I’ve been journaling daily for the past 8 months and I can tell you with certainty that this is one of the best things I’ve done for my mental health in a long time.
Before I was a yoga teacher, and before I was literally anything else, I was a writer. Yet somehow I allowed life to beat me up and doubt my ability and I stopped writing until last year when I picked it up again… and I’m SO GLAD I did!
A lot of you have asked how to start a journal (and what the heck to write about!), so I’m gonna share everything that’s worked best and helped me over the past few months.
1. First, forget the rules.
This is YOURS, so don’t get caught up in believing that you have to commit to some kind of theme or something before you begin. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way for you to express yourself, so just begin with that assumption 🙂
2. Next, remember: this will probably ebb and flow.
Just like everything else in life! You’ll have some days where you’re super enthusiastic and others where you feel kind of “meh” about it. It’s fine! Don’t get discouraged if your passion for it wanes sometimes.
Like I said, it could be ANYTHING! But for now, I’ll tell you how I journal and maybe that will give you some direction.
I like to think of writing as a time capsule. Sometimes I snapshot my life, especially on a birthday or other big occasion. I go into extreme detail of where I am, what my life looks like, my work, my relationships, what I’m happy about, what I’m worried about, what I look forward to, the view I have, etc. Another great way to delineate time/growth/change is this: I often write about my opinions on things happening in the world. When something makes me feel really strongly, I write about it. Easy material! 😉
Sometimes I even see a celebrity or someone else answer an interesting question, and I just ask and answer it myself! I want to be able to go back some day, read this stuff and get a good understanding of where I was and how I’ve evolved.Journal prompts to get you started (I’ve used ALL of these!):
– Write about a time you knew it was over (“it” being anything)
– What’s an unpopular belief that you hold?
– What’s your personal mantra or mission statement? Don’t have one? Write one!
– Go into extreme detail about what your perfect day would look like. Don’t be too shy to dream BIG if you want to! If it includes a yacht and kite surfing with Lady Gaga, include it. If it’s eating grilled cheese on the sofa with your kids, include it! Describe your feelings on that perfect day, what you do, who you’re with, what your work and purpose look like— everything.
– Give your current self a pep talk from yourself of 10 years from now.
– What’s the most hilariously embarrassing thing that happened to you lately? Or ever?
– What’s one big lesson you’ve learned from your most recent romantic relationship?
– In retrospect, what’s one defining moment that you took for granted at the time, but now see how important it was?
– What are you grateful for? Name at least 3 tiny things that you’d never think of! Like the little succulent next to your computer 🙂
Some days my notebook reads like a 13-year-old girl is having a bad day, and other days I feel like a literary legend 😉 It’s all good, so let go of the rules, and listen to your thoughts for a while. If you think of this as a way to capture and clarify your thoughts and feelings rather than as an assignment to get “right,” it’s much more enjoyable.
Over to you! Do you journal? Do you have an awesome prompt or idea to share? Or, do you have a different habit that gives you a similar feeling of self-awareness?