Why You Need a Mindful Journaling Practice & Tips to Get You Started

Brittany Nowicki
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Mindful journaling may seem self-explanatory, but many do not know the benefits or where to begin. After I did my own search, I found a great way to define this practice.
 
Mindful journaling is the act of expressively examining what is in your head and in your heart.
 
Mindful journaling is meditative writing. It is asking yourself why you feel a certain way (anger, happiness, frustration, love) and then let it go . . . out of your head and onto the paper. It is asking yourself about yourself, and in turn, you get to know who you really are: your motives, your values, the way you think and the way you feel. When you put it on paper, you are freed from your thoughts and are enabled to move past them.
 
You don’t necessarily need to close your eyes and be still in the “cone of silence” – you just need to write your shit down and get on with your life.
 
Our minds are messy because we are constantly engaged in a one-way conversation. Mindful journaling will allow you to open the lines of communication and start the much-needed conversation with yourself to bring your issues front and center instead of brushing them under the rug.
 

You don’t necessarily need to close your eyes and be still in the “cone of silence” – you just need to write your shit down and get on with your life.

 
Mindful journaling is the time to confront your thoughts, explore your curiosities, and face your feelings head on. Reflection is such an enormous part of your growth, and when you journal, you get out of your head and become present.
 
The tips below will be the bones of your mindful journaling practice. Remember that everything you take the time to write is mindful in it’s own right. They are your thoughts – whether they are beautiful and bright or ugly and dark, seeing them in front of you will help you discover more of who you are and where you need to be.
 

Here are 6 tips to help start your mindful journaling practice:

 

Put it on paper

Our entire lives are now electronic. If you use ink and put your thoughts down on tangible, real paper, it will help bring you into the present and not floating around in the abyss of your iPhone or computer documents.
 
There are so many journals out there to choose from. You can find gratitude journals, creativity journals, grief journals and more, or you can use any old notebook you’d like.
 
Whatever you choose, the more personal you make it, and the more you love it, the more you’ll be likely to use it. Plus, having your journal out in the open (by your bed or on your desk) for you to see everyday is a nice reminder and motivation to sit down and write.
 

Write the date

Writing the date helps us remain focused on the present – a reminder that we don’t have to let the previous struggles and stresses affect us today.
 
We often forget that every single day that we wake up is a gift. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s something to be grateful for. Today – every day – is a brand new chance to begin again. Maybe you didn’t reach your goal yesterday, but you are fortunate enough to have another 24 hours to try again. A chance to work harder, to keep going and not give up.
 
It is how you approach each individual day that makes up the whole of your life. Start by being thankful, and start today.
 

Reflect

Step outside of yourself and look at your situation – be your own unbiased party and evaluate yourself. For example, I solve my own problems by asking myself what advice I would give a friend – I put myself in someone else’s shoes.
 
This quote from Elizabethtown completely embodies my journaling practice, “Enjoy it. Embrace it. Discard it. And proceed.”
 
We wrap ourselves up in the details of the moment and cling to those past emotions, and then we forget about the bigger picture. We cannot change what has happened, and to dwell on it leads to regret. You are allowed to feel what you are feeling – you are not wrong. But a change in perspective will help you heal.
 

 

Full emotional disclosure

Do not censor yourself in your journal. It is the one place you can go to speak freely without any judgement. How many times a day do you hold back a comment or thought because you’re afraid of being judged or misunderstood? Your journal is a place where you are free of restricted thinking. Don’t hold back your questions about your soul, the concept of love, or your faith in humanity.
 
Be honest with yourself in your journal; confront your ugly thoughts, embrace and elaborate all your beautiful hopes and dreams and don’t be afraid of what is written.
 

Make space for new ideas

Out with the old and in with the new. It is important not just to address lingering problems, but to also rejoice in new ideas and the happiness in your life. We put so much emphasis on the negative aspects of our lives that we forget to keep encouraging ourselves when everything is going well.
 
Allow yourself to change the repetitive conversation you’ve been having in your head and be open to a new perspective. Positivity will make a lasting impression.
 

Get up and do it again

This is so important. I know that habits are hard to start (and break), but to stay consistent with anything, we must take it one day at a time. You can’t rush the process, so I encourage you to start by writing whenever you have an idea.
 
A great way to start is to write small notes, phrases, quotes or feelings. Don’t feel like you need to write long, fluid paragraphs at first. You can simply make lists and bullet point your thoughts. Whatever your approach, it just has to work for you.
 
“Journaling is the act of tapping into your stream of consciousness – where there is no right or wrong – just find your flow.” – Jeff Krasno, Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self
 
Mindful journaling is a beautiful way to make sense of all the senselessness; to reflect on this world, yourself, and examine the way you are living. When you feel unsteady, journaling gives you an outlet to vent and make change. It becomes a safe place to hold your thoughts, remain present, and face any worries or anxieties. All you have to do is start.
 

“Journaling is the act of tapping into your stream of consciousness – where there is no right or wrong – just find your flow.” – Jeff Krasno, Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self

 
When you put your feet on the floor tomorrow morning, reach for your notebook and write down the first thoughts you have when you wake up. The only thing you need to start is a conscious commitment to yourself.
 
Have you heard of mindful journaling before? Have you been able to begin a consistent practice or found it difficult? We would love to hear from you about your experience, tips and how mindful journaling has helped you.
 

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Brittany Nowicki

Brittany Nowicki is a yogi, drawn to the practice on her journey of self-discovery. Finding inspiration around every corner, she takes joy in writing and expressing the many things we are all thinking on her blog as well as reading on the beach, running, painting, and a fresh vase of flowers. Since delving more deeply into her yoga practice, she's taken a deep breath and gained perspective - always reflecting on this crazy, beautiful life and hopes to share what she learns with you.

brittanynowicki.com

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