The Incredible Power of Journaling in Six Simple Steps

I’ve written a lot about the importance of selfcare and how writing can be an incredible way to manage your emotions. Even though we know it helps reduce stress and improve our mental health, have you ever considered how to get the most benefit from it? In this post, I’ll walk you through my process of journaling, and then show you how to reflect upon what you’ve written, and how to use it to your advantage as a self-reflective tool in six simple steps.

I journaled for many years, sometimes on a regular basis and sometimes not so regular. And in all that time, do you know what I learnt about myself? Nothing! While it was a great tool for me to understand my emotions and allowed me to dig deep into how they affected me, I never developed any inner awareness, or learnt how to resolve problems.

My mum died when I was a teenager and journaling became my confidant. It enabled me to escape the overwhelming grief and gave my consuming thoughts an outlet. This period of my life has now become my greatest tool as a writer. It taught me how to portray emotions effectively, becoming my first training ground for developing characters. With time, my life improved and my journaling become infrequent and patchy. This was my first big mistake.

The Little Journal Company

Be Consistent.

To gain the most out of journaling it is essential to use it consistently. It doesn’t have to be every day, which can seem daunting, it could be once a week, but sticking to it on a regular basis . Otherwise, like me, you’ll find yourself journaling sporadically and I can’t tell you how ineffective this will be.

Get out of a rut.

Sometimes journaling can become a chore, perhaps you simply don’t know  what to write about. Journal about the mundane, the stuck place, the difficult work colleague, the wonderful summer, or about how flattered you were by a passing compliment. Just keep it going.

Use some of these prompts to get you going:

  • What was the most challenging part of your day?
  • Write 3 affirmations that help you align with your goals.
  • Write a special memory, then write about how this has influenced your life.
  • Use your favourite motivational quote and expand on it… why is it relevant to you and your life, how does it help?
  • What is you goal, what steps are you taking towards it, and most importantly what has the journey so far taught you?
  • Write 5 things about yourself that you love? Now write about what thoughts and feelings came up as you did this exercise.
Daily affirmations

Add gratitude.

Why?  Because it pushes positivity into your journal and therefore into our minds. It brightens patches of our lives that perhaps we’re struggling with. It gives hope! Taking a different perspective of your life can help you appreciate the things you take for granted. Add one thing you’re grateful for into each entry, and see the difference it makes.

Problem solve.

We encounter many problems in life, and some seem insurmountable. By journaling consistently, you’ll begin to clearly see the issues you face, therefore, you can begin to find solutions. Do you need to have an awkward conversation with a friend? Write about what you plan to say, and about your desired outcome. This should bring clarity and relief. Maybe the problem can’t be fixed, maybe it’s something you have to come to terms with like an illness or a loss. Instead, write about how you plan to take care of yourself. Consider areas where you’re being to hard on yourself and practise self-love, allowing yourself to lessen the burdens that hail you.

Self-reflect and review your process.

It’s important to read back, or skim, your journal. Look at everything that’s transpired over the last, week, month or even year – depending on when you choose to review. Imagine you’re the author, and that each entry has been made by your main character. What journey have you been on? What patterns can you see arising? What problems have you resolved and what can you learn from the process. Are you coping with a difficult situation? Are you happier than you’ve previously been? View everything with curiosity and wonder, turn off the self-criticism and really allow yourself compassion and understanding. Keep exploring, and remember you’ll discover far more about yourself if you’re kind.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

Do you Journal? If so, do you have any other tips to share? Or, maybe you’ve never journaled, but you’re toying with the idea; are you ready to give it a go? Don’t be shy, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

21 thoughts on “The Incredible Power of Journaling in Six Simple Steps

  1. Great blog, Lorraine. I’ve been doing the Morning Pages for the past four years. It’s one of the first things I do after feeding the animal brood who just won’t wait. I’ve found it has helped enormously in a lot of different ways; it clears my head, helps me sort out problems (both writing and personal), transfers my angst from my head to the page. I can rant and rave at things and people without fear…When I do let it slip I can feel my anxiety rise and I’m not very functional. It’s not like a diary it’s just what comes out of my head and I never re-visit what I’ve written, apart from one particular bad year which helps me see that things have moved forward…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds wonderfully beneficial, Jo. Writing has so many therapeutic qualities, I’m glad you get so much from it.
      Occasionally, reading back helps you to appreciate how far you’ve come. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

      1. Many times when I journal about something that’s upset me, I write and write and then realize I’m actually upset about something else — journaling always helps me get to the root. Good post with some good tips.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I often project my anger or pain onto a situation or person, only to discover the real issue is something far closer to home and related to an internal struggle. Thanks for commenting, Theresa.

        Like

  2. I write a note of who called me and why. Who I met and what they said. Verbatim. Collection of sentences from others really. Cause I want to read them one day and awe at how busy life is now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is a dream! I tried journaling last September after hearing how good it was for mental health and mindfulness. I managed two days. Then I picked it up again earlier this year after finding my Nan’s diaries, where she wrote about her day daily for years and years. I often forget, or feel I have nothing to say but your prompts here are an amazing idea and I will 100% be using these to try and keep my journal more consistent. ❤ Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been toying with the idea for years but haven’t because of the daily commitment. I like your idea of instead consistently doing it once a week. Oddly, I never thought to do that. Thanks, Rainy! Great tips, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While I don’t journal in the normal sense I do find that journaling can be fulfilling and a Great way to give yourself personal time and inner focus. Wonderful article especially for anyone starting out, those prompts were a great idea

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful tips! I do journal, and I love looking back at old pages 🙂 My tip would be to let yourself be honest, because in the future you’ll look back and see who you used to be, and it’s going to fill you up with the sweetest nostalgia ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Writers, Don’t Let Doubt Stop You! – Lorraine Ambers

  8. Hi Lorraine, I related so much to this post because I’ve journaled throughout most of my life. Rereading my journals made me aware of a lot of my habitual thoughts and actions, mostly negative during one period of my life. It helped and still helps me see the things I need to change in my life to bring more peace and happiness into my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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