Who kept a diary during childhood? Probably every one of us. It was the perfect channel to confess our secrets and get our most complex thoughts out of our heads.
Who has actually been consistent with it in adulthood? Probably none of us. As we aged, our dedication to journaling faded away. Until now!
Writing has always had a healing power for me. Writing down my thoughts on paper not only relieves stress and anxiety, but it also allows me to work through my most tangled thoughts and process them in a digestible way.
Perhaps as an adult you found yourself keeping a diary or a journal again. Or maybe you haven’t started it yet and are intrigued by the idea… But how does someone journal, and how can we keep it consistent?
First of all, forget the leather binding and your name printed on the front. Although it’s cute, you don’t need that to start journaling.
I started journaling several years ago. I was on a trip to Germany with my partner, and I was going through a very intense phase of my life. I had to answer a multitude of questions (about my life, my career, my spirituality), and that’s when I told myself, “This is when I’ll start journaling!”
It was a crappy journal, but it did the job. From that day onwards, I’ve changed many journals, but I’ve always been consistent.
Keeping a journal will help you organize your thoughts, making them comprehensible and preventing you from feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks. A well-structured journal also makes setting and achieving your goals easier, as well as allowing you to reflect on new ideas, thoughts that worry you, things that excite you, and anything that your mind needs to process.
Journaling improves your overall health, too
Journaling is a great stress management tool. A study found that journaling between 15 and 20 minutes a day, three to five times during a four-month period, helped lower blood pressure and improved liver functionality.
But there are more health benefits to look for: journaling also improves the immune system, keeps your brain sharp, increases your memory capacity, boosts mood, and strengthens your overall emotional health. Combining journaling with movement and coaching is incredibly powerful. In fact, I’ve decided to make it an integral part of my sessions: before our fitness classes, we spend 15 minutes journaling, guided by specific questions. The same questions will guide our practice too, going deeper in our embodied journey.
How to kick-start your very first journal
Although writing by hand isn’t mandatory (many people journal via their computers), I personally suggest getting a spiral-bound journal. These are the easiest to use because the pages can go flat and you can use the total surface of each page (which can fill up pretty quickly on certain days, trust me!) I like journaling in the morning before looking at a screen, but you could also find yourself wanting to journal in the evening, to wrap up your day.
Whatever the time, I suggest doing it somewhere free from the distractions of technology and notifications, especially at the beginning. Journaling should be a reflective moment for yourself. You can check your social media later.
Once you have found your journal (don’t let this be the element that prevents you from starting today), my best tip is to always date your post and specify where you are when you write it (e.g. kitchen table, bed).
Every day, choose a topic that resonates with you on that specific day and ask yourself a question. This will be your guide.
For example… Topic: Career direction. Question: “Which direction would I go to if I had all the answers?”
It’s weird and fascinating what happens when you assume you already have all the information you need to achieve your goals. Once you start getting into this habit, the journaling starts to get really clear.
Another tip for starting is to write a letter to yourself. This could be from your future self or from other people you know. By doing this, you will get perspective of their experiences in relation to you, as well as looking at your life from the outside.
You can also start your journal as a prayer. From the universe, people who have passed, or your future self, you can ask specific questions, advice, or simply support.
Remember: Journaling doesn’t need to be linear in its structure (you can write several pages or single words, too) or in its content (you can write about any topic).
P.S. Want to try journaling together? Join our weekly online live journaling classes!