. As you continue to write things down you will find there is so much more that you want to say, to explore, to understand, to revisit, to uncover and to celebrate. Journaling is super reflective and the more you reflect, the more you will want to reflect on.
So a simple way for you to get started is to choose your journaling time of day. This will give you an idea of what you might start to write about. If you are an early bird, with a solid morning routine which will allow you ten minutes of quiet to sit and journal, you might opt for writing three intentions for the day. Again, this isn’t 1. Buy cheese, 2, post letter, 3. Phone mum. Nope.
Your intentions should be positive, uplifting, and be super helpful in terms of enabling you to have a brilliant day. So if your intention is to exercise, state what you are going to do and most importantly, how it will make you feel. So – I’m going to make it to my combat class after work because I value my personal time outside of work and I know I will feel energised and empowered when I have finished. If this is the option you take then revisit those intentions before you go to bed. Did you achieve them? How did that make you feel? If you didn’t achieve them explore the reasons why – with no blame. You aren’t trying to beat yourself up, you are trying to work out how to stick to your intentions in the future.
If you are a night owl, perhaps you want to spend some time in the evening reflecting on your day. What was good about it? What was not so good? What did you do or say or participate in which made you feel really positive? Were there things that happened that you wished had not happened – but actually you learnt something really powerful about yourself as a result? As the saying goes, not every day is a good day but there is good in every day. Using this method for journaling gets your brain to focus on the really good bits of your day (even if it’s as small as that wonderfully delicious coffee somebody bought or made for you), and as a result your brain will start looking for more good things.
Train your brain to work with you, not against you!
If something is happening in your life which is making you sad, or upset, then journaling is a great way to work through it – a bit of self coaching if you like. Write down what happened, write down how you feel, write down what your dominant emotions were, write down any questions you may have. The power of this type of journaling is that you break the cycle of the endless loop where you keep going over the same scenario in your mind, often for hours. That kind of repetitive over-thinking does no good at all as it doesn’t give you any perspective. You can unclutter your mind as you would your surroundings. When you see words on paper you will be able to see much more clearly what has happened, is happening and may happen in the future. The other brilliant benefit is that even if you are feeling absolutely wretched about something, by writing it down, you have a record of what was happening for you on a particular day. I guarantee when you read it back in the coming days, weeks and months, you will recognise that your feelings have changed and that you are feeling much better in yourself about the issue that was bothering you.
In this way, journaling is like a diary, and it much more personal than your Facebook memories which pop up every year. Journaling will allow you to remember high points and low points in your life, successes and wins, those times when you felt on top of the world, and others when life was like treading water. There is power in those memories and those explorations of your feelings. There is a sense of pride in being able to reflect on the wonderful journey of your life. If you are young I urge you to get into it now – how I wish I had been more self aware when I was younger, at the grand old age of 46 I reckon journaling could have helped me manage some of my emotions so much more easily.
Journaling is enlightening, it can help to relieve stress, it can calm you down, it can focus your mind and it can help move you forward to an outcome. You can journal in a bespoke journaling book or in a plain notepad. You can write in CAPITALS if you are feeling angry or in italics if you are feeling more romantic. You can journal when you like, where you like, about what you like and about who you like.
And this is a really big but.
Your journal is yours. You wrote it for you. It’s about all your thoughts, dreams, feelings, emotions, plans and aspirations. Remember that diary you wrote when you were 14 that you probably had a lock on, or that you hid under the bed so your mum wouldn’t read it? This is the same. Keep your journal somewhere safe and private, where only you will see it. Your journal is for your eyes only. Keep it that way!