The life changing magic of journaling (and how to get started)

For us busy humans, it can be way too easy to bump things that support us (like self-care) to the bottom of our To Do List.  It feels like there are a thousand and one things competing for our attention each day, time feels limited, and saying “no” to others and “yes” to ourselves can set off our guilt reflex. 

This makes it even more important to find practices that are simple, super effective, and fit into real life (because who has time to do 74 things before breakfast AND share it on Instagram! Am I right?).

Cue journaling.  It’s portable, it’s powerful and it’s practically free.

All you need’s a notebook and pen, and it’s an incredible tool that can support you in so many ways.

How Journaling Can Help You

Journaling can help you:

  • Reduce stress, worry and anxious feelings (brain dump everything in your head onto paper to create some mental space).
  • Work through blocks, barriers and mindset challenges (write about what you’re feeling and uncover thoughts, beliefs or stories that are holding you back).
  • Get clear on your goals and dreams (switch off from the ‘shoulds’ in life and explore what you really want).

Feel supported in difficult times (one of my coaching clients told me that, for her, journaling is like therapy, and it’s a great outlet if you’re going through a rough time in any area of your life).

Journaling For Wellbeing

It’s not just me who loves journaling.  Here’s what Psychotherapist, Accredited Mental Health Social Worker & Coach Samantha Dhu has to say about it.

I’m a huge advocate of journaling. Through journaling we can begin to develop a different relationship with our self. A relationship where we are more aware and compassionate. Writing allows you to harness the power of your brain and can remove mental blocks. This is because the act of writing accesses your left brain, which is rational and analytical. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create and feel. Journaling also allows us to create distance and perspective from our thoughts. This distance frees us up to become more reflective and creative.

Ready to try it?

How To Start Journaling

Here are two quick and easy ways to get started with journaling.

ONE ::

Grab a notebook and pen and free write.  No boundaries, no rules, no plan.  No filtering, no overthinking, and definitely no self-judgement.  Let whatever’s in your head, or heart, flow onto the page.  It doesn’t have to make sense and you don’t have to share it with anyone.  Simply write until you feel ready to stop.  You can read it back if it feels supportive, or just let the process of writing be the release you need, then shut the notebook and go about your day.

TWO ::

Use journaling prompts.  This is a great way to journal if you need a place to start or you’d like to go deeper with a topic.  Maybe you want to uncover your money blocks, figure out why you struggle with boundaries, or turn up the volume on your self-love and worth).  Whatever you want to amplify, uncover or release, journaling prompts can help you get to the heart of the matter in a gentle and intentional way.

Access free journaling prompts

Another Reason Journaling Is Awesome

One of the things I love most about journaling is it can meet you exactly where you’re at, whether you’re brand new to journaling or, like me, you’ve been journaling for years.  (Yep, I was one of those girls in high school who journalled every day – although back then it was more “Dear Diary” and who did what than deep self-discovery. 😊  But still, it helped me feel safe, supported and able to express myself at what was a pretty tough time emotionally – hello turbulent teenage years!).

When To Journal

Okay Sarah, so you’re saying this is simple, but when should I journal?

I get asked this question A LOT and the answer’s an easy one.

The best time to journal is when it works best for you.  And no, you don’t have to journal at the same time every day.  Your journaling practice can fit in with you.

If you thrive on routine, try creating a nurturing daily ritual at a time that suits your schedule. Or, if structure kicks your inner rebel into action, then simply set the intention to journal and look for an opportunity to bust out a notebook and pen during your day.

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Where To Journal

The other question I get asked all the time is, “Where should I journal?

You can journal anywhere, and nope, you don’t have to have a Pinterest-worthy Zen space complete with candles and designer throw rugs-a-plenty (though you can if you want to).  But honestly, anywhere will do.

I’ve been known to journal in bed, on the couch, stretched out on the floor, in the park, at my desk, and even in my car during my lunch break.  And if you can’t seem to get a minute’s peace to capture your thoughts, you could even take your notebook and pen to the bathroom, lock the door and write your heart out for a minute or two. 

It can truly be that simple.

Journaling Prompts To Get Your Started

So, now you know how awesome (and how easy) journaling is, how about some juicy prompts to get you started?  Take a little time to ponder and play with these:

  • What do I need today?
  • What do I need to know today?
  • How would I like to feel today?
  • What support do I need right now and how can I feel safe and able to ask for that support?
  • If I already loved and believed in myself, what would I do or what would I choose?

I hope this is helpful, and remember, if you’ve got paper and a pen, you can journal.

Let it be easy, let it be fun, and most of all, let it support you exactly where you’re at.

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Happy journaling.

Sarah x

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P.S. Want some more great journaling prompts to ponder and play with? Start your week with intention here, set incredible boundaries here, or tap into your vision for success here.