I've kept a journal off and on for almost two decades. I would go years without keeping one when I was younger. Then all of a sudden I'd start again. For a long time I stopped journaling all together.
As time went on and my life became increasingly demanding and stressful, it was suggested to me that I should keep a journal. That journaling would help me live a more balanced and purpose filled life.
My journaling template isn't much and it does not require much. Be open to the idea and with yourself so that you can reap as many benefits as possible from keeping a journal!
My Personal Journaling Practice
Morning: wake up, within 10 mins I'm sitting at my desk journaling.
Pour a cup of coffee, let the dogs out - or whatever your morning routine consists of - and then sit down to write. Start with what you're grateful for.
I'm grateful for XYZ today and it's because of this reason and that reason and so and so on.
I'm grateful and happy that I have XYZ in my life and that I'm able to give to QRS, etc.
I'm grateful that the first two examples are likely enough for you to get the idea :-)
Secondly, stream of consciousness journal on a topic/challenge/event that may be weighing on you. Or, it could be something that is really going well. But lets be real, its usually the former.
If you're not familiar with stream of consciousness journaling, don't worry! It's not weird like it sounds. Just pick up your pen or pencil, and write whatever your mind is jabbering about. Don't hold back.
Ex. I'm so upset with him. Why is she such a selfish prick! He just takes and takes. I'm irritated by him that I literally cannot stop thinking about it. Why does he have to continue to be like that? I'm sick of it and I'm going to tell him how ridiculous and pathetic he is when I see them next week! So on and so on...
- Allow your thoughts to spill onto the paper and don't worry about what they say.
- Accept that your thoughts are not "you". They are cognitions!
- Thoughts that take you to the past - "Why does he have to continue to be like that?"
- Thoughts that take you to the future - "I'm sick of it and I'm going to tell him how ridiculous and pathetic he is when I see them next week!"
- At the end of the day, cognitions are a built in safety mechanism from our primitive years. Meaning, it's natural for you to have those thoughts. How you CHOOSE to respond is really what matters.
- Explore your thoughts - and then ask yourself if that's really you. Do you really want to tell someone off? Someone that you presumably haven't seen in a while? Like, "Hello, how's it going Mot**er F**ker?! Just so you know, I think you're terrible!" Or, are you just upset that someone you love could be so insensitive? Ask yourself if there is a better way to address this?
- Make peace with the emotion. Realize that it's there, and you're not wrong or bad for feeling that way, but are going to move on with your life now. Wish your negative cognition a fond farewell!
After all, you're journaling for you - and you alone. Give it a shot - I'm confident journaling will have a positive impact on your life.
LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES in the comment section below or email - HELLO@AFIELDGUIDETO.COM
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